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