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Lake Nokomis and the Vermillion River

September 30, 2017


September 28, 2017

Other than linking them in the title, there is no heralded connection between Lake Nokomis or the Vermillion River.

I simply went to Lake Nokomis on the 24th and got blanked.  Not much to write about there. Glorious fall day.  Hot.

The Vermillion River.  Well, I have a little more to say about that.

I now know what I need to consistently capture fish on the Vermillion: a HT 2000.

That’s right. A Hall Tech 2000 Electro-Fishing machine.

I was fortunate to stumble onto an opportunity to volunteer with the MN DNR during its routine sampling of the Vermillion River on September 28th and decided I’d help out.  Comprised of a group of eight (three from the MN DNR and 5 volunteers, we sampled two stretches of the river and it was shocking in many ways.  One, I was shocked at how secure the trout were in their surroundings.  You would think that they’d bug out of their holes and hiding places with eight people marching upstream.  However, it seemed like you could get right on top of them.  I suppose that is because the majority of them were where you would suspect them to be; under log jams, cut banks, and deep holes.  Spots that provide them protection and allow them to grow big.  Two, I was surprised to see Green Sunfish in the river.  Not a lot, but a handful.  A fair number of suckers.  Not to mention one teeny, tiny Largemouth Bass, and one little, little Northern Pike.   Three, the size of some of the trout.  Fingerlings to a couple of beasts in the neighborhood of twenty inches.  A fair number of fish I suppose, but not the numbers you’d seen on the Kinni, the Rush, or some of the more prolific Driftless Region streams. It will be interesting to read the DNR findings and see how they compare to the prior samples. Four, while nobody took a serious dunking it was interesting to note how deep it got in several spots, and not coincidentally, those spots yielded the biggest fish.

All fish were measured for length and weight, and most importantly, all were returned to the river alive and unscathed.

Captured one giant stone fly, which I will have to keep in mind for future fishing excursions.

Below are some photos showing the equipment, a trout being weighed, and the aforementioned stone fly nymph.


Musky candy – big suckers

Thank you to the dedicated MN DNR staff for their commitment and dedication in revitalizing the Vermillion.  Also, thank you to Trout Unlimited and the countless volunteers that have assisted with buckthorn removal.

The Vermillion River is a true gem thanks to their efforts and vision.

In summary, there are a modest number of trout here, and some big ones.  Good luck getting at them though.  Woody and narrow; long-rods and long casts can be left at home. The water is not your classic, freestone, trout stream, with successive  riffles, runs and pools.  Be prepared to bushwhack your way in, get stuck in the muck, and get snagged in the trees if you want a shot at one of the bruisers.

Consumed a couple of well deserved libations (7 oz. samplers) at Angry Inch Brewing.  Cool and refreshing.  Stop in for a pint.


Cerveza del Lago



Samoan Kisses









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