Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Winter Trapfest-2017


Ever since the inception of the Wisconsin early inland trout season in 2016 a Trapfest has been held at the Westby Rod and Gun Club on the banks of the Timber Coulee to commemorate the event.
Trapper was the visionary who first came up with the concept and planning of Trapfest and thus the event carries his name to this day.


In the days leading up to the event the forecast for the area wasn't favorable for fishing.

I wasn't too surprised to see that people decided not to come.  I was looking forward to seeing Weiliwen at Winter Trapfest but I couldn't fault him for deciding not to come.
When Brevitz told me that he wasn't going to make it I was upset but this hardened my resolve to make it down to Trapfest.
You can't add logs to the fire of tradition by not showing up.  I was determined not only to show up at Trapfest but to also catch trout once I got there.  Someone was going to have to fish with Skimmer.

I arrived at the Westby Rod and Gun Club around 8:00pm on Friday evening to find DTA diehards: Trapper, William Schlafer, and Skimmer already in attendance.  The Trapfest tradition was alive and well.  Foxy had accompanied me on this trip and it didn't take long for me to get camp set up.  It was good to be in attendance.
 A little while later these four bearded dudes came walking in to the Rod and Gun Club.  At first I thought they were probably lost but then I found out they were the guys from O'pros
O'pros has taken the fly fishing world by storm recently with the introduction of the Dragonfly Rod Holder.  It was awesome to have them in attendance at Trapfest.
I made it out early Saturday morning.  The sun was just starting to peak over the hill.
 It was so cold that my Green Turd Bugger was fully encased in ice after only a few casts.
 Not all ice is bad though.  This ice was pretty and it somewhat made up for the bitter cold I was enduring.
 And the creek flowed.
 It was good to be out.  The Mad Bomber hat really shines in temperatures below 10 degrees.  If it's warmer than 10 degrees out the hat is almost too hot.
 It was cold.
 But still pretty.
 The ice formed around the rocks in the stream.  It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine.
 The sun was getting higher
I was filled with desire
To go back to the Rod and Gun 
and get warm from the fire.
All light not dimmer
It was time to go 
and wake up Skimmer
 I picked up Skimmer at the Rod and Gun 
It was fun 
He said he was hungry, stomach achin'
We traveled in to town for some french toast and bacon

Thinkin of ideas 
Tryin' to make a plan
Where would I catch the trout?
To prove that I'm a man

I didn't have a plan
Where'd I put my mapper
So that's when I turned to my best friend Trapper.

Trapper spoke up and gave us a location
Having a solid plan filled me with elation

I don't claim to be an expert at fly fishing in the extreme cold.  I did know that we'd have our best chances of catching trout between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm.  

I'm not gonna lie
Because that's when the sun is high in the sky

When we got to Trapper's spot it was covered all in ice
That's when I decided it was time to roll the dice
Skimmer doubted me and thought it was a fable
I turned to Skimmer and told him, "I am able."

Tip top
We made it to the next spot
I dropped my bugger right in slot
A brook trout turned and said he liked it alot

 Next Cast
Fast Blast
Brown Trout
No Gout
 Foxy spoiling
Getting annoying
Back in the car
You little white dog
 Skimmer on the board
First trout of the year
Look at that smile
Cast a country mile
 Rockin' the world 
with his Pink Squirrel
I keep my rod in a holster
All the ladies screamin' for an Eddie Rivard poster.
 After exhausting the second stretch we made our way to another spot that I was confident would hold fish.  It turned out I was right when I quickly landed two smaller Brown Trout on the Green Turd.  A few more casts without a bite and I decided to change flies.  I have always had good luck when switching to streamers that are yellow and heavy.  I found a streamer in my box that fit the bill.  It was a generic looking yellow Woolly Bugger with Tungsten dumbbell eyes that I had tied in the winter of 2014.  It was tied it on a size 2 B10S.

Well most of my attempts at tying flies will never win a beauty contest I stand behind their ability to attract trophy trout.  I am one of the greatest fly tiers of all time.

I tied the bugger on to my line and yelled to Skimmer, "Watch this!".  Skimmer looked in amazement as I cast the bugger with great skill and concentration to the head of the pool.  He watched attentively while I counted out the seven seconds before started to slowly strip the bugger in.  One strip, two strip, three strip, bam!  Just when I knew it would happen I had a strike.  I could tell by the way the rod was wobbling that I had a good hook set and it was probably a trophy class Brook Trout.  "Brevitz is going to be so jealous!" I thought as I scooped that Brookie into my net.
 She wasn't the 16 incher I've been dreaming about for years but she was really close at 15 and 3/4 inches.  I was so happy.
 Soon after landing my trophy we went back to the rod and gun.  Saturday is kid's day at Winter Trapfest and William Schlafer was giving a fly tying demonstration to the next generation.
 I spent some more time talking to my new friends from O'pros as well as the others in attendance.  It was a good time had by all.
Thanks again Trapper!


Monday, January 2, 2017

My Opener


New Year's Day in Southeastern Minnesota marks the beginning of the stream trout catch and release season.  I had to get out even though I knew I had to be done fishing by 11:20AM if I was going to make it to my rescheduled family Christmas in time for dinner at 1:00PM.  Fishing can be tough on winter mornings but whenever I attempt to accomplish something challenging I always tell myself, "Stranger things have happened".

I was already on my stretch of choice when I saw the sun peaking over the horizon.  It was cold out and I was just being reminded about the leak in the right leg of the waders I had on.  I figured it would be a good time to check the temperature of the water.
 2.6 degrees Centigrade.
  • "This is the most common temperature scale in the world and the simplest to understand.
  • Put simply, 0°C is the freezing point of water and 100°C is the boiling point of water.
  • Centigrade is an old fashioned name for Celsius.
  • You can abbreviate it to °C.
  • The scale is named after Swedish scientist Anders Celsius (1701-1744)."-The Internet
That's 36.5 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • "Fahrenheit is still in everyday use in the USA and preferred by older people in the UK.
  • In Fahrenheit the freezing point of water is 32°F and the boiling point is 212°F.
  • You can abbreviate it to °F.
  • The scale is named after its originator Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736)."-The Internet
 I see you admiring my CEN-TECH Infrared Thermometer.  I picked it up at Harbor Freight for five bucks after spending fifty bucks on other stuff.  It was one of those deals where if you spent fifty bucks on other stuff you could get the thermometer for five bucks.  Unlucky for you the deal is no longer going and it is now 26.99 plus tax.  It's nice not having to bend over to take the temperature of the water.
 I read in an article put out by the Minnesota DNR that, "Fish are most active in water temperatures of 38 degrees and above.".  By my calculations I was 1.5 degrees on the side of being S.O.L.



I can't remember if I caught a trout in this spot last summer or not.  I can't remember a lot of things these days.  I wonder when I caught my last trout.

 I was so happy not.  I forced this smile but figured I should take a selfy before putting my camera back in the dry bag.
 I thought it was cool how the rocks seems to be a different color after the little waterfall.  The current was just fast enough after the waterfall to inhibit algae accumulation on the rocks.
 This was the spot where I saw my first two trout of the day.  By now it was getting to be close to 11:00am.  They swam around for a few seconds before hiding from my view.  About fifteen minutes later I actually had a trout follow my streamer for a bit.  It was a small thrill to see that.
It was good to get out for a while on the opener.  I will be fishing again on Friday of this week and am confident that I will catch fish then.  Thank you for reading my latest masterpiece in it's entirety.  You are a true fan.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year In Review: The Lost Episodes


As I sit here in my study beginning to write my last blog post of 2016 the winter winds are howling and my aging Jack Russell Terrier is laying a few feet away from me drifting in and out of consciousness.

Tomorrow at this time I will be standing knee deep in the waters a southern Minnesota stream filling my creel with trout caught on a fly.  While the catch and keep season doesn't officially begin until April 16th, the creel I am referring to is my heart.  Catching a trout on a fly fills my heart with gladness, takes away all my sadness, and eases my troubles that's what is does.


But this post is not one of looking forward it is one of looking back.  2016 saw my blog rise from the 3,764th best fly fishing blog in the world to becoming 2,457th on the list.  I managed this leap by only documenting a little less than half of my outings.

Not every outing is deserving of a write up you see.  And there are times when the outing was so deserving of being documented this writer in all his narcissistic self pity didn't feel he could do it justice by writing about it.  Most of the time I just didn't have the time or decided to spend the time that I would have been writing about fishing actually going fishing again.  I guess you can say I lead a reckless life.


That's what fame will do to a guy.  I didn't expect to become officially famous until 2019 but with excellence comes fame and I never put a brake on achieving supreme excellence and utter domination of the fly fishing world.  

There were many instances over the course of the year where I posted a few pictures that I took to Facebook but they never made it into a blog post.

This photo I took of Foxy standing on an ice shelf is one of them.
I introduced my alter ego Edaliah Winston in 2016.  I have big plans for Edaliah in 2017.  Just wait and see.
Here Toby fishes a nice pool.
 Here's a fish I caught in that pool after Toby was done fishing it.
 I was so happy.
At the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo I tied flies with the Saint Paul Fly Tiers and Fisherman's Club.  Here is member Greg Meyer teaching the next generation how to tie flies.
 And here I am with Joe Schreifels.  Joining the Saint Paul Fly Tiers and Fisherman's Club has been one of the best things I have ever done.  It was fun meeting friends new and old at the Expo.


 I did a lot of exploring in 2016 looking for big brook trout.  I didn't catch one on this particular evening but I always liked this photo.
 Another night and more exploring.
 No fish on this night either.
 A muddy water morning in late June.  You can't really tell from the photo but this usually crystal clear creek had enough color to make fishing tough.  I left that spot to go explore other places.
 While exploring I ended up catching this hard fighting 13 incher in some non-designated water.  I always love catching trout in non designated water.
 I explored that particular creek a few more times during the next few weeks.
 And caught a few more trout.
 The holes in the mud bank are birds nests.
 In early July I took Foxy out for a kayak trip on the Mississippi.  Here we are underneath 694.
 An oldie but a good.
 She loved exploring Islands of Peace park.
 What a night.
 It was cool that morning while I waded underneath the canopy but I could see that the sun had come out and it would end up being a muggy day.
 One day I met up with cousin Chris Rivard and his dad.  It was good to meet Chris's dad.
 That guy can still get around pretty good.
 And he can still catch trout.
 I took my buddy Aaron and his kids on a canoe trip from Bohemian Flats to the mouth of Minnehaha Creek.
 Eddie loves kids and kids love Eddie.
 Cool building.
 Nice place to stop and rest.
 We even managed a bass.
 Getting ready to go through the lock.
 I think Henry was saying, "This is the fourth most awesome thing I have ever done."
 The gates opened up.
 The Ford Dam.  Hopefully this will be removed sometime in my lifetime so I can see all the rapids that it is covering up.
 I took the train back to my car.
 This was the day I got to ride in a Drift Boat down the Saint Croix with fellow Saint Paul Fly Tiers Club members Joe Schreifels and Eric Fast.
 Here is Joe posing by the drift boat.
 I was ready.
 Eric caught a nice hog.
 Some guy wrote a book about Fly-Fishing for Trout in Southeastern Minnesota and in it he mentioned that there was rumored to be a population of Brown Trout in the Credit River.  I took it upon myself to do some investigating.  Pretty place.
 Caught Sunfish.
 Caught Largemouth Bass.
 Caught Sheepshead.  No trout yet but my research is scheduled to resume in the summer of 2017.
One morning Rick and I took our kayaks down the Cannon River.
 It was beautiful but we didn't catch any fish.
 The old mill at Dundas.
 I watched this frog navigate some pretty heavy current for a while before picking him up.  I never realized how agile frogs can be in the current.
 Sunflower from my garden.
A little riffle in Hansen Park close to where I live.  I caught some micro sunfish here.
 Foxy looked on as she was tied to the tree.  I can't have her running away or jumping in the water.
 Mark and I took my Canoe down the Zumbro River.
 Mark caught Pike.
 White Bass.
 I caught a Rock Bass on the Frick's Fix.
 Mooneye.
A Smallmouth on one of my homemade poppers.

I don't know why I never got around to writing a blog post about my 22.5 inch Brown I caught mousing.  I had first spotted her in the daylight a day or two before but couldn't get her to bite then.  When I had her on the line it was like flying a kite in a hurricane.

 So long.
 The Moorish mouse has been my go to mouse pattern.
 The falls on Shingle Creek in North Minneapolis.
 Small Pike from Shingle Creek.
 Underneath Interstate 94 on Shingle Creek.
Close to the confluence with the Mississippi.
Shingle Creek Smallies fight hard.
The Bridge of Dreams baby!


 I fished with Mark again in early August.  Some people think that fly fishermen and spin fisherman can't be friends.  This is simply not true.  Almost half the people I fish with use spinning rods.
 Here is Mark with a nice little trout.
 I caught some bigger trout that day.  The were both 17 inchers.
 I was grateful that Mark was there to take my photo and let me fish some of the choice water.
 Here are some poppers I made and painted.  I still need to dress them though.

Mississippi Sheepshead.
 First Walleye on the fly.

Mark and I made it out fishing again.

 Here is a nice Chub I caught on the White Dungeon.
 A nice Brown for Mark.
 Mushroom on a log.
 Another small trout caught on a streamer.
 Justin really got into trout fishing this summer.  It was fun fishing with him one night.

What a special place.
 Soon it would be dark and there was a long walk back to the car.
 I spent a weekend fishing for trout in the lakes of Northern MN with Phil and his dad Jeff.  This was the group photo from that weekend.
 Phil fishing a pool.
Shannon and I made a couple late season pushes in search of trophy brook trout.
Here is a smaller one I caught.
 And a sucker.
 Pretty view.
 Late season terrestrial action.
Cool snake I found on the road.

 Now that I have a smoker no Trout is safe.
 Another day out with Shannon searching for giant Brook Trout.
 We walked a long ways that day.  This is one of my favorite photos from 2016.
 Shannon got a 16 incher!

 I still can't believe it.  I want this to be me in 2017.
 What a beauty!
 I trekked up north to fish Salmon with Sasquatch.  This was one of my most memorable days of the year.
 It was a beautiful place.
 Sasquatch was a great host.  I look forward to fishing with him again this spring.
 I was on a walk in early November and I happened upon a grasshopper laying her eggs in a crack in the pavement.  It was awesome.

I also caught a few Sturgeon in late November/early December.
 I am lucky to be friends with Brad.  Thanks Brad for taking me out.
 Here's another one.
 On December 24th I accompanied Taylor and Holly out on the Mississippi near Monticello.
 It was fun.
 Taylor is the man.
 The nuclear power plants warm water discharge.
A nice Bass for Taylor.
 2016 was great.

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