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.

The scribbler was working a deep hole on a sharp corner of the Deerskin River, trying to get the crawler to the same level as the big brookies I hoped were hiding under that bank.

It was early, before 7 a.m., and the sun was barely peeking through the towering pines on either side of the river, the Deerskin still blanketed in shadows well after sunup.

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

But there’s also those beautiful, tasty brook trout, and only seconds passed before one grabbed the crawler tail that had been waving in the current in a teasing manner.

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 with the five-foot ultralight rod, which doubled over as the weight of the trout and the current worked against me.

Nice fish, I thought, still trying to get it out of the hole and near the surface to get a better look at it. Wide flashes of its silvery side suggested it was a dandy brook trout, so I moved downstream with a net in hand in hopes that it would stay away from wood and bottom debris just long enough.

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 hand-painted by God himself.

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 striping. Few fish species, at least in freshwater, can rival the beauty of a native brook trout.

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 is in high gear.

This stream is some of the wildest country in Wisconsin, evidenced by the tracks of a large black bear that were visible in the riverside mud. With the Blackjack Springs Wilderness Area fronting the river’s south shore, there is added tranquility you can’t find everywhere.

I was late in my return to the Deerskin this year, so I missed the big mayfly hatches that often occur in late June and early July. You can always tell when it’s mayfly season, for the spiderwebs strung across nearby branches will hold their captive insects for days.

Few rivers I’ve ever fished have the sand and gravel bottom of the Deerskin, allowing an old crawler angler 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.

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

On this brief morning trip the scribbler caught about 10 trout, keeping a limit of three decent fish for the frying pan. But that’s not what the adventure was all about, even though you can’t beat the flavor of a native brook trout.

This trip was about taking a break; doing something different in some of the most scenic country in Wisconsin. There’s just something about trout country that no other fishing seems to offer — so remote and secluded. It was just me, the walls of the river valley and a gin-clear stream embraced by tag elder.

As the years pass, my appreciation of the Deerskin River deepens. It’s a rare find to have a gravel-bottom river just 12 minutes from the office, in a system where the water is so cold it will numb your warm-weather hands.

The water is so clear you can see every color in the gravel on those fast-water stretches. And it’s a long river, the good trout stretches going for miles. Yet so many anglers overlook it.

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 corner.

I recall that almost two decades ago, on a unique corner with a large rock in the stream, I did battle with a 13-inch brookie on a lunch- hour outing. It was overcast, and it’s no secret that big fish, in general, are more active under those conditions.

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, catch a few fish and just take in whatever Mother Nature has to offer.