Friday was a bluebird day in the north country with sunny skies and a high in the upper 40’s. With a good bit of snow on the ground this resulted in significant snow melt. Although some snow still remains the effect on the Kinni watershed was detrimental to fishing prospects. Bob and I were planning to meet at 10:00 AM on the Kinni but those plans changed after a look at the US Geo. stream flow Friday evening. As can be seen from the chart the Kinni had risen about a foot and half in 4 hours.clip_image002

After speaking with Bob he decided to bow out. I would have done the same on any ordinary weekend but my string of 26 consecutive years fishing the Kinni on opening day altered that thinking. If nothing else I’d just rig up, throw one cast into the mud, break down, then leave.

I got to the County Road F bridge slightly before 10:00 AM and as expected it was high and dirty. It was not “chocolate”, I’d say there was about 1 to 2 inches of visibility. Or, on a more scientific scale, 9.0 on the turbidity meter.

I really did want the opportunity to catch a fish so I decided to scout around. Being confined to the Kinni I thought I’d go up above River Falls to check out the North Fork. There was one car in the lot at the bridge north of town. The river was a little clearer here, maybe 4 inches of visibility – 8.8 on the turbidity meter. The down side was that it was significantly higher here. It was flowing well above the bankside vegetation and was cooking. I didn’t think my chances were any better here.

Then I remembered a colleague at work whose boy fished the South Fork and reportedly slaughtered the brookies in there. I decided to check that Fork out thinking it is a relatively short feeder and might have cleared out and dropped during the overnight freeze. So I went to Glen Park in River Falls to look at it from the suspension bridge that spans the gorge. While driving into the park I noticed a large group of people gathered at the shelter near the entry to the park. I kind of wondered what was going on and the “clue” of a gal wearing a “Menagerie Rugby” jacket didn’t click. Looking down into the South Fork it appeared there might be about a foot of visibility. It looked fishable! So I went out east of the campus, checked a couple of crossings, and verified it had dropped and cleared. I settled on the 35 crossing just east of the campus and rigged up. Thinking myself a genius I went fishing. The clarity here was decent, maybe about a foot (7.5 on the turbidity meter) and there were some decent runs and pools. I fished about a dozen spots over the next two hours with several pattern changes and didn’t touch a fish. So much for that genius thing.

Then I had my second brilliant idea. Perhaps the dam at Glen park has a filtering affect and the stretch just below it is in better shape than the crossing at County Road F. Going back to Glen Park the large group of people that were at the shelter previously were now playing Rugby on the snow covered field. I stopped there and asked what was going on. The initial response from the first guy I talked to was “I can’t explain it to you”. After I replied “I know you’re playing Rugby, I used to play myself” he explained that it was a “whores tournament” that is in memory of a teammate who passed away from Leukemia. They were playing “eights” with the teams formed by drawing names from a hat based on whoever showed up and wanted to play. It was mixed play (guys and gals) and quite sloppy in the snow.

I watched for a while then decided to hike down to the river. I thought it odd that there were no vehicles parked on the road at the beginning of the trail leading to the dam since this is usually a popular access spot. The attached pictures show you what I found.

Yep, another brilliant idea.

I hiked back up, broke down the rod, de-wadered, then went and watched Rugby while sloshing a couple of froths. It was some good entertainment.

In the end I was skunked. No big deal though, it’s great to be at the beginning of another new season.picture-1picture-2