40’s in February. I couldn’t help myself and on Valentines day none the less. Guess my wife’s gift to me was letting me bust out to touch trout, hunt for rising fish and film as much as I could while doing so. I left as early as I could and took the 249 south. The sun was out, airtemp on the dash read 41°F in transit. The wind was moderate at times but I wasn’t going to pass up these temperatures. I shed two layers in the car and rolled the windows down. Black Pistol Fire blared from the radio, regardless of what the next few hours brought it was going to be a good time.
The location for the day hit me at ~7:45am, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and I was confident I would be alone. Pulled down a gravel road to find pretty much what I expected, clear water, not a soul in sight and plenty of midge in the air. 12:30pm and I was hiking downstream via gravel, a sharp cut to the left and I’m at a little known pool holding browns hidden back in the forest. I was hoping to spy rising trout but the midge had already emerged and were now hovering over riffles. The trout were low in the water column and none were rising. I nymphed the pool with a #14 Pink Squirrel and managed a half dozen small browns. Nothing terribly note worthy, the takes were light and less aggressive than I was expecting but this is good practice as it’s been a while since I truly committed to nymphing. The creek, small and spooky, wasn’t helping me any. I didn’t temp the water on arrival (I really should have) and as the afternoon wore on I would come to regret this choice.
After close to an hour I decided I wanted to fish up to a brookie pool I remembered far upstream. I tossed a #8 Hairball on and fished it dead-drift and stripped it as a streamer making my way. I had a couple interested fish chase but no commitments. I changed my tactics and cast down into deep, tight runs which managed to bring up a couple nicer 13-14inch browns, the nicest of which I lost at my feet. Upstream and an hour later I hiked over several temporary waterways of clear cold water, run-off. The creek was muddying fast despite it’s small size and large amount of springs. I cut my losses and hiked to the brookie hole, or to where it used to be only to find a slab of rock and a blown out bank. What was once a pool the size of a semi trailer and four feet deep was now a new riffle only inches deep. The saving grace here is that the substrate was excellent spawning gravel and the brookies, although not in this exact spot, are still here. I will have to return to find them another day. I had to cut and run, dad duties required me to pick up the kid. The sun and warmer weather was a welcome reprieve from the temperatures we have experiences over the past two months but make no mistake, Minnesota winter is not done with us yet.