Where has summer gone? From deep in the Ozark Mountains, to some rocky mountain highs , I’ve been peddling my goods far and wide since our last visit. What little free time I’ve had has been spent doing this or that rather than paying homage to the blog. The first order of business has been a massive fly tying operation to fill the shortcomings of my boxes. Where does that leave me one may ask? Playing a high stakes game of catch up, as my angling content hangs in the air like a stale fart. I’m hoping to work my way through the backlog in the coming days, but I’ve made that empty promise before. Looking back at these images already makes me long for the antics of peak summer fishin’. As I like to say, Fall in Minnesota actually begins in August. Sure we still have waves of summer heat, but there are tell tale signs that clearly indicate which way this thing is heading.

I thought I’d get back in to groove by featuring the angling feats of my brethren, rather than that of my own. My second annual fundraiser auction guide trip commenced this year with a few changes. Sok and Scott were the recipients of the trip compliments of Riverstone Salon + Spa’s hefty late night contribution to the cause. Scott is somewhat of a rookie to midwest trouting, but this is Sok’s second go round on the trip. I loosened up the rules a bit not forcing Scott to dabble with the long rod, since he is an avid spin angler. Riverstone paid the hard earned money so my prerogative was to simply put them on as much action as I could muster.

 

After suiting up and knocking back a few preparatory cold ones we began the long road upstream to trout immortality. A few wise cracks were exchanged in regards to Scott’s weathered carcinogenic backpack, and then the games began. Sok invested in a brand new fly rig and is committed to advancing his stature in the angling arts. I set him up with a dry/dropper rig and sent him on his way. Scott has only trout fished a handful of times in lush Canadian waters, so I figured I’d hang with him at to help decipher the code. It’s always a delicate dance when giving others a glimpse into this madness. I try to find a balance between straight up instruction and allowing an individual to unravel it on their own. In fairly quick fashion Scott found a few eager trout chasing and nipping at his offerings, but couldn’t get any solid commitments. We swapped out a number of different spinners and cranks until we landed on just the right recipe. I was caught off guard on how difficult it was to hookup, and was secretly dismayed that this wasn’t going to be an epic bite. Nevertheless Scott put one on the board, which turned out to be the first Brown Trout of his life, can I get an Amen?

 

 

We covered a fair amount of water with the one-two punch. Scott threw a crank in hopes of connecting with a giant, while Sok tackled the risers on a dry/dropper rig. I brought up the rear and occasionally cast at hole after they’d worked it over. There was a steady mix of bugs in the air, which proved to be one of those evenings where they were on both something and nothing at all. My primary task would be to cast at the leftover fish to see which flies they’d react to and pass the intell on to Sok. I’d hoped that this would be easy fishing, where we’d be able to cast any number of dries and stack up a sick pile of beauties. That wasn’t exactly the case. We’d manage to fool a fish or two with our fake food, then the inhabitants of the next pool would have a staunch case of lockjaw. We were getting fish, just not at the clip I’d hoped for. I cycled through a number of fly combinations, as the risers grew in number and intensity. Scott persisted as his short strikers soon turned into solid hits, though his landing percentage left a little to be desired.

 

 

Sok’s casting skills have come along since last year. Perhaps it’s the pride in throwing on your own rod, or the fact that I preached practice before you get on the water. We discussed meeting at the park for casting warm up before our trip, but it didn’t come to fruition. The alternative was a session on Youtube followed by some backyard fun. It paid dividends on the water for him in terms of accuracy and distance. It provided us more time to get into the nuances of a drag free drift, mending and basic entomological concepts. He manged to dupe a few Browns as the evening wore on. At one point I tied a Sulpher emerger pattern on Sok’s line, similar to a larger RS2. It was immediately met with a solid take and short run followed by and abrupt snap. At first it appeared as if the line broke, though further inspection revealed that it was actually the hook. This event has caused me to comb through my boxes and inspect my flies with greater scrutiny. I must admit that I always dry my flies out after a dunking, but there’s obviously a point of diminishing returns. It turns out that there were a number of flies in the box that didn’t cut the mustard in terms of hook strength and Sok’s hookup was simply the bellwether.

 

 

We trudged upstream through deep pools of frenzied trutta. I continued my bartending, fly selection and advisory duties, but really the guys switched to autopilot and we spread out along our cozy confines. There’s no substitute for time on the water, and this was a moment to hone one’s skills. The sheer number of fish boiling at our toes and insect activity was immense, but it was by no means easy fishing. You had to earn your keep. I had reason to believe that a giant could be had at our evening’s destination, but none was brought to hand. It mattered little as it just felt good to be alive. It is times like these that you simply have to acknowledge your embarrassment of riches.