Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Little road trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota... Enjoy

The Task of Angling

Some days, fishing is easy. Willing trout come readily to hand, unable to resist the bugs danced across the water with a fly rod.

Some days, it's labor. It can be fruitless, or it can be rewarding, but work is involved. Sometimes a lot of work.

As I stood atop the Wabesha County Road 7 bridge over southeast Minnesota's Zumbro River, I had a feeling I was in for a little work. The river, a budding smallmouth stream north of Rochester, teemed with life. From my elevated vantage point, I could see dozens of large suckers in full spawn mode--everywhere I looked, the bottom-feeders occupied holding water where I might have expected to find bass. Big, pale sulphur duns hovered above the clear water, and swallows cartwheeled about, plucking up the tasty mayflies in mid-flight. Now and then, in the froggy water just upstream of the bridge, I'd see some nervous ripples and an occasional rise. Bass? Maybe. But northern pike and muskie also lurk in the river's nooks and crannies.

I've developed an affinity for smallies, particularly in moving water, where they behave a bit like trout, only with an attitude. They're burly fighters--even the smaller ones--and they can be hot and cold, just like their coldwater cousins. On a 6-weight rod, a foot-long smallmouth is serious entertainment.