Brandon Butler column March 14

Even with all the great public fishing available in the Greene-Sullivan Region, sometimes people just want to get away from it all, including other people.

There are countless private pits in the area, and with a little research one can locate a number of ways to obtain permission to fish one these sanctuaries: talk to bait shop owners; scour the Internet for cabin rentals, which are often on private pits; or reach out to the chambers of commerce in the region.

Personally, I’ve fished a few different private waters in the region, and each was incredible.

My favorite is Deer Run Properties.

Located in the heart of region of the Greene-Sullivan State Forest and just north of Dugger, Deer Run consists of 500 acres of private land encompassing six private pits. They are all full of fish.

Bob Hunley, the owner, is a local who has done well in the real estate business. He’s pushing retirement age, and with time and money he’s developed his own personal paradise.

Thankfully, he’s decided to share.

Deer Run is truly a special place, because aside from offering ridiculously large bluegill and an overpopulation of 12- to 15-inch largemouth bass, the property offers seemingly endless outdoor opportunity.

Once your arm is too sore to land one more fish, you’re welcome to take off into the woodlands to hunt, hike, search for mushrooms or ride horses.

But it is the fly-fishing that continues to draw me back. If you really like catching bluegill on a fly rod, or if you have always wanted to become a fly fisher, Deer Run is the place go.

Rut Lake, the largest pit in Deer, is about 20 acres. The long, narrow lake splits into two distinct narrow fingers on the east end. The northernmost finger has a very distinct drop-off. When the conditions are right, you can expect to catch a fish on nearly every cast.

There are three primitive, yet comfortable, Amish-built lakeside log cabins on Rut Lake. They are available for rent. These are newer cabins with wood-burning stoves, but no running water or electricity. Each cabin has an outhouse, but not like you’re thinking. These are Cadillac-style outhouses, smelling of cedar with concrete floors.

Anglers are welcome to keep enough fish for an evening fry while staying in one of the cabins. Firing up a lakeside fish fry of fresh, never frozen bluegills filets should be a right reserved for royalty. Packages include lodging, a boat and unlimited access to the private lakes.

I’ve never found a place that exudes such a simple natural relaxation as Greene-Sullivan. Each time I find myself fishing one of the region’s many secluded waters, I am transported from the stresses of everyday life to a much simpler mentality of relaxation and rejuvenation.

In my opinion, it would be tough to design a better weekend escape than tossing a fly rod in the backseat, a tent in the trunk, strapping a canoe to the roof and heading to the strip pits. Greene-Sullivan is one of Indiana’s best-kept secrets.

See you down the trail.