5-28-06 - A Central MN Secret Revealed...
Waters Fished: Stony Brook
Fish Caught: 7+/30+
Outing Date: 4-2-06
Air Temp: 90's
Water Temp: N/A
Water Level: Normal?
Water Color: heavily tannin stained, visibility 1-2''
Fish Species: Brook Trout, Bluegill
Pattern Fished: Beadhead Caddis, Adams
Pattern Color: Green/Brown, as per pattern
About an hour and a half west of Sugar Lake (after a couple wrong turns) I pulled into the parking lot at Stony Brook. One of the few trout streams in the region, habitat restoration and angler access are excellent. A Catch & Release mandate further helps preserve this little gem.
The downstream stretch is home to more than just trout fishing; a park here provided recreational opportunities for a wide variety of folks. As I geared up, a group of "hippies" who had sat around playing drums and a didgerido suggested that IF I was going fishing, downstream was the way to go. "You'll definitely catch something down there" they hinted.
Well, I guess they were right in some respects. I pulled out a creek chub on my first cast, and then saw nothing for the next couple bends other than shallow, sandy bottom. A little bit further downstream I found a pool with active fish - tons and tons of BLUEGILLS. After landing several, including a double I lost at the very last second, I'd had it with this stretch of river.
Now back up to the access point, I ran into another friendly guy. He told me he was a bounty hunter up from the twin cities to unwind and search the ground for agates - he opened his hand to reveal a couple pretty striped stones. He went on to suggest that upstream was definitely worth a look - he had seen a couple trout in a pool up there.
After seeing several good looking pools, undercuts, and bends, I still hadn't seen a trout. The mosquitoes got pretty think, and while the water looked good, it wasn't producing. Mosquitoes aren't worth it when there aren't any fish around. Time to move on.
The 2nd access point I tried was well concealed and heavily wooded. As I walked down, I stood only feet from the stream and still didn't see it, only the trout stream sign and a bright yellow sign pointing out Stony Brook's special regulations. A narrow footpath, perhaps only a deer path, lead off in either direction. I headed upstream, found a clearing, and quickly realized I'd have to get in the water on this one. As I got in, I spooked up a couple big fish...time to remember this little spot for when I come back. The water up here was considerably colder than the water I had waded in downstream - moving up was definitely a good move.
As I moved upstream, the river opened up a bit. In still water upstream I noticed a sloppy fish rise. At the tailout of the pool I stood and plunked my flies where the rise had been. First cast, fish on! A big fish pulled and quickly took out my slack...and then started pulling on the drag! WHOOO HOO!
I went through at least 15 hits and a couple more little brookies before the action slowed...I then moved on upstream to what looked like a beaver dam. As I fished my way up, I only spooked a couple fish. Got there...no Beaver Dam, only skinny water and skittish fish.
It's probably a good time to say that as long as I was smokin', the bugs were bearable....my pack was getting pretty light and the evening was starting to get dark. Time to turn around and give the honey hole another shot. A few hits later and another small trout and it was time to work my way out. Time to chase those big fish I spooked earlier.
I was down to 3 smokes and I'd need at least one to get out! Long after I'd gone through two smokes, I was left with swarms of skeeters on my arms, shoulders, face, back, ass - you name it! Patience working in these tight quarters paid off with a big hit from another hefty wild trout. That's officially 5 landed and photographed, now it's time to get the heck out of there.
The drive back was MISERABLE - 50+ mosquito bites just on my right arm. It didn't help that I found 2 ticks on my gut later in the evening. If it wasn't for absolutely the most miserable bugs I've ever encountered, I would've kept this spot secret, especially since all told I fished less than an hour ;)