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.


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