Last night at the monthly Bar Flies tying gathering in River Falls I was greeted by hand shakes and smiles in congratulations of the beautiful male brown trout I was fortunate to land from the lower Kinni on Wednesday. Your  comments here and congratulations last night are humbling. I thank you. For those of you who know me, the posting of the picture was not meant to be a statement of chest pounding or shameless self promotion. I am glad that you know that. The photo was a tribute to the trout and the river and time on the water.

As we chatted last night about the questions of size, pattern he ate and the specific location where the fish was that day, it lead to the age old discussion of secrecy among hunters. We talked about mushroom hunting, bird hunting, trout hunting, bass hunting and berry hunting. We talked about triggers in our own patterns regarding when we choose to hunt. Triggers that we develop from spending time in nature like weather patterns, grass height, bud and leaf stages, flow rates, wild flower blooms and hatches. We shared information. Wait, we shared general information. Processing  information is the most difficult part of the equation because it requires time hunting and the recognition of minute details of the surroundings. There will always be information that cannot be explained by words. We talked about friends who are just referred to as “fishy” or “having a nose for”.  I really believe that those people cannot explain all of the how to’s or whys either.  For me, information is always exiting  because there is no end to learning and learning presents additional possibilities for successful hunting. There was a semi consensus however. Specific hot spotting is a no no. It is a hindrance to learning and devalues the quest that is hunting. Without the desire to discover and the associated learning, the hunters skills are meager at best.

The only other picture

The only other picture

This morning I laid the lap top picture of the trout next to the rod. I took the measurement from the end of the handle to the last thread wraps on the but section of the rod. I added this length because it appeared  that double this length was where the trouts nose would land had it been up against the rod. The length came out to exactly 21″.

The pattern I used was the black rubber leg stonefly in size 8.

The technique I used is one I have used for years that has been particularly effective for me. It would be considered right angle nymphing with imparted action. The strike indicator(Bentley’s Ball) is set for exactly the depth of the water that is targeted. After allowing the nymph to sink to the bottom, stack mends are thrown directly at the indicator. These mends are thrown with the correct touch to make the indicator jump about 6 inches off the water. This movement of the indicator imparts a jumping action to the rubber leg nymph. The fly is allowed just enough time to settle to the bottom before the next mend is thrown. The water type was slow to still on the back side of moving current, almost a back eddy but there was no reverse current. The specific location is….. nope not a chance. I have fished or guided over this spot 100 times. It is extremely fishy in a nondescript way. 50% of the time I catch nothing, the other 50% I hook a nice fish. Never, ever, this big though. The information I gather from this experience is encouraging. If a fish this large has taken over this prime lie it may mean that there are additional fish of this size located in what I would consider as better locations.

On wednesday, after I had wadered up, I realized my fishing jacket with all my flies and gear was hanging in my garage at home. I had two stone flies and two pink squirrel’s I had scavenged from the dash board and the bed of the truck. It wasn’t pretty, but I was suited up and convinced I had made the right decision to fish for an hour or so. If the snag monsters ate my flies, I was done. 3 inches of snow had fallen the evening  before and the trees branches were perfectly outlined in a tangle of white wonder. The wind was calm. The temps were modest. These conditions are one of my triggers in March. The river was calling.


The small irony in the whole experience was attributed to trout I landed one cast before I hooked the big male. It was a very nice Brook trout, also a male, I will say 11 inches. The circumstances were so similar to last years August fish in the same size class. I remember thinking, “Here we go again”. And then it happened. Go figure!