Evacuation of the homefront was determined to be an appropriate M-day gift. This worked out well for all parties involved. Here are some notes:
(1) It seems that the inland lakes fishing opener cleared out the state park: when we arrived there were maybe 4-5 sites on the loop occupied. When we left, there was one remaining. Quiet, which was good. We were clearly the loudest site.
(2) Root River system, unlike WW, was dead clear on all accounts.
(3) No ridiculous hatches were sighted. Mayflies here and there. Continuing the 2012 theme: there will be no hatches for me or my kids this year. Year of nymphing is what it’s shaping up to be, which is fine by me. But I’m kind of pissed about it too. I like comical porpoising of complete abandon trout.
(4) Kind of killed me to be camped for two nights 60 yards from a blue ribbon trout water and not fish it. The reason for this: they boys were bombarded by so many cool things they had little interest in fishing (level of difficulty significantly greater than that associated with panfish, bass, etc.). So they caught dozens of butterflies, tried out their new scooters, played catch and enjoyed the pretty simple act of sitting in comfortable chairs in camp. Fires, etc. Mallows, etc. So I wasn’t going to push them to fish.
(5) One morning I got up without an alarm set at 5:30 AM. I slipped down to the river for 60 minutes and got eight fish to hand nymphing. In nice gray light, calm air, cold water wet wading. Keeping an ear trained for any exclamations from the camp. Turns out they didn’t wake up until 730; I spent that latter hour tidying camp and making coffee. Not too bad either. Kept four of the fish; released three due to being small; released one due to being a nice white-edged, deep-jawed male that was within the protected slot. This fish was not remarkably large but striking enough to garner some admiration. Low light though, no good pics.
(6) Apparently there is a population of fishermen who believe that if (1) they go to a stream with trout in it, and (2) they get a good tip on a fly to use, then if (3) they get in the water and (4) put the fly in the water, they are deserving of some caught fish. If fish are not caught, the trout are remarkably smart or tough, the bugs aren’t working, etc. I observed multiple instances of this. Reiteration, it seems, of the fact that getting nymphs deep, presenting flies to fish faces, persistence, etc. are keys here. This sounds cocky but it’s more of a general and potentially useful observation.
(7) The chairs were a freecycle addition to our camping gear. I was reluctant at first because they kind of scream tourist car camper. Swashbucklers squat by the fire with a stick in hand, tending the fire. But fairness in reporting: kids love those things. Great acquisition. Kids like comfort.
(8) Don’t ever buy ground coffee. Buy the beans. Camp coffee is one of the true beautiful things out there. But if it’s not finely ground your ratio gets all screwed up and it turns out not strong enough.
(9) Car camping is what it is. But the kids love it. Main reason: the mantra is pretty much we can do whatever we want to do whenever we want. Wanna play catch? Head up one of the mountains? Okay, do it. Not bad.