Monday, July 7, 2014

Central Minnesota Trout

My wife's family is from Minnesota.  In the early 30's, her dad's dad built a little cabin on the shore's of Gull Lake.  Gull is a large lake.  it's clear, and very mesotrophic in structure.  It does have rock piles and deep holes, but overall, it's typical of many upper midwestern bodies of water - big flat's, points, drop offs... Lots of walleye, bass, pike and sunfish.

Those are all fun to catch... but a few years ago a neighbor told me about a little stream near by that had a bunch of work done on it by the state DNR.  I did some research, and learned that the DNR had found wild trout lived in this stream - in a part of the state with very very few fisheries that are anything but warm water.  And they got to work.  They secured fishing access from private land owners.  They placed large rock's and boulders in the stream to create plunge pools and they used stone to sure up some outside corners, and to help create deep trough's for the trout.  The state claimed to have electro shocked a brown trout to 5lbs after a few years of working on the stream.  They also made the stream a catch and release fishery with the goal of increasing native brook trout size to 10+ inches on average.

The lower portion of the stream, which flow's into Upper Gull Lake is home to a little park, called Fritz Loven Park.  It's a neat little spot for a picnic, and there are other trails through the park to walk.  The state augmented those trails with a great walkway along the stream, even bridges on small swampy areas or stairs on steep hills... Yet this stream is rarely fished... When everyone has walleye on the brain... the number of folks interested in catch and release trout fishing on a small stream apparently is not that great!

Finally today I got to fish this little stream for about 60'.  When you have 3 year old twins at the cabin, you don't have much time to hit the river!  But, after a few years of bringing gear and not using it... I finally wet some flies... and found the streams residents to be very willing to eat.

I took a few photo's of neat areas along the stream and a few of the fish that willingly took a stimulator.

This pic (above) is what you see from the bridge in the main parking area.  Those rocks on the right, some are natural... most are additions from the Minnesota DNR to add structure and keep the stream scouring and with different current patterns.

This log debris was placed in the stream.  It's hard to tell, but the log is all the way across 2/3 of the stream. It creates two distinct currents, one that would be below the pic dead center and rolls under the banking I'm standing on to take the picture... and the other where the current plunges over the log, scouring a 3' deep hole in the sandy stream. 

This is the first brookie that came to hand.  He was living about 5' down stream from the log in the pic above.  He drilled the stimulator I floated over him with abandon... and until I lifted him from the water, I thought he was much larger than he actually was.  

 This shallow riffle did not seem to hold much, but far to the right the current worked through a tangle of branches and under the bank.  A brookie was caught there.

Here, I'm realizing the pic does not do justice.  the current was channeled via a steep bank on the far side, coupled with some DNR added rock along that outside of the turn.  Alone, that would have made for a deep far side of the stream... but the blow downs in the corner added lots of wood and more scouring.  that corner dead center was probably 5 feet deep.  I had a few browns (I think) come up for a look at the fly and turn away at the last moment here... then I snagged the fly and made a ruckus trying to get it out.  I was successful, but, killed the hole for the day - at least for me.

This was a really cool spot.  that yellow sign on the elevated foot bridge in the center, along the edge of the stream, says that this is a Wild Trout stream and it is catch and release for brook trout.  The stream drops down a short riffle, in a narrow section below the foot bridge...  This gathers the current, and creates a very strong scouring pattern when complimented by the DNR's rock addition to the outside.  It makes a run that is deep, with super outside cover (rock and over hang).  I caught a few browns and brookies here on the stimulator...

This brown thought he was 18" long, and ran hard in the run above trying to push himself under the rocks on the left of the stream.  Thankfully he came to hand and posed for a moment before returning to the stream.

Hopefully Ill have a few more fun pic's from some fishing up here in the next week or so... I have not fished as much as I would like... but we have had some fun family adventures and I did drift a fly in a totally amazing spot that I doubt many have... But more on that, next time.

If you are in the Brainerd Lakes Region on Minnesota, consider hitting up Stoney Brook.  It was a neat little spot, and clearly has a lot of potential!

1 comment:

  1. Nice stream, and so are the trout.
    I know what you mean about the two active ones.