Sunday, January 7, 2018


Since January of 2016 the Wisconsin Early Inland Trout season has started on the first Saturday in January.  Also since 2016 Trapper has hosted Winter Trapfest at the Westby Rod and Gun Club in Westby Wisconsin to coincide with the opener.  I always try to make it to Trapfest and this year would be no different.

I contacted Robert to see if he would be fishing with me again this year since we had fished together last year and had great success.  We decided to meet for breakfast in Westby Saturday morning before heading out to fish.

After finishing breakfast it wasn't long before we were on the water.  This stretch was pretty icy and we didn't catch any here but we got all of our kinks worked out before we headed over to the Dream Stream.

 What a lot of ice.  Too bad I left my auger at home.
 The Dream Stream proved to be dreamy when I got this small Brown Trout on my second cast.
 Robert was getting ready.
 This was a pleasant surprise.  I was really impressed with the colors on this one.
 What a beauty!
 Robert got into the game as well.
 Another Brown for the Edman!
 Another Brown for the Robman too.
 An even bigger Brown for the Robman.  We were really on a roll there for a while.
 After we finished fishing we headed down to the Rod and Gun Club.  It was good to see Trapper again.  I am just tickled to be such close personal friends with a true trout fishing icon.
 We had a couple new members to our group this year.  This guy calls himself "Bowl of Mush" on DTA but I forgot was his real name is.
 This is Bowl of Mush's buddy, Snowboard Forever.  I always forget peoples real names but I rarely forget their DTA name.
 Skimmer was looking at his phone while William tied flies.
 Dan checked out a photo album that John Bethke had brought over.  It was good to see Dan again.  I'm going to make a point to try and fish with him this summer.  He seems to get most of my jokes which is a great attribute in my book.
 Here's Trapper's puppy Molly.  I thought it would be cool to get a picture with her now and then another next time I see her so it shows how much she has grown.

On Sunday morning we all went and had breakfast in Westby.  The Sunday morning group breakfast is one of my favorite Trapfest Traditions.  Here is Seth and Dan.  We talked about a lot of things most notably the absence of  Mike Juran.  I guess he had to head out of town for business or something. I think I almost got a little teary eyed when it was time to say goodbye to the fellas.  

Shortly after finishing breakfast and I was back on the stream again.  Here a spring comes out of the ground.  The water is so warm that the plants stay green year round.  I decided to make myself a salad with the stream lettuce.
 What a beautiful place.
 More stream lettuce for my salad.
 There are many secret streams in the Driftless.  This is probably not one of them.  At least not anymore.
 I gazed across the fruited plain.
 Clear, clean and cold.
 Bowl of Mush and Snowboard Forever were fishing away.
 I watch as Bowl of Mush put on a clinic.
 What a dandy!
 I went to check out a new stretch and it wasn't long before I had my first fish of the day.  I was so happy.
 It's always fun to check out new sections of streams.
 There was a lot more water up here than I thought there would be.
 Approaching this corner bend I could tell that it was deep and it probably held a lunker.  The feeling of anticipation I get when I happen upon a place that looks like it has good potential is one of my favorite things about fly fishing for trout.  I formulated a plan on how I would accomplish the Four A's.  Anticipate, Approach, Attack and Achieve.  If you do well at these four things there is no reason why you cannot become a trout fishing champion like myself.

I did end up hooking what was probably about a 14 incher in this bend but it got off and then I got snagged on my next cast and had to walk into the water to retrieve my fly.  Oh well shit happens.
 Looking downriver.
Around 3:30 or so I finished fishing this area and decided to start making my way back to the cities.  Another Trapfest weekend in the books.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Witching Hour

So my last job of the day ended up being in a trouty little town just a little ways east of the Twin Cities.  I was glad that I had the planned ahead and brought my fishing stuff with me.  It was already around 7:30pm but before I could get any fishing in I was going to have to eat something.  Whenever I buy a Five Buck Lunch from Dairy Queen I almost feel guilty.  I can't believe they are making that much money giving me so much food for only five dollars.

As I strung up my rod and put my outfit on I thought about the limited time I had to fish.  They say Eddie Rivard can catch more trout in an hour than most guys can in an entire weekend.  One thing I've noticed is that the less I care about catching fish the more fish I actually end up catching.  It's all about doing things the right way.  I call it the Rivard Way but you can call it whatever you want as long as you keep the words Rivard and Way.

So I've always referred to the last hour of daylight as "The Witching Hour" but upon looking up the actual definition of "Witching Hour" I guess I was a little off.
When I made it down to the creek it looked like it was prime time.  I was pretty confident that I would catch a few.

 Not only was I confident I was also very happy.  After taking 37 selfies I finally took one that was blog worthy.
 Oh dang it was already 8:03pm.  I better get to fishing.
 I cast a Hippy Stomper for a while and had a few weak hits from micro trout before using the last ounce of daylight to tie on a small streamer which I had many bites on and a few brief hookups but failed to land any trout.  I was still pretty sure it was going to happen.  I believe the waving of my rod somehow conjured up a group of bats that were flying in circles around me in the darkness.  I felt like a great wizard.  Perhaps there really is something about this Witching Hour.  It was all going quite well until one of my bats somehow got tangled up in my line.   It wasn't even hooked.  To make matters worse I could hardly see and I hadn't brought a headlamp because I didn't plan on fishing late into the night.  The bat kept trying to swim towards me.  I assumed it thought I was a tree and it probably thought it could escape the water by climbing up on me.  I was not down with this idea.  It was pretty horrible but eventually I was able to get the bat untangled and  I could hear it walking around on the bank.  My line was pretty tangled and the only way I could get it untangled at this point was to cut my streamer off.  Afterwards it was too dark for me to tie anything else on to the end of my line so I decided to call it a night.
 While I was driving home I figured that I probably could have used the light from the LCD display on my camera to tie on a new fly but by then it was too late.  Oh well it was still a fun little adventure.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bug Out Bag

A few years back I was on a date with a woman and after I got done telling her all about myself I finally gave her a chance to speak.  After a while she told me about an ex boyfriend of her's who she described a somewhat of a paranoid type.  She told me about how he insisted that she put together a "Bug Out Bag", so that when the stuff hits the fan they could head for the hills as quick as possible.  I think that was the first time I was introduced to the concept of a "Bug Out Bag" and the whole idea of it has stuck with me for some reason.

Fast forward to this weekend I was a little bummed Friday when I realized that some previous commitments were going to pretty much make it a weekend without trout fishing.  To console myself I made it a point to get out on the Mississippi for a few hours Friday night.  While I don't usually make it a point to name the waters that I fish I am just going to give my readers a little tip here.  The Mississippi River has fish.  Don't ever complain that old Eddie didn't contribute to your vast array of fishing knowledge.  Here is a shot of one of the many Freshwater Drum I caught Friday evening.  Besides that I also caught a couple small Smallmouth Bass.  

So after my volunteer commitment ended on Saturday afternoon I received a call from one of the Nationwide Locksmith Contractors that I occasionally do work for.  They had an emergency lockout that needed to be done down in Red Wing.  One of the things I have always loved about being a locksmith is never really knowing where I will be working or what I will be doing on any given day.  I worked as far away from the Twin Cities as Rochester and Duluth as well as in many hodunk towns in between.  As soon as I knew I was going to Red Wing the little wheels in my brain started churning.  

According to my calculations I  had just enough time to go to Red Wing, complete the job, fish for ninety minutes and still be back in the cities early enough to make it to church on time.

Whenever I think about making it to church on time I always think about this song.  

This is kind of where the whole concept of having a Fly Fishing Bug Out Bag starts to make sense.  It only took about five more minutes for me to have my bag of fly fishing stuff with me when I left for Red Wing.  It's all about being ready at all times because you never really know when an opportunity to fish is going to present itself.

So after completing my job I had to figure out where I was going to fish.  I was pretty close to the Pottery Pond so I did a quick drive by and couldn't really believe how many people were there fishing what looked to be somewhat of a weedy cesspool.  I had another place in mind so I started heading that way and ended up going over Hay Creek as I made my way out of town.  I have a little habit of stopping at every trout stream I drive over and taking a look at the water.  I like to check to see if it looks trouty or not.  As I stared down at Hay Creek I noticed how the water in the river seemed to disappear underneath a bank before shooting out into the main channel again.  This is called and undercut bank and places like this are often home to the kind of trout that guys like me dream about.  I decided that If I fished here I could get in a few more minutes of fishing since I would be doing less driving. 

Back on the subject of river currents and undercut banks for a second.  I've been lucky enough to fish with some of the "best of the best" fisherman around and one thing I've noticed that they all have in common is that they pay just as much if not more attention to how rivers work when fishing as how fish behave in certain situations.  Since I am always trying to up my own game I now spend a lot more time studying things like hydrodynamics and stuff.  This is high level competitive stuff.

I walked down the road a ways before finding a nice little path that led down to the creek.  This is a view looking downstream.
 This is a view looking upstream.  Micro currents going everywhere.  I studied the river like Tom Brady sizes up the defense of opposing teams before making a play.  I am pretty much the Tom Brady of fly fishing.
 Armed with my Winston GVX Select Three weight I started making casts with a hopper/dropper style rig.  Over the course of the next hour I caught two Brook Trout and four Brown Trout.  I was one of those evenings where even though the trout weren't flying out of the water but I was having just enough action to keep things interesting.  This ten inch Brown felt like a giant against my Winston and the 5X tippet I was using.
 The ten incher came out of this run.
 Here's that undercut I was talking about in the beginning of this story. Half the water in the river is actually underneath the bank on the right.  That's where trophy trout like to live.
 Looking downstream I reflected for a moment and was glad I gave this section of river a chance.  I have never really been much of a Hay Creeker but perhaps it deserves a little bit more of my attention.
 Gotta love that slightly stained water.
 I always like to take a moment to check out the graffiti that is found under many bridges.  Some of it is pretty good.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Long Hike

So I made tentative plans to fish on Saturday leaving my options open.  I always enjoy messaging with Shebs at night when we are both dreaming about what the next day lays in store for us.  I can talk for hours about fishing but often have difficulty talking for five minutes about just about anything else.

Usually I make plans to head out before the sun rises but yesterday I had some physical fitness testing at school at 0900 hours which set me back a few hours.  Overall I was pleased with my test results and still felt like I had enough left in me to take on a good long hike.

Oftentimes before venturing into the great unknown I worry about something bad happening and nobody knowing where to look for me.  I sent Brevitz a quick text before I started just so that they would know where to start searching should not show up for dinner.

Shortly after texting Nick I rode my bike down to my starting point and locked it up to a sign post before making my descent into the lush valley.  I was excited to see what the next 4-6 hours lay in store.

I cast my streamer into the deep spot next to the bank.  Numerous trout tried to chase it down until one of the mightiest of them clamped his jaws onto it after which a fight ensued.
After making several wild jumps out of the water during the fight the beast was finally subdued.  This was quite the battle on my 7 and a half foot 4 weight Ross Journey Fly Rod.  "Not a bad start to the day", I thought.
 I continued upstream staying in the creek to avoid tresspassing.  I made a mental reminder to keep the pace up so I could be sure to finish before it got dark.  I had three miles of water to cover.
 I happened upon this sign which meant I could walk the bank for a ways.
 This section was pretty void of fish so I happily frolicked along the bank.
 This little logam riffle complex held a few scurrying fish.
 Approaching this deep bend my heart beat fast because I could tell it was going to be good.
 Besides this trout I pulled about 5 or 6 more out of that bend.  I like to memorize the dot patterns of every trout I catch just in case I ever catch them again it will be like reuniting with an old friend.
 I imagine the whole scenario would go something like this.
I came to this relatively calm bend where I could see trout rising every 15 seconds or so to Caddis.  I simply couldn't help myself so I proceeded to catch 5 or 6 on the dry fly.
So much fun catching fish after fish at will on the dry fly.
By the time I reached this bend the rising had ceased and I figured it was time to test out my latest creation.  I call it the Pink Squirrel Leech.
What a champ the Pink Squirrel Leech turned out to be.
 What a beautiful spot this was.
 And another trout falling victim to the temptations of the Pink Squirrel Leech.
 With a few pinpoint casts a pulled two browns out of this micro cut bank.  If the cast landed too close to the bank I would snag and too far away the fish wouldn't chase.  I am oftentimes impressed with the fly casting skills I have and look forward to the times when I can help others discover the joy of being a fly fishing maven.
 Looking back downstream after a 5 hour long, 3 mile hike with over 30 fish caught.

On my way home I received a call from Micah and Drew.  They were on their way home from a day of fishing and invited me to come to a barbecue at Micah's place.  It was fun way to debrief with friends after a day on the water.  If you still want to read more about fly fishing check out the blog that Micah and his wife Abigail have created.  You can find them at The Driftless Flyer.

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