Wednesday, April 28, 2010


For at least the last decade of my life , my wife and I attend dinner at a local restaurant that has a picture hanging in it's entryway. I always take an extra second to stop and pay my homage to the best "capture" of the the ole king that I've ever seen. It has a gold dedication plate in the matting of the frame that is dedicated to the life to a former physician in the area. I expect the Ruffed Grouse meant as much to him, as it does to me, and probably the reason it was choosen for his memorial piece.
I've always admired it's captivating hues of color of that "magic hour" that we've all experienced among the Dogwood and Aspen, when the sun begins it's descent and the grouse seem to become more active than any other time during the crisp Autumn days.
I couldn't hide my disappointment when about five years ago I finally decided I wanted a copy for myself, and found out it was sold out many, many years ago. There were only a certain amount produced as it was one of Redlins favorite pieces, and all but a few copies were left at all. Those copies were selling for more than I wanted to spend.
This Christmas my understanding, beautiful, and tolerant wife surprised me with a copy of my own, which now proudly hangs in my office. I look at it everyday, and remind myself how lucky i am , in so many ways.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Streamer Weather and Smiles

After weeks of giving the spring creeks of our fine state the proper attention they deserve, I thought it was time to get back to my home water. This water has no improvements, no lunker structures, or nicely manicured paths in which to walk along the bank. As a matter of fact, it has quite the opposite. Carrying a flyrod through the jungle like atmosphere in which this stream provides is a lesson in patience, and humility. In this water, the roll cast rules. Visions of Brad Pitt or Tom Skerrit double hauling entire flylines across boulder infused mountain streams don't live here, but trout do.
What this little freestone lacks in appearance, it makes up in plentiful Brookies and a few large Brown trout. This being our last weekend in the "catch and release" season, I figured I had to get out even though we have a a 70% chance of rain. After all, Streamers LOVE the rain! We had many nice takes from brookies today, and I broke off a large brown in a hole that always seems to hold one of the larger fish we see every trip. So if you happen to catch a fish with a large yellow bugger in his mouth, I really caught that fish first! :)
Next Saturday the worm dunkers will take their fair share of trout back to the frying pan, where they are excellent table fare, but one less statistic to successfully breed for next season. I certainly have no problem with harvesting a fish every once in a while, but please use restraint with the "gem" of the Northwoods.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What NOT to do when fishing for salmon!

make sure to pause my music at the bottom of the page before viewing this.
warning; a foul word is used

Monday, April 19, 2010

Paite's Picturesque Cast

I took this shot of charlie from about 600 yards away, and thought is was just plain cool. i fiddled with it for about an hour and think it captured the elusive, "Charliecabra" in his most graceful moment. I felt it had kind of an "old soul" moment to this picture. Click on the picture to the full effect.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Sun has set

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately my trip is no exception. What an relaxing, rejuvenating,and refreshing couple of days. I learned some new things, tried some new tactics, and got to view my brother in law catch his first fish on a dry fly. What a rush of excitement that was. Wind has been a reoccurring theme this week, and today it remained unchanged. I really started to wonder how many days a row any area can have sustained winds of 20 mph? I can now answer that question without hesitation, I just need to leave. For those of you fishing tomorrow, you can expect winds of 5-10 mph, and 65 degree temperatures, sigh. I believe the hatches will be off the charts.
Today's plan had to be altered into fishing some smaller secluded streams surrounded by woods and cover, in hopes of making our casting strokes a little bit smoother. They were, and the fish also cooperated. Most of a our dry fly offerings were ignored, but the emergers hanging off the back fit the bill. It's amazing in a culture of trying to accomplish PURE deadrifts, how just a tiny lift can trigger an instinct and cause them to react, and I'm certainly thankful for it.
I feel lucky to have had such a great week, thanks to all those who participated in it, Kim, Paul, Charlie, Peter, Steve it was one for the books

Friday, April 16, 2010

Brookies and Browns

For a little change of pace I decided to chuck some streamers on a little brook trout feeder this morning before the infamous "Paul Wall" got down the base camp. I had a dozen or so hand sized brookies on a little yellow crystal flash bugger in a couple of hours. We had good cloud cover, but the wind was absolutely horrid again today, averaging sustained wind about 23 mph.

After lunch and Paul's arrival we went to stretch of river that he and I had fished probably bordering on seven years ago. It looked a little different, but some of those memorable holes that held good numbers of fish years ago, still produced like nothing ever changed.. The largest fish of the day was probably bordering 16 or so inches and had a golden brown color, much like I have seen in the northwestern Wisconsin streams.

It understandably took Paul a second to get his casting rhythm back after the dust had settled on his rod over the last couple of seasons. It didn't take long till the old SLT was easily lofting our imitations into the tightly secluded spots of old Mr. Brown. We always have a so many laughs, and a great time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

OLIVE another

We still had the wind, still had the heat, but today we also had a TON of fish! It didn't matter if we were using nymphs, caddis, or OLIVES, we had success after success for the entire outing. Caddis larvae and Scuds definitely outperformed the the other imitations we threw earlier in the day, consisting of a red copper johns and various midge larvae. WE dead drifted riffles, extremely deep holes, runs, and had the same results from these different types of water. It was great to see this water recover a little bit as it was one of the many that were heavily damaged during the great floods of this area 3 short years ago.
After refueling our bodies with the all time classic lunch of PB&j and a granola bar, it was off to an afternoon of dry fly exploration. We had seen good numbers of black caddis coming off. We both put our favorite black caddis imitation on and started to search the windswept water. Even with a good amount of natural bugs on the water, the trout seemed to be ignoring them? It was a little mind boggling.
Kim then said I'M "THROWING ON AN OLIVE", even though we hadn't seen any come off all day long. What happened next was an enigma of the best kind. Fish after fish eagerly inhaled our little parachutes, some even topping the 17 inch mark. All in all it was a fantastic day, spent with a grouse hunting buddy who happens to be one of the best "tactical nymphers" I've ever seen.

To top it off I got a nice wave from an Amish family in their horse and buggy on the way home back to basecamp. It was a good, good day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


83 degrees, yes, 83 degrees in SW Wisconsin on April 14th. My "perspiration bucket" of emotion along with my columbia fishing shirt were quite full. We managed a few fish by searching riseless water with caddis patterns , but were working a new area. While some improvements to this "semi private" stretch looked promising, in my unprofessional opinion it still has a ways to go vegetation wise and total fish numbers wise before I would call it a "sleeper".
The wind was absolutely brutal today, gusting to almost 30 mph, My choice of a 4 weight slow action today was probably a little light for my casting ability. I definitely felt a little under gunned. A "hulk out" was on the verge of occurring after a complete birds nest between two flies, an indicator, and an an AB split shot became 'one". In a new zenlike moment, my cooler head prevailed, I took a deep breath and realized just how lucky i was to be sitting on this bank.

This rock in the picture was just LOADED with mayfly nymphs and caddis larvae, although their a little tough to see. Its my hope all of these guys get ready to emerge and fly in the the next three days!. I plan on updating nightly. Thunderstorms and rain are expected tonight, hopefully they will occur, and dirty up this gin clear water a bit!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nates New Video

Check out this new video shot from my buddy Nate, HE"S GOT SOME MAD SKILLS!

my ONLY question is WHY there are NO chupacabra action shots?

make sure to pause my music on the bottom page
AND if you want to see it in its HD version pause the video on my page, double click on the video while its playing on my bog, it will direct you there

Sunday, April 11, 2010

STEEL and an "Athletic Move"

In this year of unusual things happening to me in the fishing world, I thought I might push my luck just a tad bit further on Sunday and attempt to tackle my "unicorn", the Steelhead, on the fly. I'd all but given up fishing for the "chrome", after experiencing so many frustrating outings over the past 10 years. I thought that I might as well give it one last shot, and boy am I glad I did. Thanks to aid of Nate and Todd, who actually know HOW to grab a steelhead without a net, for helping land my one time impossible dream. Nate described my fish handling ability of a steelhead as merely a "wrangling" of this silver lady.

(PICTURE NUMBER TWO) My comedic performance was SO hilarious from an outsiders point of view, that Nate simply keeled over in laughter after my THIRD attempt to hang onto the is fish. What can i say, excitement and being petrified of losing this fish made my grip a little more "rigid", than it should be, haha.

Not wanting to lose my snapshot with my first " Steely Dan", I pulled a new fishing maneuver known to very few as the "chest bump to shore", all while maintaining the balance and agility of a cow on ice skates, and managing to lose my thermometer, split shot package, and flybox in a single calculated "athletic" movement towards shore. It was a sight to behold, and finally the snapshot was taken. A fantastic new memory was made for sure, on many counts!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Split shot no more!

Having dealt with tungsten shotgun shells and learning a little more about the metal itself , I was a little bit skeptical that this fly would be to heavy for the way I like to fish spring creeks. I figured it might be useful if the waters were practically at flood stage, boy was I wrong. The Tungsten epoxy scud has been a breath of fresh air for me reducing my wind knots and giving me the ability to "GET DOWN" right away in some of the pools that don't have a very long run associated with them. Kim convinced me to give them a try and i am forever grateful. It hits the water with water with a little more "uuummpphhh", but has been a great fly for me this Spring. For you tiers out there, heres the recipe. if you want to listen without the background music I've provided, just go down to the bottom of the page and hit pause.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


It's not the just the music you hear in the background at the moment courtesy of the Electric Light Orchestra, it's the man himself, Mr. Hauer. Mr. Hauer is the creator of BLUE SKY Furled leaders, and responsible for bringing us fly fisherman an unparalleled experience in "superior turnover" of flies all over the world. I've been tipped off that he may be visiting the blog this evening, and just wanted to make sure I thanked him publicly for making such a great product. I added him as a link on the right side of my page, for quick access into the world of the way our ancestors fished, with a modern day twist. Try one for bass, trout, or even "toothy" critters, you wont be sorry you did. As the legend says "Just add tippet".

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time to get organized

ONE WEEK AWAY! From our annual get away for three or four days down to the driftless area of Southwest Wisconsin. Maybe I'm jumping the gun, but i have a very busy remainder of the work week and an equally busy early next week. NO time like the now, plus it's just plain fun.
My brother in law and i have been doing this trip for about three years. We usually catch more laughs than fish, but we get to experience a relaxed time in an area that is far from how most people picture the state Wisconsin. This week will involve LOTS of false casting (to show how well we can cast, haha), lots of lost hook ups, and a patented "hulk out" moment from yours truly after snagging a dead fall immediately after tying up a new tandem nymph rig. Libations and a few burritos from the hippie owned burrito place have become a mainstay for at least two of the nights were temporary residents in coulee country.
A quick check of the weather shows a good chance for rain for the first two days of the trip, so as you can see, the San Juan Worm has made it's April appearance into the the fly box! Hey now, they need love too, it's made of beautiful red velvet!
I plan on giving daily updates each evening after fishing starting Wednesday, so check in, become a follower if you'd like, and please all comments and feedback are welcome!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Elusive "BRONZE" Ruff

WE all know that grouse come in two main color phases, but have a few color offshoots that border on remarkable. This particular bird I harvested two years ago was one of them. I've been chasing these birds for about 25 years, and this one was a color scheme that I haven't witnessed but this one time. I really made a mistake in not getting this bird mounted. The crazy part about it is that the ruff around the neck was exactly the same color, and not the usual black even expected with red phase birds. I guess even in a world of uniformity in the wild kingdom, God makes a few of them that are still special. This bird truly was. I called a DNR and was told this is referred to as a "BRONZE" ruffed Grouse and occur like once in a lifetime per hunter, what a great bird.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

THE End Is Near!

FISH ON TOP? For Me? Yes it's true.
2012. The Mayan calendar. End Times. Snowing in the desert.
We should all gather our loved ones and families and take note that the first sign of the impending Apocalypse has occurred.
Black Caddis Black Caddis Black Caddis
In all serious, for about three hours today, I experienced some of the best dry fly fishing I've ever been associated with in the "driftless" area of Southwest Wisconsin. The day started out slower, but still managing a few fish here and there out of the deeper edges of runs, by way of a olive tungsten scud and a zebra midge.
It was a cooler start temperature wise than Nate and I had imagined , a chilly (and windy) 41 degrees as the sun rose over the hills. The cackle of a rooster pheasant, the gobble from tom turkey, and the girlish scream from me as the first brown trout took my dry fly all echoed throughout the coulees. Life is good, Jesus has risen, and Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

LONGING for Montana

"Where the rainbow ends", is the description that I've heard in terms of describing the Missouri River watershed. With spectacular views and the town folk to match, it truly is a must visit for anyone who loves trout. I'm particularly fond of the area around the town of Craig, with a few great fly shops, and easy access to this amazing tailwater. I'd like to thank Tight Lines Fly Fishing Company in Green Bay, WI (you MUST check out their online flyshop) for first introducing me to this Blue ribbon experience. With rainbows that look like footballs, and Browns that rival the Kracken from Clash of the Titans, a 6 to 7 weight rod is definitely warranted. The first day you spend there, plan on breaking off at least 50% of the fish you hook, their THAT strong, but how rewarding. If you want to plan a trip, look up Josh Steinmetz at Steinmetz outfitters, in my opinion he's the best guide on the river. the Missouri river trout shop can get you in Touch with him, its an experience you soon wont forget, and will leave you longing for the great state of Montana!