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South Fork of the Root River
Type of Stream: Spring Limestone River
Species: Brook, rainbow and brown trout (wild and stocked)
Location: Southeastern Minnesota
Nearest Town: Preston & Lanesboro
The South Fork of the Root River is one of Southern Minnesota's larger and premier trout streams. The South Fork runs over beds of limestone that provide the high pH, fertile spring water that provides a super habitat for trout. In addition to the springs, it gets some ample flows of clear cold water from the snow melts. It starts above Forestville State Park and flows several miles before meeting the North Branch at Lanesboro.
Above Preston, in the upper section of the South Fork the river flows casually through meadows and pasture land but does not stray far from the roads. I has good populations of stream bred wild brook trout, both wild and hatchery grown browns, and hatchery grown rainbows. The brook trout and the rainbows will respond to the dry flies while the browns are more likely to fall for the nymphs and streamers. Since it is more difficult to deceive the browns, we feel that the exact aquatic insect imitations offered by the Perfect Fly series of flies will give an angler an edge. These can be ordered from Trout University.
The Forestville Park contains a three mile stretch that offers some of the best trout fishing opportunities. Below the top discharge dam at the town of Lanesboro is another great section of the South Fork of the Root River.
The South Fork due to the several springs has a relatively constant flow of water and due to the small drop in elevation; it has moderate runs, slow riffles and some long pools. For the most part, the grassy banks provide easy access but there are some areas where heavy brush exists.
Fishing the South Fork of the Root River:
The rainbows can be found in the faster water of the runs and riffles while the brookies will tend to remain at the ends of the pools. The browns however, will tend to lie along the outside of the banks, especially the undercut banks, or in the shade provided by overhanging branches or in the deeper pools.
Fly Fishing the South Fork in the Spring:
The Blue winged Olives will start to hatch around the middle of March, followed by the Blue Quills and the Hendricksons in April and May. Midges will work well all year long as well.
The Sulphurs will be hatching in June along with the Light Cahills, and the Caddisflies. The Tricos are a major hatch starting about the middle of June.
The Blue winged Olives, Caddisflies, Slate Drakes and Tricos will all be effective during their hatches. Craneflies will be in the moderate to slow moving waters and the terrestrials will be a good bet along the banks where they may blow into the water. Streamers will be effect including the sculpins, baitfish and minnows.
Public access is easy at the Forestville State Park. There is also access along several roads including Country Roads 12 and 118.There are two bridges where CR 12 crosses the South Fork and they both provide access. Remember to request permission to fish the farmland.
Recommended DVDs, Books, etc.:
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