Friday, September 26, 2008

Pine Creek is another stream in the Driftless Region. It holds some very nice brook trout in addition to Browns.
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Compare my size 11 1/2 wading shoe to this beauty! This is a great way to get a photo without stressing the trout. After he gets strong enough, he just swims out into the strong current.
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My favorite valley

Is this not a beautiful secluded valley? I like to think God had me in mind when He created this Gem!
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Here is the smaller Brook Trout that wasn't supposed to be there! Again all the trout but one were released to fight again.
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This beauty is the only trout that went to the dinner table. Believe it or not, the DNR asked me to keep a couple of the bigger browns instead of releasing them as I had been doing. They had stocked some brook trout that week and wanted to give them a fighting chance to grow. The DNR said it had been twenty years since there had been brookies in this stream, but little did they know, I had caught a 12 and a 14 inch Brook where there supposedly were none not more than two weeks earlier. I will post a picture of one of them next.
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Hook nose beauty!

This is a five pound brown that was very cooperative after I released it, giving me time to snap several "in the water" photos.
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Driftless refers to southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, part of western Wisconsin, and some of Illinois that was not covered by glacier. It was underwater but not covered by ice. The results are some very spectacular limestone valleys, many with some beautiful cold water trout streams. All of my trout fishing and deer hunting takes place in these valleys.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

An April Day at Torkelson Creek

I arrived at Torkelson Creek about noon to find the landowner getting his mail. His name is Mitch Gilbert. We had a nice conversation lasting about an hour. He said there were a couple of turkey hunters in the top of the valley. I had run into them the previous day, so it wasn’t news to me. I intended to walk to the upper reaches to fish a couple of holes where I had seen some larger trout. As I came up to the stiles leading to a small waterfall, I chased up a big tom turkey on the path. I crossed the fence line and proceeded up the valley. Just as I passed the waterfall I heard a shotgun blast sounding very close! I slowed down and kept an eye out for the shooter. As I rounded the corner where the valley turns, I saw one of the hunters bent over a turkey, but noticed splashing in the water not far from where he was standing. I had met the hunters, as I said, the day before so I felt comfortable walking up to him. He told me of his shot, how he had seen two large toms across the valley, but they seemed to be heading down the valley instead of toward him. He said something made them turn toward him at the last minute (me), and they came right at him. They got within twenty yards of him and he took a shot, and hit two birds with one shot, accounting for the splashing I had observed. I inquired about the other bird, and he pointed to a spot on the creek, and there was bird number two. He said he had been hunting for nine years, and this was the first shot he had taken. By then his partner came from his blind, and joined us. I helped get the other bird out of the creek, asking if I could snap a couple of pictures. He said great, and then asked me to shoot a couple of shots with his camera also. The birds were large; I would guess over twenty-five pounds.

I congratulated them on their success and they wished me good luck on the “big one”. I went to my first spot just out of sight of the hunters, put on an orange lure with a gold blade because of the cloudy water from several days of rain. I cast into the head of the pool, and after a couple turns of the reel, the water exploded and I knew I had on the largest trout of my trout fishing career (I had previously caught a 21 inch five pound brown in Rice Creek, in about 1972, fishing with Scott Larson.) After an exciting battle, I landed my fish, quickly laying her on the bank for a couple of quick pictures. She measured 22 beautiful inches. I got her back in the water and helped her revive to the point where she shot away with an awesome splash.
I ended my day thanking God for giving me the opportunity to enjoy His bounty.