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.
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.