Crooked Creek in extreme SE Minnesota flows from just east of Caledonia (the self proclaimed turkey capital of the state) to the Mississippi, just a few miles north of Iowa. I’d heard a lot about it over the years from a friend who fished it long ago, and I have scouted it several times, appreciating the beautiful valley through which it flows.
Today I fished an upper portion and throughly enjoyed myself. This stream is not improved at all, so it can be a bit of a walk between good fishing spots, but I managed two brook trout and perhaps eight browns, and the two biggest were both browns topping out at 12″ and 14″. I caught about half on Blacksmith nymphs and the other half on a little #18 tan elk hair caddis.
Nothing like watching a trout rise, waiting a bit, putting your fly right where you first saw the ring from the previous rise, and then seeing the fish come up from the bottom and gobble up your fly. That happened a couple times today, and I was smiling ear to ear each time. (If only I would have been able to catch that bigger fish that kept rising just below a little bush hanging over the water. I managed the tricky cast a couple of times, but there was something about my fly he didn’t find enticing, and all I could do was watch as it floated under the bush unmolested.)
It took me awhile to find a place that looked like it wasn’t overrun with fisherfolks. Every quarter mile or so a truck or car was parked along County Road 249. I’m pretty sure that everyone I saw was either dunking worms or throwing spinners, so I was wondering if maybe the creek had been recently stocked with catchable trout. But every fish I caught was definitely wild. The stretch I found did me proud for the first couple of hours, but as I was approaching my grand finale–a very big pool under a bridge that I had been looking forward to tackling–I ran into what looked to me like a couple of families fishing right under “my” bridge. I’ll definitely have to fish it another time.
I searched Google when I got home and I could find nothing about recent stocking in Crooked Creek, although it was evident from my search that the Minnesota DNR stocked the stream in the previous springs from 2010-2014 at the very least. The other times I’ve driven up or down this valley, the most vehicles I’d seen at one time was one. Nevertheless, I had a good couple hours of pleasant solitude, catching some trout and listening to the babble of the creek and turkeys gobbling, along with a lot of other birds calling.
And after I took off my fishing costume and began the trek home, I was rewarded with the opportunity to take pictures of a gobbler and a large turtle, which I believe was a female snapper, perhaps crossing the road to lay her eggs in some warm sand.
Enjoy the pics. A couple of notes about the pics… the brookie pictured is the larger of the two I caught, and I didn’t manage a pic of the 14″ brown, as he slipped away before I could get a shot off. Also, for those turtle aficianados out there, the snappers’s shell was about a foot long and 8″ wide.