Feeding on a Mega Midge Diet, the trout of Pierce County are getting fat and sassy. If you are heading out to the stream this weekend make sure that you pack all the usual midge patterns both sub-surface and dry. Patterns like zebra midge, brassie and jujube midge. For drys, the Griffiths gnat, stillborn midge and a floated soft hackle pheasant tail also will work. The fishing was fun both dry and wet. Sizes were consistent in the 10-11″ range with the largest being 14″ no monsters were caught.
The first BWO’s should be right around the corner, big #16’s. I hope you find them. After that we should see the little Gray caddis in early April. Keep your eyes on the reports from Southeast Minnesota and Southwestern Wisconsin, ours usually come a week or so after theirs.
The gracious land owners walked me down the slash strewn trail pointing left and right and talking about short cuts, swales, humps and gullies. I was listening, I was, but only on the surface. I was so excited to explore this section of the lower Kinni that the recall function of my brain must have been momentarily disengaged. I would learn the hard way and make up the directions as I went along. This portion of the river canyon is a bit dicey when it comes to access from above. There are no easy ways in and the terrain is steep, unforgiving and beautiful. Early spring is the best time to familiarize ones self with a new piece of forest. Once this woodland comes alive it will be difficult to navigate easily and to recognize certain landmarks. The land owners waived goodby and cut me loose. I was walking a recently logged section along the lower Kinni. This was a release cutting of timber designed to both harvest and regenerate the white pine and oak forest that remains intact along the bluffs. There are some giant Whites in this part of the forest and it will be interesting to watch the regeneration over the next few years.
As I surveyed a 100 yard section of slash, imagining the river lie just on the edge of the forest, I began to hop-scotch my way through the piles of branches. My plan was to head through the forest and drop down to the river on the up stream side of the property. I would then fish my way down stream along the river and exit back up the bluff in a different location. There was no way of me getting lost, only the possibility of me miscalculating my exit point and ending up somewhere other than where my truck was parked. Remember I have never hiked this piece of property before.
As I exited the slash field at the edge of the logged area I decided to attempt my decent to the river. Much to my surprise, I found myself on the edge of a very steep bluff top. The only option I had was to climb or go back the way I came. I knew I was not to the edge of the property yet, so I climbed. Ducking under cedars and pines with fly rod in hand, I followed a game trail along bluff. Ascending the edge is where I found these beautiful Pasque flowers. There were two or three clumps of flowers enjoying the sun just below the high point of the outcropping. Very few times I have been lucky enough to view these flowers blooming, in the limited locations where they still exist, at the right time. When the prairies ruled the land they were abundant, and the first spring bloomers. What a treat!
I felt like there were probably more flowers if I wanted to explore more dangerously on the edge, but I was trying to keep a reasonable clock on how long it took me to get to the river. As I climbed to the high point I recognized the gully the land owner had spoke of and made a tree to tree decent, traversing the steep grade to the river. For the next 3 hours I fished my way down stream on land and water targeting both rising fish and deep runs and cut banks. The fishing was good. At a location across from a small tributary or intermittent(coming in from the south side) where it looked like the only terrain that would allow my ascent, I crossed back and climbed the steep hillside to the bluff top. I found myself in the clearing from the logging as if I would have headed straight down the main trail and not tried to head up stream. Bingo! This however was only half of the property. I can’t wait to go back.