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.
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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