25 April 2009, Saturday: Fished first time yest. MN Whitewater. Beautiful, caddis, limit (5), ramps, cress, HOT—91 in Rochester. Today 38 and drizzle.
You turn off the four-lane, U.S. 52, at Oronoco, and roll east along state and county highways for 25 miles or so, through gently undulant farmland, pastureland. Then just east of the tidy, pleasant town of Plainview, the road falls off a cliff.
I take the Jetta out of gear and just sail down the long winding hill, as the crenellated bluffs rise higher and higher above, white pines and leafless birch at their tops.
Eventually the road comes out of the hills and into the broad valley. This is where the trout live, in streams like this:
A fish rose just under that overhanging branch, moments before I snapped the picture. You might just see the ring of the rise in the shot.
In this beautiful place, springs pour from the hillsides. There's a little sort of grotto shaped from limestone; cold, pure water issues forth.
Coursing up through limestone makes the water alkaline--a good thing for stream fertility. It helps the watercress grow.
It helps other plants grow, mosses and algae and such that trout stream insects thrive on, and the trout thrive on the insects, and fishermen thrive on the trout.
The ramps--wild leeks, they're also called--are up and doing well. There are places in the southeastern Minnesota woods where all you see on every side are ramps, carpeting the forest floor.
Bloodroot are blooming, and anemones, Virginia bluebells about to burst out, the first trout lilies flowering, too.
It's really and truly spring, the trout season's open, and wild foods in all their extravagent abundance are there to enjoy. It feels pretty good.
The harvest from this outing we took out to Bide-A-Wee to cook. That's for next time.
Text and photos copyright 2009 by Brett Laidlaw