Thursday morning I sent the kids to school, packed up the truck with the 8wt, and headed north. The plan was to meet some friends at Temperance River State Park and basecamp from there. After a stop at Great Lakes Fly Co. in Duluth, I had camp set up by 3pm and the rest of the day to fish.
Rivers from Two Harbors up were blown out due to the rain that the area had received the past prior days. I started fishing the mouths of the tribs hoping to lure cruising fish along the shore that were waiting for the right conditions to make their push up the rivers. Smelt reports were sparse up that far, and it seems along with water temps, smelt are an indicator.
Friday was a beautiful day, mix of sun and clouds and comfortable temps. My brother and I fished Split Rock pretty hard all day. Other anglers reported taking a few steelhead here and there, but we did not see a fish. It did not matter though, it was a beautiful day to be out. We hit a few other North Shore tribs that day, driving up towards Tofte, and back down towards Beaver Bay. Members of the crew took fish that day, so it was not a total loss. Conditions were just tough, with turbid, cold waters.
Having told the family I would be home for dinner saturday night, we broke camp early saturday. I made plans to meet up with two of the guys at a river just north of Two Harbors where conditions were perfect. It was crowded, but not the combat-elbow-to-elbow fishing that can sometimes occur. After hiking up to the Judgement Pool, and finding no one there, we began to drift egg patterns, with plenty of splitshot to get them down deep. Thowing an 8 weight flly rod when I am accustomed to a 3 or 5 weight was interesting, but I think I got the hang of it. After a few drifts I became unattentive and started chatting with my friends. What I thought was a snag ended up being a fish. At first I though it was just a small fish, but soon realized it was a nice fish. Of course we forgot our nets, so I was mindful of steering this magnificant bright chromer to the rocky shore. He was a beautiful fish, maybe 24"+, but as soon as I got him beached, a shake of the head snapped the 2x tippet and he was off. Close enough for me as it was a catch and release quest anyways. Put me on the board!
Conditions should be great for the middle shore this week, and if the weather holds the upper should be good to go next week. Get out there.