I travelled to southern Minnesota on Thursday, July 27th, 2000
for a day of trout fishing. The North Branch is a little
trout stream that empties into the Root River. The fishing
itself was terrible **. Still, trudging through the woods
in my hip boots, wading
into the water, and the primeval beauty of the place still made for
a rewarding day. At left is a view of the North Branch
as you first approach. Note the barb wire fence in the
The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) puts up these fence crossing structures. The surrounding
area is farmland, but the streams that feed the Root and the
Root are surrounded by deep woods. My camera had a little trouble
with the light levels. I post these pictures anyway so you can
get an idea of being here.
Here is a small rapids dumping into a small basin. Trout
(if there were any) would feed by waiting in the basin
for food to float over the rapids to them. One throws
a wet or dry fly into the rapids and lets it drift with
the current into the basin. Trout have to make a quick
decision when they glimpse your fly and dart up from the
bottom or from behind a rock to grab it.
It looks like beaver (or maybe boy scouts?) have eaten the bark from
this tree. There were several trees in the area like this. I suppose
the flood could have done this too, but this looked pretty fresh.
Okay, so Daniel Boone I'm not. The area suffered a major flood two weeks before I
came fishing **. Vegetation and dead wood snarled together everywhere
and made it unusually difficult to fish.
These pictures are taken about 8:30 in the morning. The light
has caught some leaves at a funny angle in the top of this
picture. You need a good bug repellant to trout fish here.
I also wear a hat to keep biting flies off my head. You get
an idea of the depth of the woods. I always get the feeling
while in the valleys during the late summer that I am the
only person on earth. I go in the late summer when the number of fishermen drops off.
Here a tree recently knocked down gives a feel for how little
of the North Branch can be fished. See the other trees
swept downstream by the flood and now piled up upon themselves?
They will lay here rotting for years and years. I gave up
fishing the North Branch today after about and hour and a half.
I called the DNR and talked to the guy who monitors these
trout streams. I wanted to know if the unusually heavy
flood had destroyed insect life. Yup - he said the flood
in these high gradient gravel bottom scours out the
insects life and it takes a while for them to come back.
He also said the large amount of silt in the water makes
it hard for the fish to breath. The flood can also kill
fish by washing them out of deep pools into debris.
The ranger at Forestville
told this guy that they found a dead 22 inch brown trout
after the flood. I know I usually only catch trout when
they are feeding on insects, so this wasn't my day on
the Root. Still, it was worth going.