Fly Quest year in review 2015

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What a great season, the best to date! All possible because of the wonderful clients of Fly Quest, Wildwood Float Trips, and Kinni Creek Outfitters.  Thank you!  Also, shout outs to the crew over at The Fly Angler and Robert at Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop for the referrals this season, Thanks!

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Typical of most years, I started the year out teaching beginner and intermediate fly fishing classes through Kinni Creek Outfitters and Anoka-Hennepin Community Education.  It is always fun introducing people to the sport that brings me so much joy and satisfaction.

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After my year of teaching middle school ends my Driftboat guiding moves into full-swing.  This was the year of Multiple 20″ ers in a day.  A client from Texas was the first to experience 3 in one day and two of those were on Topwater.  It was an amazing day.

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Wildwood’s Smallmouth Trip From Hell did not live up to it’s name but the highlights were numerous for me and started with the biggest muskie to be landed in my boat to date in Ralph’s 52″ fly caught june river muskie. Later Ralph the landed the smallmouth of the day between the three boats.

The second day found us on a different river, where my clients from D.C. had a fabulous day that ended with multiple 20″ers on topwater.

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The third day found us on our 3rd different river of the trip.  Ralph was back in the boat and in true form stuck a pig of a smallmouth in some fast water on a minnow pattern.

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The fourth and final day brought Stan and Joe to my boat on our 4th river of the trip from hell.  We were treated to a beautiful day and many smallmouth.  The most memorable moment of the day was a cast made very tight to shore, that came tight immediately.  Joe set the hook and it looked snagged as nothing moved.  The boulder garden made it not possible to get any closer so I jumped out.  Put my hand on a moss covered rock and followed the line down.  I couldn’t see the fly so I pulled up on the line and it gave a little.  Felt like a stick wedged under a rock so I steadily pulled when suddenly the huge boulder I had rested my hand on floated to the surface.  A Snapper.  I jumped back so fast as I wasn’t entirely sure where the business end was.  I quickly realized the snapper took the popper in his mouth.  We used the net to help hold the snapper but he was too big.  I got in a position and we let him loose.  This was the second snapper I have ever landed on topwater but for Stan and Joe they caught another two days before. We laughed and regrouped.  The Trip from Hell never seems to disappoint from the fishing to the other events that fill our memories.

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What a great way to start my summer, which was also kicked off by moving and replacing my ran to the ground black GMC Jimmy with a newer GMC Yukon XL (a welcomed change in pace for our now larger family of 5 and 90 lb. yellow lab Henry).  After the trip from hell the rest of June and much of July was very fun including some very nice fish and a first musky on the fly.

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August brought our first Monarch Road Trip as we headed off to the Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills.  We had a great time with many highlights but two of my favorites began with the kids trading flies around the campfire in anticipation of the fishing we were going to do.  The guys at Dakota Angler and Outfitters set the boys up with their first fly boxes on lanyard and a dozen or so flies.  A Dad couldn’t be happier with the enthusiasm they had to pick out their own but also to show each other their choices later around the fire.  We camped on a little lake not far from Mount Rushmore, where I had camped with my family when I was a boy.

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After a few days here we headed north to the Spearfish area of the Black Hills.  We ended up camping at a little campground called Hanna Campground and was situated on the banks of a tiny gem locals call Hanna creek but is actually East Spearfish Creek.  We caught some fish close to camp.  After dinner Melissa gave me the go ahead for about 45 minutes of alone time. I was able to hook and land 9 or so trout before I couldn’t see very well so I headed back. .I don’t often keep trout but did on this occasion I needed to clean the fish in the dark. The kids slept in to the melodies of the stream yards from the tent.  We had trout for breakfast.  The kids ate it all up marking the end of our Black Hills adventure.  I am looking forward to future trips with my family.

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The rest of August brought some more superb fishing.

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September sent me back to the classroom and to dream about the waters I floated.  Excited to bring Trout in the Classroom to my room Thank You to Minnesota Trout Unlimited and it’s partners.  My boys and I got out for an afternoon on the Mississippi where the two were casting and catching all on their own.  It goes without saying that I am looking forward to next summer, however I don’t want it to get here too soon.  The years already seem to fly by.  Thank you to all of my supporters, especially my wife and family members!  Looking forward to a memorable 2016.

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A Trip to Discovery Lake Lodge and Outposts.

Discovery Lake LodgeThis adventure at Discovery Lake Lodge and Outposts  started sometime in the fall when I was invited to join my Dad and brother in-law Chris Hasling for the trip.  Chris had won the trip for two in a raffle at St. Joe’s Church, a memorial to Paul’s Dad.  We met Paul and Cheryl at the St. Paul Sports Show.  I was figuring this would be an interesting adventure based on first impressions.  The ride up was confirming my thoughts, the directions were correct and off at the same time, 13 miles from Souix Lookout (closer to 20, the off part) and 7.5 miles from Kirk Lake Road which was about the 13 mile mark.  You find a small yellow sign marking your way down a 2 mile drive.  You see the buildings and are immediately impressed.  Later you find out the Paul and Cheryl have built each of these one building at a time over the last 22 years.  By building, I mean including the millwork of almost all of the materials found in the cabins.  These two are a very hard working and caring couple.  Paul may have a strong personality but his heart, dreams, and passion shine through.

All packed and ready to goTurns out Chris couldn’t make it.  I know he missed the cooking my Dad and I put together for the week.  Maybe next time Chris.  Thank you for the opportunity to go fishing for a week with the most influential man of my life!

Storms rolling into Northern Minnesota

July 4, 2014 (Departure Day)It took a bit of effort to leave, the original 12:30 departure turned into 5 pm before we knew it.   Thankfully I had already reserved a room for us at the Tee Pee Motel in International Falls so we didn’t have to worry about where we were going to stay or how late we were going to get there.  I was looking forward to seeing fireworks on the way up as a bonus to running late.  Unfortunately the rain put off most viewing opportunities and we made good time to International Falls.  The Tee Pee Motel was a decent stay, especially including the price.

Leaving the U.S. in International Falls

July 5, 2014

We woke up and showered to hit the road.  We decided to checkout The Coffee Landing Cafe for breakfast.  The cafe is just off 3rd in a corner building.  I was looking forward to a denver omlete or something similar.  Scanning the menu, I didn’t see the traditional omletes, but was intrigued by several and decided on the Wild Rice Omlete which included peppers, onions, mushrooms, parmasean cheese, and wild rice with some toast.  Dad ordered the same and we were both impressed.  After doing our produce shopping we headed for the border.  After being welcomed to Canada we were on our way to Sioux Lookout.  One thing I did not expect about Canada is that at least in this part there was nothing or very little between towns as far as people and their things. After 4 hours we were in Sioux Lookout getting our Ontario Fishing License at Al’s Sports.  After arriving at Discovery Lake Lodge it started to rain so Dad and I settled in for a bit.  Eventually the rain stopped and the sun peaked through the clouds.

Dad with a nice walleye

Dad and I went out for a couple hours.  Paul said to go to a spot on the map and you will catch some walleyes.  It didn’t take long and we were into them.  We kept 5 the first night between 14 and 17 inches, pan frying them for dinner.  We love to eat fish, no side dishes needed.

July 6th, 2014

We ate one of my favorites Dad’s Breakfast Burritos for breakfast and headed out to Bawden Lake again.  We caught a few walleyes and had 3 for lunch, I whipped up some fish tacos.  I still have to get the pic from Dad.  We went to try for some pike and smallmouth.  Being a fly fisherman I was really looking forward to catching some smallies on the fly.  The shoreline looked awesome with varying rocks, logs, and vegetation.  I caught two all week.  Turns out all smallies have a death wish so they are not allowed to take over the lake.  We didn’t know that at the time so we let those two go.  As we pulled up the submerged rock and grass island Dad hooked the nice pike below.

Dad's 35" NorthernAs you can see in the background rain was moving in so after releasing the pike and the second smallie we headed in for lunch.  We ate and took a nap since it was downpouring.  About 4 the skies mostly cleared and we went out for another couple hours of constant walleye action.  We brought 6 home for dinner or lunch the next day.  The mosquitos were intense and it was getting late so we decided on italian sausage and pasta for dinner.

Second Night's Catch

July 7th, 2014

We decided to go to Zarn, a large, deep lake containing lake trout and pike.  Dad and I have never really targeted lake trout so we gave it our best shot.

Morning ascending fog on creek to Zarn

As I was rigging our trolling setups, dad was bored so he thought he would give the jigging rap a try.  Shortly after I saw a big flash but the fish missed.  A few minutes later Dad yells there he is and poof the rap was gone as if the braid were cut with a scissors.  I was finally done so we head for some structure and ledge.  We trolled around for a bit trying to figure it out.  Dad got snagged and we lost one setup so I tied on a DT-20 Rapala and we headed to the north.  After marking a fish or two Dad got one to the boat.  Our first Lake Trout.

Dad's first Lake TroutWe continued on finding a group where I had one to the boat, dad lost one, and I missed another.  We trolled some more but I was no longer marking the fish we were seeing before so we headed back for lunch.  It was drizzling so we went into town for more lake trout supplies, turned out I forgot an entire tackle box at home so we did not have any of my spinning tackle.  After picking up more 1/4 ounce jigs for walleyes, some large 1 ounce jigs for lakers, a few spoons, and some more weight we headed back to Discovery Lake.

Upon arriving back at camp Paul informed us that he and a friend would take us out Lake Trout fishing in the morning.  We went out to Bawden for the evening.  This was our toughest night for walleyes we caught two keepers and only a handful of others.  The wind was the opposite as it had been and with the thunderheads rolling through we didn’t want to venture too far.  Good thing too, we heard it coming, a heavy downpour continued for awhile after we had cleaned the fish and cooked them up. We played some cribbage and had a few drinks.  I enjoyed sipping on Kinnickinnic Whiskey from Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee all week.  Thank you Tony Stifter for bringing your bottle to the tying night, inspired me to pick one up for the trip! Hy-Top liquors in Columbia Heights has a large selection of liquors which was news to me.

July 8th

We headed out once Terry got there.  They asked who wanted to go with who.  I knew Dad would have more fun jigging so I let him go with Paul.  I went with Terry who had two pool cues and wire for his rigs.  I decided to use my rod even with the large 7 oz weights used to get us down in the 50-70 ft of water.  It took us a bit to get our first.  Dad and Paul had caught 5 or six on jigs by then.  I told Terry we had caught a few over by the islands and he didn’t want to go there so we trolled around his spot for an hour or so.  Finally, I convinced him we should go up there.  We had 4 fish rather quickly.  He looked at me as if to say I am done if you are.  I said lets make a quick turn and head back to the island one more time.  Shortly into the run, I felt a peck.  Then again peck, peck. And another nibble, peck, nibble.  Then THWAP a big hit and I was into a big lake trout.  Terry was smiling, saying “I like the way your rod bends compared to my broomsticks.”  After a thumping fight the fish came to net.  A massive 32# lake trout.  My heart was racing.  I gave Terry my camera, he didn’t realize his fingers were in the finder and I didn’t see it with the adrenaline flowing.  Thankfully the picks turned out.

Me with a 32" Super Tanker Laker Say CheeseWith that we called it a day (less than 2 hours) of fishing and went back to the lodge.  Thank you Paul and Terry for showing us more ways to fish for Lakers!

Bawden Lake

Later in the day after a much needed nap and lunch we went back to Bawden Lake for more walleyes and pike.  I cast the popper trying to get some smallmouth but could not find them.  I probably caught 100 small northerns during the week on the popper.  They would engulf the large 2/0 cork poppers, it did start to get annoying since I was hoping to get one of the large smallmouth that should be haunting the shores.  We decided to go catch some walleyes and we did.  Sorting through we got our limit to take home.

Our catch to bring home.July 9th, 2014

We headed to Zarn and were planning to go to Jorrick, a short portage from Zarn containing some large walleyes.  Unfortunately there was not much gas for us to make the long run after fishing for lakers.  We put on the large jigs and frozen minnows.  I watched the electronics trying to figure it out.  After a bit, I said that has to be a fish Dad.  A smack, Dad landed the first.  We moved around I was able to watch my jig drop down in 50 feet of water and see the fish rise to and snatch up my falling lure.  It was pretty fun and we caught several more fish and missed some too.

Painted Turtle

Again, a much needed nap.  We woke up and headed out to Bawden.  We fueled up and headed to Star where we saw a young moose eating.  We had seen a moose the night before as well.  We missed seeing the big one up close.  After the tour we began fishing near the first point from the channel to Star.  We began catching fish.  Everywhere we went we were catch walleyes.  Tonight all were going back as we already had our limit packaged and frozen.  We caught fish from 12 to 24 inches, most were 16-18.  Feeling good we headed home to put the steaks on the grill.  Veggies in the saute pan.  The last of the whiskey in the glass.  Dad’s last chance to catch me in our cribbage series, he was not successful.

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Having had such a good time and needing to mow the lawn at our own cabin we decided to leave a day early and break up our drive.

July 10th, 2014

We left around 8 am and were in Grand Marais around 2pm.  We put some gas in the truck, debated if we should get bait, and grabbed some DQ.  Town was hopping with people, we were glad to be heading up the trail.  We mowed the lawn, moved the concrete bags, and decided we could go fishing.  I quickly drove to Gunflint Lodge to the boat house and picked up some leeches.  I usually go to Ugly Baby Bait but Dad said Gunflint was closer.  Anyways, we had the boat in the water and were fishing again.  It took moving a few spots but we did get some fish including two 19″ers that were very thick and dark compared to the 19″ers from Canada we let them go.  We try to let most fish over 19 go to reproduce and I feel like it is paying off as we have been catching more young fish.  When we first came up here I think the smallest walleye was 15 inches we had caught.  Feeling accomplished we called it a night, it was beautiful out.  Scattered clouds, no wind, and a setting sun.  My bed at the cabin was a welcomed comfort.  The cots at Discovery were probably the only downfall.  I eventually used two mattresses and that seemed to work just fine.

July 11th, 2014

We left the cabin and headed home as I had a guide trip on Saturday and Dad was going to visit Uncle Mark and Aunt Robin with Mom.  I made it home in time for dinner with my family.

I look forward to when I can take my family up to Discovery Lake Lodge.

Fishing Update…..The Water is TOO Wet

This spring and summer have been a roller-coaster of  waterways being unfishable and fishable, mostly unfishable.  I have gotten several people out for trout and the drift boat has been in the water as well.

The latest trout trip on Thursday night found me with two National Guards in from Reno for some training and testing.  We hit the water about 4 with hardly a person around.  Caddis and light colored mayflies of different sizes were coming off but no risers.  The guys fished hard, each catching some trout.  On this day they were hitting a size 14 tungsten prince nymph pretty well.

Yesterday found me on the water in my drift boat.  After getting a friend to give me a shuttle we shoved off for a great day of fishing.

We found fish on poppers, minnow fly patterns, and other lures as well.  Fish were tight to the edges with the higher flows we are experiencing right now.  Levels are dropping but we need these 2-4 inch rains to stop.  Rain is good but spread it out. The young man wanted to try rowing and after a few tries he was able to position the boat enough to allow me get a few casts in.

My little brother is getting married this weekend so taking some time off from guiding but will be back on it come Monday morning through Saturday.

Been a long time……and a busy year.

I have been putting updating my blog off for awhile now and finally getting around to it.  Life has been full of blessings.  Over a year ago I became a Dad for the 3rd time to a little girl.  She is a great addition to our family.  Life has been hectic as I also started teaching science full-time in the fall at Murray Middle School in the Saint Paul Public Schools.

Wow, a lot has happened since my last update.  The rest of summer and fall 2013 went well.  Completing my 3rd full season with 45 trips, a little under my goal of 55 but I had taken a EngrTEAMS curriculum writing professional development in June/July and underwent surgery for an abdominal hernia I had for years but finally got to where I couldn’t put it back in.

The curriculum I will be publishing with a group from the University of Minnesota Stem Center and a fellow Saint Paul Science Teacher.  We both teach 7th grade life science so that is where we focused.  Our problem was what is causing the Minnesota Moose population to loose over 50% in less than 5 years and what can we do about it.  I enjoyed working with my team for my first official curriculum unit.  I have a special appreciation for moose from the time spent up North as a child and now into adulthood.  We don’t see as many moose near our cabin as we did in the past.  Hopefully the harsh winters and late springs will put a hurt on those “winter ticks”.

Teaching has been challenging and enjoyable, everything I was looking forward to and more.  I learned a lot during my first year as a full-time teacher, including communicate with families and there are not enough hours in a day.  I have a great science department around me to answer my questions, to which I have many.  I am looking forward to starting up again in the fall.  I am investigating Trout in the Classroom (www.troutintheclassroom.org/ )and will be contacting Twin Cities Trout Unlimited to see if we can get something together.

Stay tuned to for more fishing updates and more.  Until next time,  Enjoy life, love those around you, and do what you can to make Earth a better place to live!

Upper Mississippi River Shaping Up

 

Monday allowed me sometime to do a little solo adventure in the drift boat.  I made a modified deck to put my bow mount trolling motor on.  I have used this several times before but monday was the first day I got to try out my newest modification, a skag (I think that is what you call it).  Basically some plywood mounted to my anchor arm at the back of the boat.  This really improved my boats tracking when using the trolling motor.  I was able to fish fairly well with the auto pilot on with only minor corrections needed.  Things were looking great as I headed up river and noticed my trolling motor would seperate from the mount when I turned it to the right.  I dropped the anchor and removed the trolling motor for a quick look on the water.  Turns out only 1 bolt with maybe three thread turns was holding the motor to the quick release.  Thankful I noticed that before my trolling motor took a dip or bounced off my trailered boat.  Once I got fishing I only moved fish on Minnow Patterns.  Tried to force feed a large popper to no response.  It was a short outing but a good one.

On Wednesday, I took out Wildwood Float Trip client and his nephew for an afterwork special.  The afterwork special is basically that, not a half-day.  Whatever time you get until the sun goes down and we pull the boat ashore.  The guys wanted to try the fly rod.  I helped the nephew review how to cast a bit as he was just learning after a little instruction he was getting it (Still needs a lot of practice but then again who doesn’t). They both fished the first stretch and we didn’t move a fish and they were  tired.  Out came the spinning gear.  The newphew caught his first smallmouth ever a bright 15.75″.  He followed that up with a 17.75″ that pounded his lure just off the bank.

His uncle had seen enough.  It was his turn now, I had just tied on a topwater lure and within a few casts he caught his first fish of the day.  The fish charged out from the bank a good 4 feet to crush the lure.  After measuring the fish, which turned out to be the fish of the day 18.25″ we continued down river.  A few cast later the uncle hooked the smallest fish of the day about a 5 incher.  It wasn’t long after this that the shadows got long and finally over took the river before we beached the boat on shore and called it a night.

Tricos Beware!

Tuesday Morning came with a nice cold front.  I met my Kinni Creek Outifitters client at 6:30am.  We still decided to wet wade even with the slight chill in the air.  I figured the Tricos would be late arrivals and the hatch would last awhile.  I was right bugs didn’t start popping until after 8 and continued until 9:30ish.  The pic of the trico cloud was after the fish stopped rising.  We waited for the fall and rising fish to no avail.  I think the high sun push the fish deep.  The river was boiling while it lasted.  After that we caught fish on nymphs in faster water.

Tricos on Rush River July 2013

 

Trout and Smallmouth 7/11-7/13

Thursday afternoon I headed East on I-94 to meet some clients for an evening of fishing on the Rush River.  We found fish sipping bugs and sporadically crushing caddis as they fluttered by.  There was a group of sipping trout in some very soft water, fishing was technical and several heart-pounding refusals from good fish were encountered.    We moved into some faster water as the risers seemed to stop.  We could see fish feeding actively in several places in the riffle.  It wasn’t long before my client was hooked up with a good fish.  This is where I made a mistake out of some character for me.  The fish was looking tired and I wanted to land it but the communication was  breaking down.  I had my net in my right hand, reach out with my left and just touched the line.  The fish shouldered and pop, tippet broke and my heart sunk knowing my mistake.  I don’t remember the last time I had done that.  I was pretty upset with myself.  We re-rigged and fished a few more times through with a hit or two but no hook ups.  I started to notice light-colored mayflies coming off and soon the water was boiling with rising trout.  It took a few patterns to nail it down.  We experienced some of the best dry fly fishing to a hatch I have had this season.  It was getting dark and the fly was impossible to see.  I had a hard time leaving the dry fly action but it was time to end our day.

Friday found me on the Upper Mississippi for a two-boat fathers and sons trip with Wildwood Float Trips.  We enjoyed the hot day (to me), a reprieve to the guys from Oklahoma and Texas.  We started out with each father fishing with their son.  First cast and the other boat was hooked up with a fish.  I typically find it to be a bad oman when you catch a fish in the first 20 minutes.  Our boat had landed our first fish 10 or 15 minutes later.  Followed by a couple more and a rock bass.  It was time for lunch.  I don’t do a fancy lunch but focus on one that is full-filling.  After lunch the Dads fished together in my boat.  We had a great day landing close to 30 smallmouth, a pike or two, and 2 walleyes over 20″.    The best part was when the two went back to back with 18.5″ smallmouth.  Correction the best part actually came near trips end, the boys had mostly been done fishing but decided to give it one last try.  I had rowed over so the Dads could get a closer look and cheer the guys on.  Within a few casts one of the sons caught the last fish of the trip.  It was a pretty cool moment to see the pride these two fathers had for their sons.  Rowing the two newly teenage boys was a pleasure. It has been a long-time since I met two boys as respectful, polite, and into fishing as these two.  I am looking forward to our next time on the water together.

 

Saturday found me with a pair of Wildwood Float Trips anglers.  We started the day with a fish on the 6th cast from the back of the boat on a murdich minnow.  I typically find this to be a terrible oman, which it was.  The guys worked very hard for the fish we got.  There was one flurry where fish seemed to be crawling out of the woodwork.  Turned out it was just the hour glimpse of the sun trying to burn its way through the cloud cover.  It was over as quickly as it came but not before Mac could land a dark 17+” smallmouth on a diving minnow.  I kept hoping for the sun to come back but to no avail.  There were just enough fish to keep things interesting.  The guys were happy and we had fairly good weather.

Monday, I headed to the Mississippi River for my first trip on it for the season with some Wildwood Float Trip clients.  I missed her.  It felt good to be home, there is just something our water does for me that the others just don’t quite fulfill.  The crew started out on flies and caught a few fish on murdich minnows.  Soon the wind was blowing and the wheels began falling off.  We quickly made the switch to spinning gear.  Fish were hitting spinner baits the most consistently.  It was great to show this family a good time on the water.  The family of five rented a drift boat to following me in.  It worked pretty well.  It is great to see families spending time together doing something they all seem to enjoy.

A quality 18.5″ Upper Mississippi Bronzeback

I got a few days off until I worked another Wildwood Float Trips two-boat trip with Bob.  We met the guys early as they need to be off the water by 2pm.  A good time was had by all.  The guys managed to land my boats first catfish which crushed a Mepps.

Scouting Outing to the Flambeau River

On Sunday I met some friends to scout a section of the Flambeau River in search of Smallmouth and Muskies.  We grilled up some steaks to cut up for lunch and brats for breakfast.  I have not floated any sections of the Flambeau and was excited to get out there.  Flows in Bruce were 7 ft. and 2100 cfs. which is above average for this river.  Within a mile Gabe hooked up with a nice fish on a fly he tied (wedge-head style).  We moved a few other fish and saw plenty of smallmouth.  I am looking forward to getting back on the water there knowing now where to spend time and where not to.

Wildwood Smallmouth Trip from Hell

After several years I was finally able to be part of the Wildwood Float Trips Smallmouth Trip from Hell.  Typically the trip does four different rivers in four days, often the Mississippi River, St. Croix, Wisconsin, and Menominee.  This year conditions caused for the trip to spend 2 days on the Wisconsin and 2 days on the Menominee.  I split guiding the trip with a friend to limit my time away from the family, with a two week old life is busy on the home front when combined with our two boys and a yellow lab.

The first day of the trip started out great but by the end of the day it had earned the coined name for the trip.  Cloud to ground lightning and swarms of mosquitos following the rain and a 5 mile row out at near dusk.  From that point on the trip things started to turn for the better.  Day 2 was on the Wisconsin again and several large fish were caught on the surface and below.  I arrived late Thursday night in Pembine, WI ready to join the crew on the Menominee River for Day 3 & 4.  It was a pleasure to float some water the guys at Tight Lines Fly Fishing Co. drift everyday of the season.  Our hotel was hit with lightning just prior to our arrival so there was not water pressure since the pump had been taken out.  We had just enough pressure in our room to get wet and freshen up for the day.  After grabbing gas we went to Mary’s Place where I had a great omelet.  We also ordered our lunches from there and found the club turkey & ham and the beef and cheddar to be very tasty.  The first day I had a single angler in my boat.  We managed the  first legal fish (one greater than 14 inches) on my version of the Murdich Minnow.  As the day went on we moved to top-water fishing Booglebugs and my yellow cork popper.  The yellow cork popper ended up landing the fish of the day an 18.5 inch Menominee River Smallmouth.  It was a great day with Ralph catching 4 different species of fish; smallmouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, and rock bass.

On day 4 we floated another section of the Menominee but further up river.  I had Ralph and Stan in my boat on this day.  Stan boated the first fish of the day on a fly he calls “The Blackhawk”.  Ralph continued collecting additional species by adding a largemouth bass.  Ralph and Stan pushed for big fish with two 18 inchers.  Fishing was very spotty until the last hour and a half when the top-water seemed to pick up.  Not sure if the weather and cold-front put them in a funk but we still had a good time on the water.  We enjoyed some great weather and some good food after both our floats.  Check out Mary’s Place for breakfast, the 4-Seasons bar, and T&T Super Club for post river meals.