Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kinnickinnic River 3/29/14

After failing to catch a trout on unfamiliar water in Northwest Wisconsin on Friday I decided that a good remedy would be to retreat to the waters of the Kinnickinnic River near River Falls Wisconsin.
Go and take a walk down mainstreet of the the town you grew up in and tell me how you feel.  That's pretty much the feeling of comfort and joy I get when I walk the banks of the Kinni.  With the knowledge that getting an early start would greatly increase our chance of success I instructed young Nick to be at my place at 6:00am.
We arrived at the parking lot on FF just as the sun was peaking over the horizon.  By the looks on our faces I could tell that we were ready for this moment as if we had been preparing for it our entire lives.

Half the fun of accessing the Kinni from the FF access point is the walk to the river.  It seems like a mile but it probably measures out at a little less.  
 A sign marks the trail.
 Another sign reminds you that this trail is a, "Foot Trail Only".
 I was so happy that we started our walk while the crust on the snow was still frozen enough to support our weights.  We only broke through a couple of times over the entire trail.  I'm sure this walk would be a nightmare later in the day once the snow softened up.
 Dear Sun, You are my friend as well as my enemy.  You light the way but later in the day you will cause the rivers to chill with the water from freshly melted snow.
 The trail is long but Nick and I are tough.
 These signs are known as "Warning Signs".  It is always good to pay attention to things like "Warning Signs".
I still get excited every time I venture into the canyon.  

Kinni Canyon Place of Wonder
Can't figure out what kind of spell I'm under
You are my favorite river
Please deliver
Fish to my hook as well as my creel
Oh Kinni Canyon how you keep it so real

The next fourteen photos depict the descent as well as the early morning arrival on the banks of the Kinni.  

Upon making it to the river Nick and I wasted no time in getting our fish on.  "Getting our fish on" is urban slang for "Starting to fish".  I have lived in the big city for way too long at this point.

Here is a photo of the first fish of the day.  Nick caught it on, you guessed it, an Olive Wooly Bugger.  We have started calling it an, "Olive" for short.

I decided to try my hand at video production.  Here is a super short video I made.
Nick and I would continue walking downriver.  Nick would go on to catch 14 more browns fishing olive and black wooly buggers on the down and across swing.  My day was spent implementing and all or nothing approach gunning to catch the biggest trout in the river.  I would end up failing miserably but still managed to enjoy my time.

 At one point I noticed this dead crow laying smack dab in the middle of the trail.  Not all warning signs are in the form of words printed on metal and a dead crow on the trail is definitely a bad omen.

 I remembered a nursery rhyme from my youth which would lead me to turn this bad omen into a good one.

Little dead crow sitting on the trail
Epic Fail
Little dead crow perched in a tree
Really good sign for you and for me

White snow generally blankets the Upper Midwest for what seems like 6 months out of the year but it is definitely not the only white you will find.  The Kinni Canyon alone boasts large numbers of Whitetail Deer, White Pine and White Oak as you can see in the photograph below.  
If you look closely you can see that life is already starting to emerge in the canyon.

 I generally don't take too many selfies but this one really shows how good looking I am.

As the first kayaker of the day passed I told him that, "I always take photos of the kayakers", I paused briefly and added, "So I can show my friends who ruined my day!".  I hope he knew I was joking but in truth I only like kayakers when I am the one in the kayak.  It was also good that the fish had completely turned off at that point due to the melted snow cooling the river.
Oh yes the weeping wall is one of the many beautious sights on the Kinni.  It shines brightly in both the summer and the winter time.
 Remembering back to the dead crow on the trail signaling a bad omen I should have known that the day would come to a close running into my cousin Chris.  We had a short conversation about the Steelheading adventures we'll be sharing in the near future.

 I have nothing against people who use worms to fish for trout but one thing I seriously can't stand is those who litter.  I picked this garbage up and disposed of it properly.

Instead on walking back upriver to the car we traveled down the County Road F bridge and and walked the road back to the FF access point parking lot.  We were pretty beat by the end of the day.

The End

Eddie Rivard Fly Fishing is now on Facebook.

New Water in Northwest Wisconsin

On Friday I decided to take an unpaid vacation day and head to a northwest Wisconsin where a river flows that I have been interested in fishing for some time.  As a preemptive strike against the calories that I would be burning this day I decided to try out Taco Bell's new breakfast menu.
 The waffle taco did indeed give me the calories I so desperately was seeking but it will probably be the last one I will ever purchase.  If I am going to have a fast food breakfast I usually prefer the cinnamon and raisin biscuits from Hardee's or the sausage burrito with picante sauce from Mcdonald's.
I was a beautiful day like anything was possible.  Me and Del were singing Little Runaway and even Foxy joined in for a few verses.

Click on this video if you would like to hear Del Shannon sing Little Runaway.  Sing along if you'd like and encourage your dog to join in for a couple verses.

 The day was going perfect.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky until this one cloud showed up essentially ruining what had been a relatively perfect day.  Why does this always have to happen to me.
 The river turned out to be much what I thought it would be like.  Of course there was water flowing from high elevation to lower elevation.  Trees grew along the edges of the river and the bottom consisted of a mix of sand, gravel and rocks.
 I was searching for deeper sections where I figured big Brown Trout were lurking.  I often forget the pitfalls that exist when fishing sections of rivers that I have never fished before.  What looks like a deep hole from afar often ends up being very shallow upon closer inspection.  It is also frustrating when you find yourself walking into a deep hole that looked very shallow a few steps before.  My temples throb with hateful rage when I see large spooked trout scattering in all directions.  The only saving grace of the matter is the knowledge that I can come back to this spot at a later date to exact my revenge.

For a majority of the morning I had this strange feeling like I was being followed when at one point I realized that it was just my own shadow.

I saw many of these little black Stoneflies in two distinct sizes.  I also saw what looked like some kind of Mayfly or Caddis hatching but my attention was mainly focused on catching trout with streamers and I left my entomology book back at the car. 
 I was glad I took a day to enjoy some solitude in the northwoods of Wisconsin.
 The section of the river I chose to explore was very wide and the deep sections were few and far between.  It was no wonder to me why my friend Kyle told me to explore this section when I asked him for advice.  It was obvious that he wanted the prime sections all to himself.  I can't blame him for this because I do the same thing all the time.

 There was actually one point in the day where I saw a tweener sized Brown Trout strike at my streamer.  After he didn't strike again on subsequent casts I knew that I had to change my approach.

I would like to clarify my definition of what a tweener sized Brown Trout is.   It is a trout in the range of 14 to 19 inches.  This size of brown trout is not a true trophy in my book but can still put a nice bend in your rod and a smile on your face.

Oftentimes when changing my approach I feel like I am Macgyver disarming a bomb.  The technical aspect of fishing excites me especially when I am on the water and there is an essence of time in the air.  I want to re-rig as fast as possible but at the same time making sure my knots are tied correctly and my lure selection is right.  It is also good to pour yourself a cup of coffee from the thermos during these times.
 I can even hear the Macgyver theme song playing in my head when I am switching reels and tying on new streamers.  Yes I am pretty much the Macgyver of fly fishing.  Do you want me to sign my name "Eddie" or would you rather I write "Macgyver" when I am autographing your fly box?

 16 pound tippet you ask?  I am as unconventional as I am eccentric.  I have recurring nightmares about being broken off by forty inch Brown Trout.
 You can often tell if someone is awesome or not by looking to see what bumper stickers they have on the back of their vehicle.  I figured the guy who drove the white Durango that was parked next to me must have been named Ross because he had a Ross sticker on his back window.  He must also be into Bigfoot research because I noticed his YETI sticker.  Well a man after my own heart.  I also collected that he had walked downstream from the bridge crossing that I walked upstream from.  He must have known something that I didn't.  
I didn't catch any fish on this day but I have never regretted a day I took off of work to go fishing.  I will definitely be back at some point and perhaps next time I will walk downstream from the bridge.

The End

Eddie Rivard Fly Fishing is now on Facebook.

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