I’M REALLY hungry for some trout, my wife declared the other day, and what great words those are in the ears of an angler looking for any legitimate excuse to go fishing.

That statement was enabling for me, in a good way, and it didn’t take me long to plan an early morning outing to one of my favorite places in the world.

Trout country, you see, is located in the heart of some of the wildest and most tranquil terrain in Wisconsin. It’s a place where deer and black bear and fisher and even badgers — more on that later — carve out their home territories.

There are so many choices between various stretches of the Deerskin, the Elvoy, the Brule and other streams just east of Eagle River and Phelps that trout anglers have many options. But for the scribbler, I most often choose the Deerskin for its close proximity, fast water, gravel bottom and familiarity.

It was early in the morning, just after 6 a.m., the sun barely peeking through the towering pines on either side of a river still blanketed in shadows.

I flipped a chunk of crawler toward the undercut bank and let the current do its thing, naturally, as the line peeled off the spinning reel until the bait reached its destination.

Downstream was a deep hole on a sharp corner, the water cutting under the bank. The goal is to get the bait low enough to be seen but yet high enough to keep it moving, all the while flashing in the current.

And when you’re done feeding the line and just letting the bait dance in the current, you can’t miss the strike of a native brook trout in the handle of a five-foot graphite rod. They hit for keeps.

My favorite hits are the ones where there is no chewing, which can indicate a smaller fish, and where there is nothing but heavy, slow head movement showing on the rod tip. Those are generally the bigger fish, and they seem to be more active this time of year before the sun hits the stream.

After a few seconds, it was time for a mighty hookset. The rod doubled over as the weight of the trout and the current worked against me.

I knew it was a nice fish because it wasn’t coming out of the hole or near the surface. Wide flashes of its silvery side suggested it was a dandy brook trout, so I moved downstream with a net handy hoping to scoop it up before it found wood or weeds to foil my plan.

Eventually I slid a net under an 11-inch brookie, a native with a dark green back and a bright orange belly. These fish are so remarkably colored that it appears they were handpainted by God himself, which is exactly what I would say about the head of the male wood duck. Just incredible.

The sides of a brookie are a mix of green and silver, decorated with little red dots inside slightly larger blue dots. They have a green camouflage back, an orange belly and fins you’d expect on a saltwater fish — deep orange offset by black-and-white vertical striping.

The scribbler was once again escaping the boat traffic, noise and congestion that can come with lake fishing this time of year, as the heart of the skiing, tubing and general water recreation season peaks.

It’s truly an adventure when you hit a tranquil national forest trout stream just after dawn — the gurgling waters, songbirds, waterfowl, distant loons and the occasional calls of a pileated woodpecker being the only audible sounds.

Just the sounds of the trickling stream is enough to mesmerize an angler, soothing the spirit and that part of us that longs for wild places with no human distractions.

I write on this topic almost annually because of the stories people tell me about their first trout adventures, and how they decided to gear up and try trout fishing after reading some of these tales. I heard one of those stories last month, and the youngster is truly hooked on stream fishing.

Few rivers I’ve ever fished have the sand and gravel bottom of the Deerskin, allowing an old crawler soaker like myself to fish downstream without kicking up a bunch of mud and silt.

I fish with spinners from time to time but prefer to float pieces of crawler into holes and undercut banks with a No. 10 mustad hook and no sinker. I noticed a lot of tag elder cutting on the Deerskin this year, which is great for the spinner anglers working upstream.

When the weight and drag of the bait disappears, you realize that it either caught on a snag or was grabbed by a trout. So you reel up the slack and carefully try to figure out which occurred.

On this brief morning trip the river gave up about 10 trout, including a legal limit of three that were between 10 and 11 inches. That ensured my bride would be happy with me.

But mostly, the trip was a break from a busy summer. It was quiet time in a relaxing place, just me and the river. And it doesn’t hurt that the south bank of the Deerskin is the Blackjack Springs Wilderness Area.

The Deerskin is my favorite for several reasons, not the least of which is the multicolored gravel beneath all that gurgling water. It’s a long river with good trout stretches going for miles.

I’ve seen bears, fawns, mink, fisher, beaver, muskrats and yes, once, a badger that was digging for grubs in a sandy bank along the Deerskin Road.

And if you spend enough time and enough years, the river becomes an old friend — a story to tell and a fish to remember from just about every bank and undercut corner.

Whether you are stressed by a hectic society, a tough work schedule or too much activity on your favorite lake, the trout stream is a great place to find some relief.

There’s no better place to spend some quality time outdoors, catch a few fish and just take in whatever Mother Nature has to offer.