This blog entry has been partially written for the better part of a month. It’s been lingering in the air like a stale fart. Instead of committing it to the virtual waste bin I opted to polish it up and throw it your way.
The scrutiny level of certain conservative media outlets reached of fevered pitch in the weeks following the most recent presidential election. Anyone in their right mind isn’t visiting my page for political discourse or post election spin. Quite frankly I couldn’t care less whether you lean left, right, center or forward. I’m just happy that you lean at all. On my way home from a tough day on the water last week I had an epiphany of sorts. I came the the realization that I have been underserving the seedy underbelly of the fishing blogosphere. I need to do a better job of providing “Fair and Balanced” coverage of the Adrift™ universe.
I’ve underserved my reporting efforts as it pertains to the lakes and rivers of the greater Twin Cities area. As I mentioned in previous posts I like to chase Muskies in the fall on the city lakes. The hipster South Minneapolis lifestyle is often on full display at these lakes. To most citizens, the lakes are simply a canvas to give a passing glance while walking, jogging, biking and unraveling life’s mysteries. To a smaller subset of the populace it’s a big fish bonanza. Kobe Bryant and company owe a debt of gratitude to their namesake. I’ve found them to be an oasis from the density of city living. Shore fishing, wading and floating the these waters are all part of my regular to-do list. My love affair with these lakes started when I was a wee college lad, interning a design shop in downtown Minneapolis. I had about $5 in my pocket, a bike and a rod. In between long hours in the trenches as a grunt and bar time, I blanketed these things like stink on shit. Daydreaming of the day that I could afford a boat to see what was beyond my wading abilities was the norm. There’s a recurring theme here. Not everyone can be the rock star. I appreciate the majestic rivers and lakes in the “beautiful places” as much as the next guy, but I have a soft spot for the red-headed step child.
As in all fishing the bonanza has it’s lulls and this fall was one of those times.
Muskie fishing was a bust for me. Most of my usual wading spots were a few feet lower than normal, which changed the entire dynamic of the flats. Chasing Muskies on the fly in these lakes can be daunting. The fish of 10,000 casts can become the fish of 100,000 casts in short order. It’s like looking for a needle in a pile of needles. Very few fish even followed my flies this fall. I managed to hook a fish on Lake Nokomis in early November, only to lose it as I finally attempted to bring it up from deeper water. The one that got away, yada, yada, yada. When I tried conventional gear in the boat I didn’t fare any better.
One of my final open water assaults for 2012 was a December run at the Upper Mississippi River. Earlier in the fall I was wading Lake Harriet when I noticed an old-timer voyeuristically watching my every cast from the walking path. There was no cause for alarm, as I could tell by his attire that he was most likely a well meaning fly fisherman just observing my poor casting skills. Upon my departure, we exchanged a few pleasantries. He mentioned that he loves the fish the warmwater inflow on the Upper Mississippi throughout the winter and suggested I give it a shot. A few weeks later I was exchanging PM’s with a fellow angler on DTA that also suggested fishing this spot. While I’ve fished the Upper Mississippi for years, it’s usually from the confines of my boat. This would be my virgin run to this location. I consider this big water for our area. While I rocked my single-handed 8-weight, a switch or spey rod would not be out of order. At current levels it’s wide, wadable and somewhat evocative of big Western rivers (minus the trout ).
My late morning departure was somewhat out of character for me. The earlybird gets the worm is typically my mantra. I paid the price for this approach. Upon arrival I was a bit stunned with amount of traffic on the river. Fly fisherman and a few bait anglers were stacked up like cordwood up and down this stretch. I know the Fly Angler and others preach the merits of this turf, but I completely underestimated it’s popularity with the Twin Cities crowd. I can’t be certain, but I think the guy upstream of me in these shots is actually the same fella I chatted with on Lake Harriet. He nabbed a few pint size Smallies while I was there. Unfortunately I was getting “sloppy sevenths” and no fish deemed my Clouser worthy of attention.