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7 trips in 7 days. Well, actually 8 for 8 but who is counting?

August 27, 2015

I already posted my comments regarding Eagle Creek, otherwise this would have been titled 8 trips in 8 days, but the idea struck me a day late. 7 for 7 it is.

Day 1 – Monday, August 24, 2015 –  Hyland Lake – Scientific Progress Goes Bonk!

My apologies to Bill Waterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, who issued a series Calvin and Hobbes cartoons under that title.  I suppose it is progress that they can take lake water from Hyland Lake and create snow for the cross-country ski trail in the winter, but the lake has not replenished itself and is down several feet.  Trees and rocks that used to provide ambush points for hungry bass are now high and dry.  Just so a few skiers could zip around the lake in the winter. The water has always been green, especially in the dog days of summer, so not only is there now little shoreline structure, there are few if any weeds.  Fishing today turned into casting practice with no fish to show for my efforts. So much for progress.  Should have brought a jointed Rapala, they always catch something.

Day 2 – Tuesday, August 25, 2015 – Nine Mile Creek

Okay, so my favorite album cover of all time is Foghat’s Fool for the City with their drummer, Roger Earl, sitting on some sort of box that you’d see in an ice shanty, fishing in an open man-hole cover in New York City.  This cover sums up my insanity when it comes to catching fish, I just know they are there somewhere, even in the sewer.  I loved the show Boston Legal and the episode where a Nor’easter is blowing in and Denny Crane is fishing for salmon in the sewers due to the storm surge. Reminds me of a dream I had when I was a kid.  My parent’s driveway had this low spot that my dad would perennially fill with some sort of asphalt goo that never completely solidified.  Anyway, one night I dreamed that I caught a limit of crappies through this soft spot in the drive way.  Nice ones, too.  Crazy.

For years I’ve thought there must be fish in Nine-Mile Creek, particularly that portion downstream of the dam at Mt. Normandale Lake.  A long, long time ago, there was an article in the local paper about a guy that floated it in a canoe during spring melt and caught a few pike and crappies, so I’ve always had this bug in my head that I should give it a try.  I’ve caught fish in Mt. Normandale Lake and a few of have got to go over the damn, right?  Well, they probably do, but I didn’t catch any. Entering the creek at 94th Street it was a slog fest as the stream is weed choked and the bottom silty.  There were a few depressions along the cattails that could have held a hungry northern or bass, but I gave up after an hour of wading and sinking up to my knees in the muck.  In a few spots the methane bubbling up from the decaying vegetation was a bit much, but I survived.  It was a lot of work, but what the hell, I gave it a shot.  Probably, won’t do it again though.  Better places to fish.  From this upstream photo it is hard to believe I’m in the middle of suburbia.

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Day 3 – Kayaking the Kinnickinnick

Enough of the marginal water.  Time to fish a jewel.  Sure trout numbers are down, see http://www.graygoatflyfishing.com/2015/08/18/ask-andy-electrocute-my-friends-part-2/, for a great summary (keep up the good work! A must read blog for fly fishers and steelhead anglers), but the Kinni remains a true gem for numbers and quality of fish.  The terrain is scenic. Kudos to the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust who are devoted to keeping this a jewel and continue to obtain protective easements and buffers.

First stop, Lunds Fly Shop, where I picked up some fly tying material and a couple of flies.  Good selection of flies and an abundance of fly tying material.  Very good selection, in my opinion. Next stop, Kinni Creek Outfitters, for more flies, and a kayak.  I know the fisherman on the Kinni hate the kayak hatch, but I figured it would be nice to see the lower canyon and so I took the plunge.  The staff was very helpful, the kayaks were your standard issue rental kayak, which is just fine by me, and they accommodate trips of 4 – 7 hours.  Having paid my fee and signed a waiver, I was soon floating down the Kinni. To paddle or to fish, that is the question.  I made up my mind to paddle for an hour before I started fishing.  Along the way I paddled by the Gray Goat, who happened to be guiding a fellow angler, and complimented him on his blog.  Thanks for the tip, the #20 Pheasant Tail beneath a cricket, resulted in this fat brown trout later on.

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To paddle or to fish?  That was the question.  Paddle. Paddle for at least one hour, that is what I told myself.  Right.  After passing one more fisherman, I stopped at the forty-five minute mark and started fishing.  I’d already passed up too many good looking spots and it was killing me.  A nice brown trout took a swipe at the tequeely fly within the first dozen casts.  I missed two others before nabbing this scrappy trout.

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Time to paddle.  Fish. Paddle.  Fish. That was the pattern of the day.  Things were slow, not a lot of risers, so I switched to the cricket and dropper.  Caught a few really tiny fish, 3″ tops.  A beautiful float.

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Still felt like I needed to catch one more fish so I tied on a white Circus Peanut articulated streamer and caught one more plump brown.

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Definitely something I’d do again.  Although I’d go for one more hour.  More time to fish.

Here are few Haiku riffs on day:

#1

I’m taking my time

No speeding, no need to rush

Kayak the Kinni

#2

Hmmmm, what should I use?

Pheasant Tail, Circus Peanut

Brown Trout dinner bell

Day 4 – 1/2 hour, that’s all the time I’ve got.

6:15 a.m. to 6:45 a.m.  A 1/2 hour of prime fishing time.  Was it worth it?

You bet!

36″ Tiger Musky on a bass sized buzz bait.

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The DNR last stocked Tiger Musky in Bush Lake in 2006, so this fish is at least 9 years old.  Awesome fish.

Time to go to a board meeting, iron kids shirts for back to school day, grocery shopping, prepare dinner, coach hockey.  Your normal stay at home vacation day!

Day 5 – Musky Fishing

Catching a musky, albeit by accident, got the juices flowing and I decided to give a City of Minneapolis lake a shot.  I was anticipating rain when I woke up and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  Cloudy, a few drops of rain, and relatively calm.

Wading and casting my favorite Bucher bucktail I saw golden flash behind the lure and set the hook.  Imagine my surprise to see this fat 19″ largemouth come flying out of the water.  Real nice fish.

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Feeling like that was a good start, I kept firing away.  Ten minutes later, another flash and I set the hook into a nice fish. A beast that came flying out of the water a couple of times.

44″ Tiger Musky

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Both fish are alive to fight another day.

Caught a few more small bass and headed home at 7:45 to make pancakes for the kids.

Why the sudden musky activity?  Watching the fireworks after the Twins game I noticed the full moon and wondered if that had something to do with the burst of activity.

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Day 6 – Musky Fishing

Could I make it 3 musky in 3 days.  Nope.  Caught another large bass.  21″

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Day 6 – Bonus

Made a bit of a journey today to give Lake Hiawatha a go.  First time on the lake and the first thing one sadly notices is the trash along the shore.  Filled up my wader pouches with empty beverage bottles.  Lots of carp rolling about.  Had a few misses before catching this snake of a northern pike.

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Day 7 – It’s all about the bass, no musky

Two hefty bass this morning on a Mepp’s Musky Killer.  No musky.

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Next week….back to work.

– Hats

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