Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to summer in the Midwest. Many people hitch up their speed boats and jet skis, and head north to their cabins on the lake for the weekend. This also means the lakes are usually a little loud and choppy, as dads are doing their best to throw their kids off the tube and college kids are smashing down Budweiser beers while sporting American flag bathing suits on a swaying pontoon.
I don’t have a problem with it—honestly, I love weekends at the in-law’s timeshare cabin—but it makes it a little tough when you’re trying to fish the lakes. So this specific Memorial Day, we thought we would try to beat the system and head to quiet southeastern Minnesota for a little camping and trout fishing in the Driftless. The good news is that it was definitely quiet down there. The bad news is that the region had been hit with severe storms and flash flooding on a couple days prior, which left the water levels high and the visibility conditions low. Add to that 95+ degree temperatures and no cloud coverage, it made for two rough days of fishing.
On Sunday, we hit two new streams and caught a handful of average-sized browns. We wet-waded in order to beat the heat, but any exposed skin was left for the sun to burn and the biting gnats to attack.
During the hottest part of the afternoon, we headed over to set up our campsite at Beaver Creek State Park. Fortunately, the park is located down in a heavily-wooded ravine with a stream running through, so temperatures were much cooler down there.
We were able to test run our new two-person sleeping tent from REI, along with self-inflating sleeping bag mats, that we will be using on our week long trip to Wyoming later in the summer. (And in case you’re wondering, they pass the test—I have never set up an easier tent in my life!)
Monday morning we woke up to the sound of a distant thunderstorm rolling in around 5:30 AM. We quickly packed up camp and started heading North towards home and away from the storms. We spent some time exploring one more new stream and found a couple small browns, but it was slow and hot.
We ended up home around 2PM and Micah decided he had to end the day catching carp, despite the fact my car was showing that it was 102 degrees. Fortunately the carp were extremely active and aggressive, and we ended the weekend with a couple rubber lips on the line.
The weekend definitely didn’t go as planned, but we’re still chalking it up as a good weekend. We’re always down for exploring new places and learning new things—which is exactly what we did. One thing we noted about the southern region of the Driftless is how much of the streams are public easement, which we don’t have nearly as much of in the Northern region. We’ll definitely head back down to this area to fish and camp again—maybe in the fall when temps are much cooler and the bugs have died down.