I was able to convince Justin, WinonaFlyFactory.wordpress.com, Shell, and Bella that it was time to take a hike and get into the woods. We headed south to the South Fork of the Root River with a plan to hike the 3/4 of a mile to the confluence with Wisel.
We took the bluff route. Shell had her new fly rod in hand but lost the tip section whilst beating brow in the bush. Even though she has had many major accomplishments as a fly angler, a channel catfish on a dry fly, she is still a noob.
Noobs make mistakes that they learn and grow from pending they have the right attitude. Today Shell made the mistake of bush whacking with an assembled rod that was not strung up. I have seen this situation before. Typically it unfolds in the same manner. When the angler gets to where they were destined they realize that the rod in tow is shorted than what it was when they started the push. Unfortunately for Shell she lost her rod tip when we first hit the tree line and she realized this after we had blazed a half mile through the snow, along the River and up a bluff. As she and Justin walked back to look for the rod tip, I pushed on to the confluence.
I jumped a flock of Turkeys that were feeding in an oxbow and blazed a trail through the snow up and over another bluff before reaching the confluence. I followed game trails. This is typically a bad idea because you do not know where it may end up. In the winter with the foliage off the trees it is easy to determine if the path is right or not. I found that the deer trail got me to where I needed to go. I also found that there are a lot of squirrels living in the Walnut trees on the edge of the Cedar covered bluff at the confluence.
The South Fork was covered in ice where it headed west to its headwaters. Wisel had icy edges.
I picked a deep blue run and caught my first fish of the season here. I was satisfied. Eventually Justin, Shell, and Bella made it to the confluence.
We tried to push further upstream however without waders we were limited. We tried to cross the creek by scrambling over a down tree however that did not work out. We did not want to climb any more bluffs save for the ones between us and the car. We made a hot dog lunch and thawed out over a small cooking fire and headed back to the car.
We drove to the headwaters of the South Fork, just to have a look, and headed north to Winona.
Shell never even strung up her new rod and Justin caught no fish.