I work on the weekends and during the week. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find time to fish when I have a nearly two year old at home. I don’t want to miss important time with her as she grows up. She’s at a stage where she doesn’t want to sit in a pack and go fishing the way she did a year ago. I woke up and played dad, got breakfast sorted out and spent time with her. Right before naptime, Ryan pulls down the driveway. I had arranged a short four hour trip. It’s nearly 40F out and I’m not thrilled about it. Sure it’s nice to fish without frozen fingers or guides but this is not winter. We had to stop at a landowners house and secure permission for the reach of water I wanted to explore. I’ve gotten pretty good at talking to landowners over the years and if you take a little time to introduce yourself most people around here are pretty reasonable. Permission granted.

We parked the truck off the side of the road and got our gear sorted out. I put on a generic #16 dry fly pattern simply because that is what I wanted to fish. I had a feeling it might work with the warmer weather and the fact that we were targeting brookies who are typically more susceptible to such a fly. Ryan put on a streamer and together we started upstream. First few sections didn’t produce much. I ended up swapping to a very light streamer and managed a couple brookies. Ryan fished up ahead of me a bit and had some success. I pushed further and found exactly what I was hoping for, multiple rising fish just begging to see that dry fly. I obliged and so did they. I spent enough time sitting in what little snow was left on the ground and touching so many brookies that my hands and most of the rest of me got pretty cold despite the high air temperature. The water was crystal clear and midge were everywhere. These are very active conditions, fish were moving and it only took one cast with a well dressed fly to bring up a fish.

We moved upstream and I basically put my rod away and brought my camera out. I’ve been struggling with my desire to fish over my desire to take photographs while out. It’s almost best if I just choose one and not do both. We come to a bluff wall that has a bit deeper pool and we both know. Ryan pulls multiple brookies out ranging from 6-10 inches before we see the big one follow his fly downstream, turn and snub it. We both knew he was there but would he come back? My bet was yes, he was a brook trout. Sure enough I watched the roll and Ryan set the hook. The fish tried to tie Ryan up in a snag of tree branches but a short time later we were staring at a most beautiful specimen. This fish just screamed prehistoric. Not many brookies have a kype on them in the Driftless area of southeast Minnesota. We figure he probably came in around the 12-13 inch mark but that was of less importance, it was the face and the jaw on this fish that made it special. Ryan’s day was complete.

We pushed upstream and just searched the water for as long as we could before I knew we had to turn and hike out to make it home on time. We had both met our goals and the last thing on my list was to explore some deep ponds I thought might be holding fish. We approached and saw the deep blue-green water knowing it could be the mythical spot I’m constantly searching for. Truth be told it was beautiful and conjured up thoughts of massive brook trout but only one small brookie was found in this large deep pool. My thoughts are that there are predators that tend to thin this out. I will have to go back and explore it again a different day to see if the same results are found but for now I’m satisfied to have seen something I’ve been day dreaming about for several months. We hiked straight out and back to the truck stopping only to speak with the landowners son thanking him and his father for allowing guys like us to enjoy special places.

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