As fly-fishing for Specks was our primary focus I typically tied some flies for us both, but I wasn't one to research local hatches ahead of time so we'd still buy a few hot flies over the border nearer to our destination.  Before we left I'd whip up some large, deer-hair flies -- especially the mouse -- as they were particularly effective at dusk when most hatches were done.  And after several years fishing together we learned night time was when monster fish came out to feed.
We headed north on a late June weekend, crossing at the Soo, and traveled along Highway 17 until arriving at Rusty's Fly Shop.  After learning the black Caddis was working well, we bought some dries, wets and nymphs of that pattern.  "Trusty Rusty," as we fondly referred to him, also suggested we take some adult Hex flies as he'd heard that hatch was coming on strong, too.  We made our purchase and resumed the trip north.  We finally arrived at the entrance to an old logging trail on the map that meandered back into the bush, to a river known for great Speck fishing.  Reid's four-wheel drive pick-up took us back to a spot overlooking a beautiful stream.  After an hour trek on the trail, we found an open spot streamside and immediately set up camp in the clearing, working quickly to arrange our gear and down some sandwiches and Dew before donning our waders and heading to fish.
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Getting away and on the water hasn't been easy these days.  A wife and four teenagers, soaring gas prices, and grueling monthly sales quotas all conspire to keep me from northern woods, pursuing wild Brook trout in crystal-clear streams.  It's not like back in my college days when Reid my fishing buddy and I could head to Northern Ontario on a moment's notice -- with our fly rods, tackle and gear in tow -- to chase the fish Canadians call Speckled trout or "Specks".
I fished downstream first, thinking maybe streamers with some flash might work well.  No doubt fish here had never seen an artificial fly, I thought, so a Grey Ghost or Mickey Finn might do the trick  Within minutes of my first cast using the latter I hooked a nice, 12-inch Speck.  Ten holes and two hours further downstream, I'd hooked a dozen fish ranging in size from 12 to 17 inches.  Before keeping any fish I ask myself three questions.  Does this river get much pressure?  How easily am I catching fish?  And what other food do I have?   As I was sure another soul hadn't fished here for months if not years, I'd hooked one almost every other cast, and we had little solid food with us, I kept two small ones. Quite frankly, the taste of wild trout was simply too much to pass up.
I headed back to camp and found Reid there already, frying up a couple fish he'd brought back from his jaunt upstream.  The sounds and smell of a crackling campfire, trout basting over butter, and sizzling fried potatoes wafting through the woods -- with the river's steady bubble in the background -- overwhelmed my senses.  We sat by the fire and enjoyed the meal, taking in the moment as we recalled our day on the water.  Just upstream around the bend from our camp Reid discovered a deep pool, almost a pond, formed by trees felled by beavers which blocked the river's flow.                                       
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story continued
Speckled Fever
        By Tim Iversen
Illustrated by Katie Iversen