Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Hunt for Trout October: Crossroads

The daytime hours of October 14th dragged on as I toiled away at my day job while the words of my many doubters echoed loudly in my head.  "Don't quit your day job" they shouted and cackled between their repetitive yelling.  With the ides of October quickly approaching I desperately wanted to get out at least once more before the season ended on the 15th.  I didn't know what the 15th would have in store for me but at 2:00pm on October 14th I was literally at a crossroads.  I had just finished up doing some work for the guys at Crossroads Collision in Lake Elmo and my plan was to head home, grab my gear and make a bee line to one of my favorite creeks.  That is until my phone rang and one of my best customers had a job that needed to be done in Albertville.  While the Albertville job definitely threw a wrench into my timeline working with the scraps I am given I make miracles every Thanksgiving.

So after finishing up in Albertville I made it back to New Brighton, grabbed my gear and was on my way south around 4:00pm I figured I would be fishing by 5 and that would give me almost two hours to bask in the glory of  the Driftless for one last time before the long winter.  After parking my car at a spot that Taylor told me to check out I opened my tailgate and started suiting up.  After putting my waders and boots on I reached into my bag for my fly fishing vest and to my surprise it wasn't there.  "How could I forget my vest?" I asked myself remembering the commotion I was in as I scrambled to grab my gear and get out the door before traffic really started to pile up.  After digging through my bag I found one of my small fly boxes that contained a couple streamers.  Having about 10 streamers to choose from I chose a white Bow River Bugger that I remembered purchasing this summer at Mend Provisions in Minneapolis.  After tying it on I didn't even have a clippers to clip of the one inch tag of 2X Flourocarbon and there was  no way I was going to use my teeth to bite it off so I made the snap decision to leave it on.  Without clippers I knew that unless my line broke by accident that this fly was going to be my only option for the evening.

This is what a Bow River Bugger looks like wet.

Once I was good to go I started through the forest on my way to the river.  I was quick to notice how light I felt without my vest.  I was just a guy with a rod.  I decided to use this to my advantage so I started running through the forest like the natives from the movie, "Last of the Mohican's".

I thought about Trapper too as I remembered fishing with him earlier in the summer and thinking he was on to something when I noticed the micro fanny pack that he wears fishing.

Once I made it to the river I remembered Taylor telling me to head downstream where I would find a large pool.  I ran downstream knowing that I only had about 90 minutes left to fish and remembering how fast time can fly when fishing.  The pool definitely looked fishy and I wasted no time dissecting it piece by piece with my casts.  Either the fish didn't like the Bow River Bugger or their was no one home.  I decided that my best option was going to be covering as much water as possible not wasting any time on marginal spots.

Once again I sprinted as fast as I could upriver until I made it to the next pool.  I figured out that this was probably the pool that Taylor had intended for me to check out first.  I made casts and stripped in with confidence remembering how Taylor ranted and raved about the amount of fish that he had nymphed out of here.  Still I failed to manage even a follow but was enjoying the process of discovering new water.   I was amazed at how easy casting was without 20 pounds of gear hanging off my shoulders.  I kept running.

As I ran upstream I stopped momentarily to see the sun sinking past the western horizon.  This made me run even faster.

As I a ran past a section of slower shallow water I noticed a slight disturbance that could only have been made by a fish.

I cast past where the disturbance had been made and started my jerk strip retrieve.  It surprised me how quickly I was rewarded with 13.5 inch brown.  It felt so good to get the skunk off my back.

I was so happy.

Now that I had caught a fish I no longer felt the need to run but still wanted to make good time so I began skipping upriver.  Fishing 3-4 more pools without any luck I came upon a rather nondescript pool that I figured was worthy of a few casts.  After the 3rd cast I left my streamer in the water while I took a few steps upstream to prepare for my next cast.  As I pulled on the streamer to take it out of the water for cast number four it appeared that it had gotten caught on a rock.  Then I noticed that rocks has headshakes!  I guided the fish into shallow water where I admired him and picked him up to be photographed.  He was a little bit bigger than the first one measuring in at exactly 14 inches.

I made it up stream to the next big hole and by that time it was really starting to get dark.  I decided I should start making my way back to the car so I wouldn't have to be walking through the woods using my cell phone for a flashlight.
 On the way home I called Taylor and Dustin.  They were driving home from an evening fish as well so we decided to meet at Savoy Pizza in Saint Paul.  In my opinion Savoy is the best pizza in the Twin Cities.

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