- Stream Location: MN Driftless
- Air Temperature: 16 °F
- Water Temperature: 36 °F
- Other Conditions: Cloudy, light snow, periods of wind
- Distance Hiked: 2.5 miles
- What Worked Best: Learning to always be ready
Today’s goal was to explore new sections of a complex located in the Minnesota Driftless. We spent a while scouting some sections before settling on the one we’d use to wet our line. It was a colder day with the temperature coming in at 16° upon arrival. I set up with a double fly rig using two different nymphs. Darren set up with a streamer.
Making our way down to the stream was a bit of a challenge as underneath the snow was draped with ice. I waded across the stream after noticing that the opposite side provided better opportunities to attack each run. Working downstream, we came across several nice looking runs/pools and covered each thoroughly with no success, not even a hit. The water temperature was at 36°, a bit colder than what I’ve been noticing lately but maybe just enough to keep them laying low. Regardless we continued hitting solid-looking-hole after solid-looking-hole; cast after cast and nothing to show for it.
We worked around a bend which opened up to a long and tall rock formation. This was impressive. Remember how I said that sometimes the Driftless Area rock formations can be the highlight of the day? Well I think today was one of those days.
We retreated back toward where we started and then headed upstream. At this point, I kind of had it in cruise control where I was still hitting holes with various presentations but paying a little more attention to the Driftless surroundings and letting my mind wonder a bit. I should have known better. All the sudden I feel a fast strike and see the glimpse of a good size trout rise toward the surface. As fast as I felt that strike is about as long as I felt I had him on. A little soft with the hook set, but that’s exactly what I deserve. Lesson for the day: always be ready; no matter how tough the day has been, you never know when the Big Boy will allow himself to fall victim. Even though this one wasn’t the Big Boy, it still would have been one of the largest of the winter season.
Yes, today was a tough day but it was also a good day. It’s days like these that I sometimes love most. They serve as a constant reminder of how little I know and how much I need to learn; never becoming satisfied with the current state and always treating each day as though I’m an intern trying to prove myself. To constantly be in a state of seeking something is a beautiful thing.
– Spirit Streams