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9-5-04 - The Fly Guys and I fool around on the most humbling Minnesota Trout Stream they know.

Waters Fished: East Beaver Creek, MN and Waterloo Creek, IA
Fish Caught: 2/5
Outing Date: 9-5-04
Weather: Light Rain in the AM, Mostly Sunny the rest of the day.
Air Temp: rose into the 80's again
Water Temp: 53F
Water Level: a little low
Water Color: East Beaver was GIN CLEAR, Waterloo was murky, less than 1' visibility
Fish Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Pattern Fished: Mostly Chicago Leech and a Prince Nymph
Pattern Color: Purple, Gray, and Olive on the leech
Fishing Quality: CHALLENGING

I woke up late. Slept straight through the alarm...oh wait did I even set it right? At that point in the morning it didn't matter...I was LATE for a DATE with The FLY GUYS (not to be confused with the FLY GIRLS). While the Fly Guys might not be as pleasant to look at as the Fly Girls, they sure make up for it by scratchin' the other itch a man gets....trout fishin!

Brian Swartling and Todd Olson are the fly guys...sometime last week Brian emailed me about gettin' on the MN links page...you guys all know the new deal...gotta check out a guide before they get my link (which, from my point of view, is a HIGH personal endorsement). No problem...everything just happened to work out perfectly and we decided to meet at a "respectable" 9:00 AM.

Since this wasn't going to be a "guided trip", Brian and Todd decided to share their personal favorite stream with me. Both Brian and Todd referred to this stream as the most challenging, difficult, humbling stream in the state, which means they're ALL too happy to let me share it with you! Brian relayed that when things are just too easy, you can count on East Beaver Creek kick your ass sideways. From my point of view, it's their Paradise Springs.

Let me say I think it also says something when a guide service, who realizes they're going to get some publicity out of the deal, chooses the hardest stream in the state. To mean, it means we're not going to be fishing so they can show off...we're going to be fishing 'cause we LOVE fishing.

Now the cool part is that The Fly Guys are a Route 37 Guide Service (and you can get your Route 37 Rods directly through The Fly Guys too), and you know I was personally taken aback when I first met Matt & Eric and saw what they were putting together. And of course, Brian and Todd also know FAT. So this outing was like finding the missing link in a circle of friends.

Ok, enough babbling...I'm still late. Yeah, thankfully my cell worked and I got a voicemail through to Brian, who was callin' me back right when I pulled in at 9:32 or so. After short hellos, it was clear they were anxious to get on the stream. Could I wet wade? They said it'd be nuts. Hip Boots? Might be goin' deeper than that. OK, Waders it is!

9-5-04 - After a 2 mile hike Brian and I played leapfrog while Todd went ahead.

Crystal clear water means keeping a low profile when fishing to these skittish fish.

2 miles in. Yup, we hiked 2 miles. The rain had stopped which meant it was humid, and heating up. Breathable waders are NOT really meant for hiking.

When we finally arrived at our starting point, it was decided that Todd would go ahead and Brian and I would leapfrog for a bit. Really reminded me of getting out on Hornsby Coulee with John Kruger.

So much of East Beaver Creek was breathtaking.

Like I said, each hole on this stream had a unique charm.

It took a while before we found fish...most weren't home. I had brought out my 6'6" 2wt...figured there'd be a lot of brush along the stream. While it was a decent match for the stream, Brian was doing much better with his 7'6" Bowery 4/5. It gave him the clearance he needed for better backcasts.

Brian was definitely fun to fish with. As we snapped off fly after fly, we'd swap fishin duties with retying duties. Definitely a fun way to fish a small stream. I got lots of great pics AND put in my fair share of fishin' time too.

Brian surveys the water ahead in this 360° Panoramic of East Beaver Creek. Check out the enlargement above (1 MB) or feel like your actually there via the 3D viewer. (2.54 MB)

We found some fish and camped the pool for a while...I got a hit but didn't connect...plus a few follows. Brian had the same luck. Tough Tough Tough..the water may have been 5-6 feet deep and we could see all the trout down there, tight on the bottom, not all that interested. At some point we wondered where Todd was...had he already come through here and totally hammered them?

It was probably 12:30 when we found Todd stalking fish. He already had a few trout landed, the largest being a 17" brown. Hare's Ear + a dropper + long casts is what was fooling the fish. I had no hare's ears. DANG! We watched Todd for a bit as he landed yet another trout. Cool!

Probably 3 hours after starting we finally caught up to Todd who was patiently stalking a pod of brown trout.

Todd was simply on fire.

Brian walks a long run to get into casting position for more wily wild browns.

Brian and I jumped ahead...Todd and Brian both knew the next pool would have fish. I was totally beat, so I decided to sit for a while and take pictures of Brian fishing. The stream and forest, the entire experience, were surreal.

There is something big, alive, and moving fast in this series of pictures...it isn't Brian.

See it yet?

Pure luck caught this encounter on "digital film".

Todd came up and we both watched until Brian busted off with a daring tight-bank cast. Todd took the next shot (I was totally digging the photography) and when Todd was done I put in a few casts before we mucked up the water. Even though we weren't MOVING, the trout were going nuts...I easily counted 2 dozen trout FLYING downstream. Yup, these are SKITTISH trout. It makes a lot of sense when you consider that in many spots there isn't much structure...it's mostly rock that's fist sized and less. Brian said some stretches get decent mats of watercress, but I honestly can't recall seeing any.

Brian moves way ahead while Todd and I are preparing to hunt more trout.

Despite the overhead canopy there's PLENTY of room for well-planned distance casting.

Brian moved upstream a few holes and I fished with Todd for a while. Todd definitely has the guide thing in his blood even though only having fly fished a couple years. This guy has a knack for it.

We got up on a long pool and Todd started pointing out the risers. At this point he was rather insistent that I fish...he already had several under his belt. Having watched Todd work earlier, I knew this was going to require long casts....the 6'6" 2wt. just isn't even rigged to do that (I have DT on it). Todd lent me his stick for a bit...a tight, stiff rod (can't remember the name).

It took a while to get used to it...all of a sudden it all clicked when I STOPPED TRYING. Ah...let the rod do the work FOR YOU. Even though I finally got in the grove, we were still spooking tons of fish and didn't connect with any.

Ahem...do YOU see all the trout? Man this reminded me so much of MP's Secret Stream in IA.

PLENTY of decent browns were here...fooling them into taking your fly was a different matter.

We caught up with Brian..by this point it was probably 1:45 PM or so. A brief hike up to another hole and we ALL camped. There were SOOOOOO many GOOD fish here...it took a moment to notice them and every time I cast I saw another five fish here or there. They weren't skittish, they weren't spooked, and we all got a fair shot at them. Todd managed one, and then well...Todd fouled up on the bank, and rather than spooking all the fish just for his flies he waited probably 20 minutes while Brian and I gave it our best shot. I managed one brief hookup. I know Brian had a tug or two.

Todd hooks up...

...and lands yet another Minnesota Brown Trout.

I think the three of us could have fished this pool all afternoon. I personally was exhausted. Brain and Todd had obligations in the evening, so we decided to huff it out. Brian and I were DEFINITELY HUMBLED. Plus I think we've both vowed to outfish Todd NEXT TIME :) Maybe they'll make it down for our fall runs?

After our good-byes I had a personal vow NOT to go home SKUNKED. Waterloo Creek is less than 30 minutes away and it's ON THE WAY HOME. BOOOO YA!

I walked up the secret spot and on the very first cast my line went tight. THAT's WHAT I'M TALKIN ABOUT...a nice stocker rainbow came to shore and was released. Waterloo was definitely STILL cloudy (which is ODD if you ask me). I walked down to some of my favorite spots after spending way too much time on the first hole...none of my other spots panned out. Well, I'm not skunked...I've definitely milked this day for all it's worth...maybe it's time to go home?

On the way home I needed to get the Skunk off, so I stopped at the Waterloo, not more than 25 minutes away from where were had just fished in MN.

Whoo hoo...not skunked!

As I headed back towards the parking lot, I passed a spot I regularly pass...it's a small pocket in the middle of a riffle. I walked by it, turned, and went back. Something was pulling me to that spot.

Guess what was pullin' me, or should I say pullin' my line? A first cast wild Waterloo Brown Trout that just KILLED my purple Chicago Leech. Well if that's not a great way to end the day, I don't know what is!

I walked past this hole twice and actually came back...it felt lucky and sure enough, first cast = wild Waterloo Brown Trout.

That's day 102...and it's a 3 day weekend!

  MP 

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