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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rest of August brought some more superb fishing.
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.