Birthday trip to the Root River


My wonderful girlfriend sprung for a weekend trip to Lanesboro so we could spend my birthday together. The Agenda called for lots of hiking, scouting, and fishing. On of my goals was to see how the river was looking and ascertain which species we could look forward to catching at the Roundup next week. Saturday morning we first hiked from Lanesboro to Whalen.


The sandbar at the confluence of the South Fork with the Main Stem was pretty much underwater.



Eagle Cliff campground looked good, though - about as high as last year.



Along the Root River State Trail, on the South Fork just a bit upstream from the confluence, was a likely-looking spot I had to stop and fish.



Within a few minutes I had a solid bite, and a good-sized fish tore line out on my new telescopic travel ultralight. It turned out to be a dandy golden redhorse.



Sonya then hiked the upper river while I fished the lower south fork and the main stem down past Whalen. I found a really nice spot just a stone's throw downstream from Whalen that I'd never fished before - it was pretty well-used, so I had high hopes - but I caught no fish there. I think this spot would be dynamite in lower water - it's like an island/peninsula that juts out into a big backwater hole. There are some sandy and silty flats that might hold carpsuckers in the summer. After getting blanked there, I slipped upstream and caught a shorthead, a few white suckers, and this brown trout.



After dinner down in Harmony and a fun night of celebration I woke up Sunday ready to fish. We hit the trail again to re-visit the confluence area, where I'd caught a nice golden the day before. Three beefy goldens came to hand in short order, and every one tested my tackle and stripped line in exhilerating fashion.



One point to note about this spot - it's right by the last island before the confluence, where a pretty swift riffle/rapids flows around both sides of the island. The main channel, river right as you face downstream, is totally blocked by a fallen tree. If you're floating the river this Friday, be sure to take the left channel at the island as there's no way past the fallen tree. If you hit that sweeper in a canoe or kayak, you're going to have a bad day. Here's a photo:



A couple of feisty white suckers were next in line.



Then, after a few trout I didn't bother to photograph, a quick tappity-tap turned into my first northern hogsucker of 2014! I always look forward to landing my first pugamoo of the year, so this fish put a big smile on my face.



Then I hooked something bigger. The fish ran straight into the rapids and stripped off half my spool before I managed to turn it. I didn't see it for a long time, but when it finally showed itself, I was a happy man - a nice silver redhorse, complete with tubercules.



This fish even fanned out his dorsal in the classic silver-redhorse pose for me. He had a little bit of a lamprey damage on his tail, but was otherwise a perfect specimen and a sight for sore eyes.


Well, that's what the Root is doing right now. I got 5 species in an hour and a half on Sunday, which was really fun. I found two great new spots and had a good birthday down in Lanesboro, despite the blisters on my feet from too much hiking. The River cleared and dropped an inch overnight, so the conditions will probably improve every day. The river is fishing GREAT right now, and it should be better yet come Friday when the Roundup gets underway.  Hope to see many of you there!



Species List: 
Redhorse, Golden
Redhorse, Shorthead
Redhorse, Silver
Sucker, Northern Hog
Sucker, White
Trout, Brown


D.T.'s picture

That read sure felt good. Just knowing that the upcomping weekend is gonna be awesome. Damn nice goth girl too.

RiverRat's picture

I was holding my breath a bit wondering how conditions were gonna be, sounds nothing short of glorious. Nice lookin fish dude, see ya this weekend.

Eli's picture

One day I will fish that river!


...and happy birthday, Corey.




Mike B's picture

Happy birthday to us Corey, looks like you had a fun few days of fishing. Funny, we have lampreys up here but I can only recall seeing a damaged fish just once.

mike b

Nice Northern Hog and a great report. Wish we had a sucker population here in Ohio like you have in Minnesota.