Tuesday afternoon brought me to St. Olaf college in Northfield Minnesota to speak at one of the few accredited college fly fishing classes. The program has been in place for five years and is reportedly one of the most popular classes on campus. Taught by Scott Nesbit and a host of teaching assistants the class has never failed to fill to capacity. The students were courteous and attentive as they listened to this old man tell them stories and give them advice as they begin their fly fishing journey. Thank you class and thank you Scott for inviting me out each year to return to campus.

After class I raced to the lower Kinni to check conditions for a Wednesday morning paddle of the river that I had on the schedule. I did fish for 1 hour and found no hungry trout. The water has been in the same condition for the past few days.Early Spring onthe Kinnickinnic High air temps continued to pour melting snow and ice into the river keeping it in a constant state of marginal clarity. By no means has there been a blow out. The rivers water levels are just slightly high but I believe fish are a bit sluggish during this period.

For 20 years I have carried an extra set of clothes with me when I paddle  or wade deeper rivers. They have come in handy for friends who have filled up their waders or gotten an arm wet from landing a fish, but I have never needed them………………until today!

Today I kayaked the Lower Kinni with Paige Olson-Lachey of Kinni-Creek Outfitters and Cris Niskanen of the Pioneer Press. The day was a blue bird and the water was the same as I had seen it the day before. Water temps were barely in the 40’s. Midges were everywhere in the first half of the trip. There was not a surface rise anywhere. I fished about 1/2 hour and caught 3 very small fish. Chances are the fishing would have been OK today. Larger black Stoneflies #10 were also in the air but their presence was few and far between.

Then it happened. I was in the lead of the 3 kayaks. As I approached a relatively easy maneuver to avoid a direct hit on a log sweeper, I missed a stroke with my paddle. As I tried to recover with a hard stroke on the right side of the boat, my paddle became lodged between two branches of the sweeper I was trying to avoid. At that point it was all over. My kayak swung sideways in the current against the log and before I could say shi…… I was under water. I popped up like a cork and was off chasing my capsized kayak down the river. My gear and rod were all roped to the boat so the only thing that was wet was me. A quick stop to change clothes and we were back on the water. Glad I brought them!