A few first-evers on this little jaunt:
(1) First time I've used any sort of watercraft to fish a SE MN river.
(2) First gaze at any of this landscape - there are no road crossings for maybe the first 10 miles.
(3) Never caught a mooneye on a fly before this trip.
(4) Never caught brown trout and walleye from the same water, using the same technique (that is really odd man).
(5) Hadn't sat at the top of a riffle and watched a guy roll his kayak and lose his fly rod (and reel/line of course), hat and polarized glasses to a deep corner hole.
We hit a perfect weather window: Thursday storm drifted south, and the next storm waited until Friday night. The water was up, and slightly turbid. That may have slowed fishing a bit. Further slowing it was the fact that we were never really clear on just what priority fishing had on this trip. We were floating down the river and that was the main deal. Seeing a lot and learning a lot. We got out to fish at what we perceived to be the best looking riffles/pools. But mostly we were just drifting down the river. A better-experienced float fisherman would have caught more fish, no question. We surely glided over thousands of fish. We caught just enough to keep it interesting - a fish here and a fish there. No big smallmouth. But four different species to make an odd quartet: brown trout, smallie, walleye, mooneye. All swinging streamers down and across, through riffles and into the pools below. My partner got one on a popper too, which was great.
We need to read some T. Holschlag, gather ourselves and our wits and our boats and do it again... and do it better. And paddling partner can bring his new fly rod: see - not all bad to roll over and lose all your stuff to the river.
All things considered it was a privilege to float through this country and see it from surface water elevation. For the first ~6 miles we saw little if any sign of mankind.
And check the dishpan on that mooneye: one of my favorite fish for sure. Ate a yellow clouser swung downstream into the slackwater behind an island.