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Kinnickinnic River Bassmaster Classic Options
#1 Posted : Wednesday, June 19, 2013 2:23:08 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 7/27/2012
Posts: 1,123
Location: New Brighton MN
Tuesdays are traditionally the slowest day of the week in my line of work and yesterday was no exception. It also seemed like it was one of the nicest days of the year so far and I heard nature calling my name.

The nice thing about fishing solo is that you get to go fishing where you want to go fishing. Lately I've been focusing my efforts on fishing marginal water for trophy trout. If the formula that says, "less fish means bigger fish" needs any more confirmation I am half way there to proving it. I have solid proof of the, "less fish" part of the equation. In my last three outings I have landed two fish. Two fish in over ten hours of total fishing. If I could have a, "Two in Ten Merit Badge" I would wear it as a badge of courage and honor because it means I have been, "sticking to my guns". I have been fishing various streamer patterns and resisted the urge of switching to dry flies and nymphs even during hatches and when I knew that falling back on the Ray Charles nymph pattern would result in immediate fish to the hand. I heard that they call it the, "Ray Charles" because even a blind man could catch fish with it.

An image of Ray Charles

An image of the, "Ray Charles Fly Pattern"

Today I chose to fish the lowest reaches of Kinnickinnic River between County Road F and the Saint Croix River. There is a backwater section that piqued my curiosity on a cold winter night in January while I was exploring the Driftless Area through the window of Google Maps. Sometimes its hard to to tell what a place will look like based on aerial photos and one must go there to see it for themselves. I parked in the park and walked down a wooded hillside. I felt as though I had been the only human on that hillside in centuries until I noticed a empty can of Leinenkugels littering the forest floor.

Upon reaching the bottom of the hill and doing a bit of walking around I was dismayed to find out that the spring fed trout rich backwater I had envisioned was nothing more than a collection of beaver dams and small streams of warm flowing water seeping from cracks and breaks in those dams. Feelings of sadness didn't last long because exploring a new place is always a euphoric experience. While in river bottoms I often think about the fact that Mountain Lions typically use them as migration routes while staking out new territories and searching for mates. I think about how I would try to look as big as possible while slowing backing away and wonder if the unfortunate happens how long it will take for the authorities to find whats left of the mountain lion if it decides to pick a fight with me. This would not be the day I was able test the new, "Mountain Lion Sleeper Hold" I developed while playing with my parents cat Simba on a recent visit to their house.

Its always assuring when you walk up to the river bank and you see fish scatter in all directions because at least you know they are there. While peering into the shallow sandy flowage of the lower reaches of the Kinni I experienced no such nirvana.

Within minutes of casting a size 8 black wooly bugger I had a fish on. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this specimen was not brown but bronze. Bronze Backs as they are called by folks in the hill country and Smallmouth Bass as they are known by city folk. One time while coming into Saint Paul on highway 52 crossing over the Lafayette Bridge I found myself behind a pick up truck that had some writing on the back window. "Happiness is a Small Mouth on a Stiff Rod". Now I can rest easy because I finally understand the message that kind stranger was trying to convey.

The rest of the night was spent walking upstream casting my streamers into places where it looked like a trout could hide. No more fish were caught but success was realized by "sticking to my guns". Ray Charles would not be called up from the minor leagues of my fly box this evening.

The Raelettes were a girl group in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, formed, as their name suggests, to provide backing vocals for Ray Charles. Although the Raelettes were known for backing up Ray Charles I rest easy knowing that the nymph named for him is there as my back up if I need it. As the members of the Raellettes acheived fame for singing, "duets" with Ray I remember hearing that in order to become a member of the group they also had to "do it" with Ray.

Upon reaching the parking lot at County F I walked the two miles on the road to where my vehicle was parked. I had originally planned on fishing some mouse patterns once night fell but my foot hurt and I was hungry.

#2 Posted : Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:41:44 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 10/10/2012
Posts: 1,537
Location: St. Paul, MN
Great Report, Eddie. Not a bad smallie either. I fished that stretch one time last year. I caught 5 smallies around the same size and had something hit and break me off three times in a row...that one had to be a trout BigGrin. Way to hold strong on the streamer fishing! When the fish are going heavy on top, it's hard to say no.
#3 Posted : Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:31:25 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 4/13/2010
Posts: 424
Location: Maple Grove, MN
Excellent read Eddie! ThumpUp
#4 Posted : Wednesday, June 19, 2013 7:42:54 PM
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 1/15/2013
Posts: 51
Location: St. Croix/Pierce County
Agreed, we need humor!ThumpUp
salvelinus fontinalis
#5 Posted : Wednesday, June 19, 2013 10:35:34 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 4/2/2010
Posts: 402
Russ wrote:
Agreed, we need humor!ThumpUp

If we had no humor, we'd be humorless.

Nicely done, excellent photo-essay.
#6 Posted : Thursday, June 20, 2013 2:58:40 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 7/27/2012
Posts: 1,123
Location: New Brighton MN
Dear Fellas, Thank you for your words of kindness and support. It never gets old hearing that people enjoyed looking at something you created whether it be a nice photo or a group of words formed into a sentence. I enjoy being part of the DriftlessTroutAnglers.com community. I cannot think of another bulletin board system written in ASP.NET that I would rather be a part of. ThumpUp
Jackie Treehorn
#7 Posted : Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:31:43 AM
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 3/25/2010
Posts: 168
Location: Ashley Shaffer Motors
Great report Eddie! Love the full spectrum of photos and description, really captures the spirit. Go Bronze backs!!
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