Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Blog Post That Almost Never Happened

 I figure that if I am to truly revive my blog I should start by writing at least a post for every time I go fishing.  On top of that there should even be times where I make a post even if I just think of a cool thought about fishing.  That being said one of my goals has always been to make a fly fishing blog that people actually enjoy reading.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to churn out blockbuster posts on the reg.  I want my fans to be excited when they see that I have published a new post.  I don't want to produce no "Chicken Soup for the Soul" when I can make "Magnesium Citrate for the Fly Fishing Soul" instead.

Someday I would like to break my personal record of blog views from July of 2016.  This year I will take my blog to new heights.  Who wants to come along for the ride?

It's always been easier to write posts when I have a day filled with the spoils of battle.  I don't have to dig as deep for jokes if I can just cobble together a few photos of trophy fish, a couple nice scenery shots, a selfie or two and some sarcasm.  Who wouldn't want to enjoy a post like that?

As I snapped a photo of my dad throwing on his fly fishing vest I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool to have a blog post titled, "The Village Bicycle" being that pretty much everyone has fished this spot a time or two.
  I looked at the Goldilocks bugger that has been tied on the end of my line since the last time I fished this rod two weeks ago and thought,"I should make a post titled Goldilocks and the Three Trout.  Now all I have to do is catch three trout.".  That dream died when I lost my Goldilocks Bugger to a snag on my first cast of the day.

I think this was a Raccoon at some point but it was hard to tell.  I wondered if he drowned while being swept away in the flood or if the high waters had picked him off the forest floor and deposited him in this tree.

The cold January air did little to dampen the odoriferous emanation.   Oo oo that smell.

I suppose I could write a post titled Nature's Way.  

Dad walked back to the van after we swung and missed at another spot.

We eventually hit another trusted stretch where dad managed to catch an eleven inch Brown Trout using a small Olive Woolly Bugger.

I ended the day with zero fish to hand but I still had fun. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Boyz 2 Men

Last Wednesday, January 9th, I made it out fishing with my buddy Justin.  Like all great adventures this one started out with a plan.

When we planned on fishing the week before I thought that the January heat wave we've been having would still be in full effect.  Unfortunately the cold returned on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.  
 I spent some time thinking about what creek we would try to fish on Wednesday.  I settled on a small Brook Trout creek with some good spring influence that flowed down an eastern slope.  I figured the morning sun would have time to warm the water all morning and then shine on us the whole time we fished.

Over the course of the last couple years I really pay attention to small details when choosing where I will fish on any given day.  I feel that it's one of the great benefits that comes from years of experience.

The creek had some pretty good ice when we arrived sometime between 10 and 11 am.  So much ice that it was pretty much unfishable.  I remembered that there was some springs located upstream and suggested that we fish closer to the springs where the water flows out of the ground at 54 degrees.

 Justin surveyed the stream upon our arrival.

The upstream section was free of ice so we began to fish.
I started out with a size 12 Czech Nymph.  I like it because it gets deep in a hurry and I could see the fish hanging out on the bottom of the deeper holes. 

It wasn't long before I was on the board. 

Damn I'm good.

At first my hands were really cold but after a while of catching fish after fish I started to warm up and forget about the cold.  I love it when that happens.

 I was so happy.

So much life on the stream bed all throughout the winter.

Justin was having fun and catching fish too.  He was using a two nymph rig.

Often time I just sit back and watch Justin fish.  His casts are very graceful.
 Another Brookie for the Justinater.
 Justin caught this bad boy using a size 10 streamer.  It even had a little bit of a kype.
 We walked upstream past where the springs were and started to notice some ice again.  Time to turn around and call it a day.

On the way home we stopped at DQ and we each ordered a large soft serve cone.  

Sunday, January 6, 2019


As I stepped into the creek I noticed a block of ice on the opposite bank.  Even though I knew it was a block of ice I asked myself, "What is it? Why is it there?"  I pondered for several minutes what kind of conditions would have had to have existed here in the last month or so for a block of ice that big to be that high up on the bank.

 I looked at myself and asked, "Who am I? Why am I here?".  The answer was clear.  My name is Eddie Rivard and I am here to try and catch some trout.  If that goes well I will commemorate the experience by writing a blog post noting every detail.
 I've been here before but never in the wintertime.  This stream is straddled by private property on which I have not been granted permission to access.  The law says that I can go wherever I want as long as I keep my feet wet.  To make matters worse this stream has long sections with knee deep muck that make wading a pain.  I brought my 8.5 foot kayak along to make floating over these sections a breeze.  This is what my my kayak looks like.
Access barriers like the ones I described in the previous paragraph are things that I embrace because they generally keep other more timid anglers out which gives me full reign to exploit the resource as I see fit.

I've been here a few times before but never in the winter.  I had many streams to choose from but the proverbial dowsing rod in my mind eventually led me to choose this as my fishing spot for the day.  I was armed with my 5 weight that I had pre-rigged with a size 18 Pheasant Tail Nymph before leaving my house.   I eventually added a midge dropper but they first three runs I fished resulted in zero takers.  I was fine with that because I wasn't here to fish the runs.  I had probably lost a few minutes of sleep the night before pondering the propensity of the trout the existed in deeper holes on this stream during the winter months in which they are primarily referred to as wintering holes.  Big trout will generally migrate to the headwaters sections of streams in the fall to spawn and then they will remain in the nearby deeper holes during the winter before dispersing throughout the system in late spring.  Anybody that's read Preston Sealon's paper on, " The Dynamics of Stream Trout Migrations through the Seasons in the Driftless", knows this as fact.
When I finally made it to one of my dream holes my heart beat with anticipation.  I was delighted to see sporadic rises and although I couldn't see the fish the sound the rise made was louder than usual.  My third cast with the nymph rig resulted in what felt like a snag and when I gave it a light tug the line quickly snapped.  I couldn't tell if I had snapped the 5x tippet with my strength or if a larger fish had bolted the second it felt resistance.  
 I rearmed with a section of 3x tippet and a small pine squirrel leech streamer.
I had some nibbles while stripping it in on the first cast and on the second cast I hooked a fairly nice Brown Trout.

 I took two pictures of him since he was my first fish of the year.  And after two summers where I have been pursuing Musky with the fly rod catching a fish is something that I no longer take for granted.  There is definitely something magical in every wiggle that a fish puts in your rod.
 I cast a few more times and was teased with several more nibbles and missed strikes.  At the end of one retrieve I saw four trout chasing after my streamer turn around.  I let my streamer sink more on the next cast and adjusted the length of my strips to be shorter and then bam!  I knew it was a bigger fish but didn't know how big it was until I saw it in the water ten feet away when I could clearly see that it was a 19 incher.  I would later confirm this measurement with the rod rule.
 Boom shaka laka.  I love it when my dreams come true.
I caught several more fish in that pool afterwards.  There was about twenty minutes of action that rivaled some of the other times when I have had lights out fishing during my life.
 I eventually decided that my arms needed a rest from pulling in so many trout so I began to walk and paddle upstream again.  When I am not sitting in my kayak I attach it to my belt with a strap system.
 There was quite a bit of green vegetation on the stream bed.
 In this run I could see a multitude of tiny trout rising after midges that were coming off the water.  They were not interested in my streamer so i moved on to the next big wintering hole.
 This one was somewhere in 15 to 17 inch range although I never measured it.
 Selfy time.  You can see more of those small icebergs in the background of this shot.  They still kind of weird me out.  I wish I could have been there to see the event that left them there.
 Another dandy trout for the Ed Man.  This one was on a GoldiLocks Bugger that I started using after I lost my leech to a snag.

 Mystic Pool of Emerald Green
I look into you and start to dream
What big trout lurk on your bottom?
How many men wish they had caught em?
Thank you for keeping them just for me.
The E to the D and the D I E
 A beaver had been here chewing on this log.
 Another mystery chunk.
 Rope Swing, Rope Swing
Hanging from a tree
Oh how I'd like to swing from thee
 Paddling back to the van.
 A flock of mallards flew overhead.
 Mallards in the Sky
Ducks Flying High
Quack, Quack, Quack
Quack, Quack, Quack

Monday, April 23, 2018

Third Weekend of April

I recently started a new job which is strictly Monday through Friday from 7am-3pm for now which is kind of a weird thing for me after being a self employed locksmith for the last 18 years.  Finally I get to know what is like to have Friday afternoon roll around and have zero obligations for the next two days.

As much as I was pumped for the what the weekend had in store I hadn't bothered making any plans.  I had already ruled out fishing figuring that all the rivers within a two hours drive would be swollen with ice cold muddy water from freshly melted snow.  Not exactly the recipe for the world class fishing I've grown accustomed to.

It's amazing how fast all negative thoughts diminish when you start texting back and forth with one of your best friends and fishing buddies.  When Eddie Rivard and Taylor Spraungel start making a plan all the positive forces in the universe seem to come out and play.

Taylor arrived at my house shortly after 6:30 which worked out great because I was just getting to the point where I was ready to leave.  Once we got on the road I gave him my opinion on where we could start knowing that if option one didn't work out there would be several decent backup plans within a short drive.  It still felt like a major roll of the dice but I felt like we had dumb luck on our side and sometimes that's all you need to have a good time.

Before we made it to the stretch we planned to fish we stopped at a bridge and looked down at the creek.  It had the most perfect stain I had ever seen.  I smiled as we were gearing up and Taylor smiled too.  I don't know if we were happy because in our minds we were licking our proverbial fishing chops or because we were having so much fun trading insults with each other.
 At the beginning of our adventure we decided to split up.  Taylor started fishing closer to the truck and I ran further downstream with the plan of working my way back up to where he was.

In all my years of dominating the sport of fly fishing there has only been a few instances where I managed to catch a fish on my very first cast of the day.  This was one of those days.
 It was nice to see some greenery already fighting it's way out of the frozen tundra.
 Eventually I caught up to Taylor.  He reported catching a trout on his first cast as well.  Talk about awesome.
 I was so happy.

Taylor and I experienced pretty good fishing for about two hours and then our luck started writing checks that our skills couldn't cash.  The stream started getting muddier and we knew it was time to bail.  As we made our way back to the cities we stopped and looked at several other creeks and every one was flowing high and muddy.  In the end you just had to laugh.  I never thought I'd catch a fish all weekend and I ended up catching several of them all while spending the day with one of my best buds.

One day back in 2004 I received a call from my good friend Luke.  He basically came out and asked me, "Hey do you want a dog?".  Growing up with a great dog I always figured that someday when I had a house I would probably end up getting a dog.  I told Luke that I would take the dog on the condition that there would be a one week trial and at the end of the week I could return the dog if I didn't feel it was going to work out.  Within a day or two he drove Foxy down from Duluth to my house in Lauderdale.  I remember seeing this little white bolt of lightening jump out of Luke's car.  Little did I know at the time but I had just met my best little friend.

We had many great years together, had a lot of great memories and went on many adventures together.  Here are a few photos.

Sunday April 22nd, 2018 was Foxy's last day.  She will be greatly missed by all those whose hearts she touched.

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