The Flowstone Story
Flowstone Fishing is a small business that designs, builds, and sells spinning lures made by hand right here in Lanesboro, Minnesota. I'm Bret Klaehn, the owner of Flowstone Fishing. My wife Lisa and I have three sons - Collin, Blake, and Ethan - who are directly responsible for what has become Flowstone Fishing. As an avid trout and fly fisherman, I began tying flies several years ago. I wanted to include my boys in my passion. They were naturally curious about what dad was doing and wanted to give it a try. We had some fun but I quickly realized toddlers get easily frustrated when placed in front of a fly vise (so do their fathers!). I then had the idea that maybe they could get involved by making their own spinners instead. They loved it! In the process, I branched off and became addicted and obsessed over finding just the right combinations of components to make high quality lures that are both attractive and effective. The rest, of course, is right here in front of you.
Where did the name "Flowstone" come from and what is "The Driftless?"
Great questions! We are often asked about the origin of our name and tagline, and we love telling the story! The short version is that flowstone is a mashup of "flowing water" and "limestone," both of which define our local geographic region (The Driftless) and, therefore, our local fishing. It also refers to those fascinating formations on the floors, walls, and ceiling of caves, several of which are found here in southeast Minnesota. Flowstone is formed by the same material and processes that create stalactites (hanging from the ceiling of caves) and stalagmites (sticking up from the floor of caves). I'm fascinated by the geology that makes our region unique, and the connection it has to our fishing, which I'll describe below.
Now, the long version. Being located in southeast Minnesota, we live in a corner of the geographical region known as "The Drifltess" which ignores state boundaries and encompasses parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. This region was missed by the advancements of glaciers that slowly swept across the surrounding area thousands of years ago. These surrounding areas were leveled and smoothed with glacial "drift" such as soil and rocks. Our region, however, was left "driftless" and a huge area of limestone and sandstone, formed millions of years prior, sat exposed. Both limestone and sandstone are permeable, sedimentary rock, which means water can easily seep into them and erode them away. This is not only true of the surface rock, but also in the layers of these rocks deep underground. Because of this, cracks, crevises, and even caves are formed by the constant erosion in this underlying rock by the water that drains down into this porous, "karst" landscape. The water contains high levels of dissolved calcite from the limestone and as it drips into caves it slowly deposits some of it back onto the rock surfaces. Over thousands of years, layer upon layer of calcite creates these delicate, majestic flowstone formations.
Incidentally, the water that percolates through these layers of limestone takes on the average annual temperature of southeast Minnesota - 48 degrees F. The water then flows through and exits these caves and layers of rocks through the walls and floors of our numerous valleys by way of springs and creates mineral-rich cold-water streams, the perfect environment for trout. The Minnesota portion of the Driftless alone has dozens and dozens of designated trout streams which add up to over 700 miles of highly productive trout water. If you live here, you are lucky to be near so much fantastic flowing water and so many beautiful fish. If you don't, make plans to visit us sometime and see for yourself. Be sure to grab some Flowstone Lures no matter where you fish, live, or travel!