A quick outing yields my first native Minnesota brookies

A couple weeks ago, I ran out in the middle of the day Saturday during nap time and squeezed in a couple hours of fishing on a small driftless region stream. It is a property stream that has had habitat improvement by the DNR and is located accessible through an easement by the landowners. 
Like many streams in the area, you need to hike for a while to get past the heave cow traffic and water that probably gets more pressure. The water was a bit low, but it still seemed to be running nicely. I brought my Hexagraph and was throwing mini hoppers. Hopper season is probably about done with the fall on our doorstep. I easily could have used the tenkara rod, and probably will in the future for streams this size. It is just so convenient, and easier to manage with tall field grass. 
The one purchase this summer (besides the Hexagraph) that I am very happy with is the pair of Simms wet wading stockings. They have been so great. I haven’t worn waders since moving back, because these have been so comfortable and the water hasn’t been too cold. 
They are well constructed and easy to clean.
A good option for wet wading. I bought mine with a gift card to Bass Pro Shops. 
I was pleasantly surprised to see this small waterfall. I’m not sure if this was habitat improvement by the DNR or natural. Either way, it was gorgeous. 
What was special about this trip was that I was able to land my first Minnesota Brookie. They are the only trout native to Minnesota, and I fell in love with them in Virginia. I caught two in the same pool including this handsome fella below. 
There are lots of spots like this stream, where, after a mile hike, you find yourself in a valley that seems very isolated. You can see an oxbow in the stream on the left hand side. It winds back and forth throughout this small valley. 
I’m hoping to get out and find some spaced like this in the winter. I think they would be gorgeous. 


That slightly bewildered reaction you are experiencing right now, wondering where this blog post is going and what is a Hexa…. what did he say?

That’s how I felt two months ago when I stumbled upon the word Hexagraph during my search for a new fly rod. I recently got a going-away gift form my local TU chapter. They gave me some money for a rod or a guided trip. I wanted to do something special with the money. I wanted whatever I did or got to remind me of my time with Bill Wills TU in Virginia.

I struggled for a while. Of the days I could go on a guided trip, all the shops were booked and I was getting dizzy thinking of all the different rod options. Nothing really seemed special enough in the price point I was working with.

That’s when a member of our chapter mentioned the word Hexagraph.

You see, back in the 80s, this guy, Walton Powell was making fiber glass rods. Good ones. He was also really into bamboo. He and some Brits then came up with a plan to make foam filled graphite rods pieced together the same way you make a bamboo rod. What is the appeal of this? Precision casting. A rod that loads through the entire length. Essentially, bamboo delivery with improved power, durability, and a reduced cost.

Here is where things get interesting. Somehow, Jimmy Carter and Robert Redford start using these rods and redford gets Powell to paint some to look like bamboo. Why? Well it was too expensive to use actual bamboo rods in the movie “A River Runs Through It.” So next time you watch that young Brad Pitt smile as he makes his magic on the big river, remember it isn’t really him, and he isn’t using bamboo.

Well, Powell ran the company for a while and then sold it to a man named Harry Briscoe. I started looking for these rods online only to come to the Hexagaph website to find this….

“Effective December 31, 2014, Hexagraph Fly Rod Co. has ceased operations.”

WHAT?! I’m THREE months too late!?

Mr. Briscoe had his email address on the site, so I thought I would see what he had left in his inventory. He was awesome and informative, and we wrote and forth about his rods for several days. Ultimately, he didn’t have a rod left that would fit my needs. He had some blanks that would have worked, but I’m wasn’t looking to build something.

So I went to ebay. As good fortune would have it, there was a 1980’s original 8’6″ available. In mint condition. How is that possible? I asked the seller. He said he got the rod (and a few others) from the photographer for Walton Powell. The photographer had been given several rods as gifts, but he never used them. Well, long story short, I got the rod. It is gorgeous, and I know it is from the 80s because it came in a corduroy rod sock. It is awesome.

My old medalist fits right in with this new addition.

To some this might be a collector’s item. To me, this rod was made to be used 30 years ago, and now, it finally get’s its chance.