With the front and back storage compartments completely loaded, I had just enough bungee on the deck to hold my backpack. The NiceRide commute to work in the morning had been a challenge and drifting into the current of the Namekagon River on Thursday night I tried to ignore the ponderous weight of fly-fishing gear, food, back up fly-fishing gear, spare clothing, spin casting gear and camping gear weighing down my 14.5 foot Wilderness Systems Kayak. The plan was to find a campsite quickly after putting in below the Trego dam, and spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday paddling, drifting and fishing downriver to the Saint Croix, where I would meet up with my ride home.
Friday morning came early and the paddling was amazing – quiet at every corner, occasional riffles and a handful of down trees allowed me to cast and cast and cast and … not catch anything for hours. I stopped near dusk and found a campsite with an immature bald eagle circling overhead, one of a handful I’d seen throughout the day. Maybe the highlight of the trip, and the simplest part of the trip, was bathing at the end of the day, putting on fresh clean clothes and setting up camp. Saturday morning started much the same as Friday, beautiful water, plenty of casting, some good strikes, but nothing to write home about. After making a change in my presentation I managed to net my first significant bass before entering the series of small rapids that greet the Namekagon as it enters the Saint Croix river.
Near Danbury, close to dusk, I found two pockets of active bass, and managed to get two more nice smallies, before settling in at a modestly buggy campsite. Having drifted past my first take-out, and off the only map I had, I agreed to meet my ride home closer to Grantsburg; two full map sections downstream. Sunday was too windy to fish, and I eventually made it home to Minneapolis, where I started taking off the ticks and drying out my flies.
Thank you to Wyatt and Adan for helping me get there and my folks for helping me get back.
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