Alert… cabin fever is currently at an all-time high; the cure-take a short run to the nearest water that is open and has a few fish. This past weekend Vickie and I were up early on Saturday morning and headed east to the little hamlet of Brookville, Indiana. Along the way we swung into Brown County State Park and visited the Abe Martin Lodge for one of the most diverse and tasty breakfast buffets around…and if you’re like me, breakfast is as good as it gets, give me a big selection and you better watch out!
Through Columbus, Greensburg and a left at Batesville and you will wind up in the vicinity of Brookville; this is one of those ‘postcard’ like communities that just happens to sit at what is now the base of Brookville Reservoir. When the ‘big water’ was made it also created a cold-water fishery, a tail water fishery whereby the overflow from the lake is released from the bottom and into a two mile section of what was the East Fork of the Whitewater River…it flows straight south and meets up with its big brother, The Whitewater at the southern end of Brookville.
The beauty of this type of water is that it becomes a ‘cold-water’ fishery…meaning that cold water is released throughout the year…meaning that trout of various species can actually live in this two mile stretch. Let’s be clear, there just aren’t many streams anywhere in Indiana that can hold a sustainable population of trout and in southern Indiana, Brookville is the only one I know of!
As we neared the town and the enormous church steeple became visible, I started to get fired up. Open water and temperatures in the mid 60’s; my only fear was that mild weather would bring anyone with a fishin’ pole out to try their hand and elbow to elbow isn’t one of my favorite things. Just south of town we crossed over the branch that flows out of the reservoir and I could see upstream for a pretty good distance…to my surprise there weren’t any other folks fishing? While I thought that a bit odd, I welcomed the sight. Highway 52 became Main Street and smack dab in the middle of the town we stopped in at the Brookville Lodge. I had went online to www.BrookvilleLodge.com a couple of weeks earlier and reserved one of their five rooms for the night. Like anytime that you stay at a place for the first time…there was a little apprehension, but the lodge was very nice. Located right on main and within walking distance of all the shops and eateries, making it a logical place for future stays.
After checking in (actually way before), my mid switched gears to water, trout and fly rods. We turned right, back onto main and a mile or say later were located just below the dam. Brookville has a very nice set up as they have a town park that is located right on the stream…the park has a walking trail that follows the water for about a half mile and then makes a loop up towards town and eventually follows a circle. While I readied my gear, Vickie took off on a walk…it was a situation perfect for both of us.
Initially my fear had been too many folks, that wasn’t the case as I could look up and down the stream and saw at most another 5 or 6 fishermen. Once again…I had to pause and wonder why, but I threw on my gear, grabbed my 6 weight rod with a type one sink tip line and walked to the stream. I could see that the water was a bit cloudy, the closer I got I could see that it wasn’t just cloudy, but had a lot of debris moving down from above…sticks and leaves abounded. I decided to tie on a cream colored ‘trout-candy’ and moved just above a long riffle. From there it would be about a mile and a half to the south side of town, this is where I told Vickie I would get picked up 5 or so hours later. I will fast forward to the end…five hours, lots of stumbles (and one big fall) later…I pulled myself up out of the stream with ‘skunk’ all over me. In that time period I had had 3 nice takes, but had landed nothing, not one fish!
I skulked back to the lodge, showered, took a nap and then watched as IU won out against Purdue. Early the next morning I rose, grabbed my keys and decided to give the stream one more try. Persistence they say is a fishermen’s best friend. As I neared the stream I was shocked…the water was up, mostly brown and about a foot higher than where I left it the day before. I turned off the truck and stewed…five hours yesterday and the conditions are worse today…so what did I do? I grabbed my gear and crept carefully down to the water’s edge. I tied on a fresh white wooly bugger, made a few casts…and on my fifth casts, you guessed it, bang! I strip set on a nice 15 inch brown trout and took the ‘skunk’ off from the day before. If you are a fishermen then you know how good just one fish can make you feel; a few casts later and lightning struck again…another nice brown. Two fish to the net in under 30 minutes!
The water was moving rapidly and I told Vickie I would be back by 9 for breakfast…thus with two fish caught and released I walked up and back to my truck. It had been a great morning and for sure one that I won’t soon forget…one whereby I truly Enjoyed the Great Outdoors.