"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..." - Scott Hanson

"Write what you know. If you don't know, make it up..." - Scott Hanson

"A dude can't live on just two fly rods alone..." - Scott Hanson

Man, I have some deep thoughts...

Friday, June 16, 2017


This is not just another blog about one of my fishing trips. This is more of a travelogue type of thing, as I will be writing about my family's first camping trip of the year. There will be some fishing included, though, too, so don't fret.

Not only was this our first camping trip of the year, it was our first trip with our new pop-up camper, our first trip with our new truck, and our first trip with our youngest child, The Baby, who is now 18 months old. All of our other kids had been camping before their first birthday, but for some reason we never went camping last summer when The Baby was still under the age of 1. All of this newness made the trip even more fun.
The new truck and camper, ready to roll. 
The Baby got her own tent, just in case she had trouble sleeping...
We decided to go to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park in the southeastern part of Minnesota. This park has all sorts of fun things to do, and we did almost all of them. First of all there is the cave that is in the name. That was awesome, even though The Baby was up past her nap time and spent a good portion of our time in the cave trying to prove to everyone that she is, in fact, the Loudest Baby In The History Of The World. If you were in our tour group, I am so sorry...
A spooky corner deep inside Mystery Cave.

Along with the cave, this park also contains Historic Forestville, a town site that was abandoned a hundred years ago. Nowadays they hire people to play the parts of the townspeople from 1899, and give tours for all of us campers to see how things were back in the day. Admittedly, I wasn't sure how exciting this tour would be, but it turned out to be great. All of our kids loved it, and it was almost impossible to drag The Baby away from the chickens that were roaming around everywhere.

Forestville State Park also has some great hiking. Lots of fun trails to explore for hikers of all levels. We left The Baby back at the camper with her aunt while the rest of us set out to find another fun little cave that Canfield Creek flows out of. Although I had done this hike before, it was a long time ago, so I had forgotten how long of a hike it was. The fact that multiple children started complaining about their legs/thirst/suspected heatstroke made it seem even longer. We never did find the cave, but that's ok. We got to bond as a family, and I got a chance to rethink whether I ever want to take them hiking again...

My favorite parts of Forestville State Park are the three high quality trout streams that converge inside the park boundaries.The South Branch of the Root River is the main stream, but the aforementioned Canfield Creek and the up-to-now unmentioned Forestville Creek are also great streams. I walked down from our campsite and spent about an hour on the Root on Friday night, and then hiked up Forestville Creek for another hour or so on Saturday night.
Scott F2 774/3 and Heddon 300 reel.

The Root is full of trout, which was evident as I waded around. There were fish rising everywhere, along with a buffet of insects flying around. I saw sulphur mayflies, light colored caddisflies, and craneflies throughout the evening. If I had worn my vest that is packed with all my fly boxes, I am sure I could have found the right fly to catch more fish, but my decision to beat the heat and only carry a small tub of flies in my pocket proved to be my undoing. I did catch one brown on a parachute adams, and another on an elk hair caddis, but otherwise that evening was filled with frustration.
A pretty little brown.

I had a much better time on Forestville the next night. I wore my vest, and I am glad I did, since I ended up catching fish on several different options. I started out with a sulphur parachute, switched to a Spearfish Special nymph, had some hits on a wooly bugger, and also hooked a couple on a beadhead rubber legs prince nymph. Forestville Creek is much smaller and tighter that the Root, but I love fishing smaller creeks like that. I feel like I can tell what's going on and where to fish faster than I can on bigger water. 
Fenwick FF75 and Redington Drift.

Another pretty little brown.
All in all, we had a great first camping trip of the year. The new truck performed flawlessly, the new camper was spacious and comfy, and the new child did as well as can be expected. Woohoo!

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