6/21 Western Wisconsin Trout Stream Report

Our report come from the calm before the storm on Friday.  Rivers had color from Thursday night’s rain.  We started off on some smaller waters catching brook trout for a couple hours.  The sun was just peaking out and a few caddis were around as we were leaving.  Most fish were caught subsurface on an Airhead PT.  We then drove to a little bigger stream to see it was pretty chalky colored and decided to head to the Rush.  When we got there we enjoyed a fulfilling lunch on the tailgate of my clients truck.  The river was also chalky but a little clearer than the other creek. About 8-10 inches of visibility.  We settled in to a riffle/run where David connected with his biggest fish of the day a 13 inch Brown Trout on a large BH Prince Nymph.  We tried streamer fishing but did not get a single hit or follow.   We decided to relocate for the last 2 hours of the trip and found our way to Martel.


I hadn’t fished the upper portion in a while and was surprised when the road was closed due to the metal bridge being replaced.  We fished below  and found the water to be clear with trout feeding on dries sipping midges and attacking occasional light colored mayfly (possibly PMD).  Dave made contact with a few fish and landed a 9 inch brook trout.  The clarity made me think was the cloudiness due to the construction or the night before rain?  It was about 630 pm when we got there and all the construction workers were gone or had we come up river enough to find clear water.  I am thinking maybe both.  We ended our day together just as the rain started to sprinkle and we headed back to Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters.

Once back at the shop we all decided to part our ways.  I began my drive home barely a block down main the wind came up with the torrential rain.  Noticing the West Wind sign I decided a Kinni Burger, fresh cut fries, and a Rush River Unforgiven were going to hit the spot while I waited out the storm.  The rain really came down causing the Kinni to peak at about 1200+ cfs on Saturday afternoon.  Those of you who don’t normally fish the kinni it runs around 90-100 cfs most of the year.  Cancelled my trout trip for Sunday morning knowing conditions were going to be very unfavorable.

This week should be fun as I am participating as a fellow in EngrTEAMs at the University of Minnesota.  We will be learning how to integrate engineering into Life Science.  The week following the fourth I will be designing a curriculum unit of my own.  I am looking forward to where this experience takes me.  The curriculums already displayed for us last week were very engaging and  interesting, which could be adapted for my classroom.  We built water collection and water storage devices for a remote island in Costa Rica, a wind mill to be placed on campus, and a dialysis machine trying to improve efficiency.

The weekend should bring me rowing a few clients on Wildwood’s Trip From Hell in Wisconsin somewhere.  Looking forward to getting on the oars as have been a couple weeks.   Guiding will pick up from there and it looks like I will have a busy summer.  Drop me an email nick@fitnflyquest.com if you would like to snag one or two of the remaining dates.

Is Summer Finally Here? Morels, Trout, Bass, and More?

The Spring of 2013 seemed to be the song that never ends.  Over the last week we have started to turn the corner.  Last few weeks have been jam packed with closing out my first year as a teacher, keeping the boys busy,  getting ready for our third child (stubbornly awaiting heading to day 2 of induction tomorrow), and the start of guiding season.  Got out a few weeks back for some scouting on a local water I had never been on and found some morels on my way with a friend.  Very fun and addicting, now I see potential spots wherever I go.  It is a strange little rush you get when you find them.  They are also very tasty when quartered, cooked in bacon grease drizzled with garlic butter and go great with the steaks I grilled up.

Anyone know if they do not clip rainbow trout in streams in western wisconsin?  This rainbow was not clipped and it made me wonder if it were wild or a stocker especially since it’s colors were so brilliant.

A few days later I took the boys out for a morning adventure on forest lake.  Cast the fly rod a bit to some largemouth bass while the boys were eating their snacks.  Missed a few strikes.  Reminded me of how much I like fishing largemouth bass with a fly rod.  The murdich minnow was getting their attention.  The boys were throwing a jig and caught a few bass and a couple pike.  It was a great day and Melissa got some much needed rest time.

The next week I lived vicariously through my friend who was rowing my boat for a three-day Wildwood Float Trip guide trip.  I was a little surprised that I was feeling a little jealousy that I was not on the oars and how much I missed being out on the water.  The following Sunday I scouted a warm water flow age.  We found a few smallmouth and pike.   Tried out my new fly pattern “The Schlappy Joe” and it fished very well.   Looking forward to my next chance to use it.  We also ran into a very interesting individual along the river bank.  We noticed a pink figure dancing and jumping around.  As we were getting closer we could see clothes going on, I was thinking we were interrupting some extracurricular activities but that opinion changed as we got within conversation distance.  The man was itching and scratching while being a little twitchy and showing some anxiety.  We said hello and he asked for food and water.  We asked what he was doing out here and he answered, “Trying to get to the other side.”  This is when we notice him toss a soggy log off a 6 ft grayish brown sled.  We tossed him some beef sticks and a gatorade.  As we drifted away he quietly headed back into the woods with his sled not to be seen again.  One of the strangest things I have ever witnessed.  I am guessing an he was an individual strung out on some drugs.

Last weekend the boat had it’s first encounter with an apex predator for the season.  We had been fishing hard as I noticed an interesting minor seem.  I called the shot while on the sticks and the fish pounced within the first few strips of the fly.  A beautiful muskie on a gorgeous double.  It is really fun when a call comes answered, especially when you don’t make very many.  The fish had some very interesting leoparding pattern on the rear half of the fish.

Enjoyed the guiding a father and son for a sunday evening on the Rush River.  The son was very green to fly fishing and we shared some stories on the way over from Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters .  The two were looking forward to spending time together and the son was eager to learn the sport.  On the way over I was pondering the impending rain and towering  thunderheads.  The radar was looking promising.  By the time we geared up and were on streams edge the sun burnt it’s way through the cloud cover.  This seemed to ignite activity on the stream.  I could see a few caddis, craneflies, and what looked like BWOs.  I tied on a parachute BWO because that is what they seemed to be eating.  After a little casting practice the son hooked and landed his first fish on a fly rod, an eight inch brown trout.  I think he was hooked from then on.  He proceeded to miss a few more and land one more in the remaining couple of hours.  His father was enjoying landing trout on the dry fly as well.  Towards the end the trout were feeding feverishly but I could not find the fly to get them to hit.  The mysteries of the fish that was not is part of what drives the inner parts of my passion for this sport.

Sitting here in the hospital watching my wife drift off to sleep after our first day of induction for our third child.  She is receiving some much needed rest.  We will get back on the pitocin in the morning if she doesn’t go in the wee hours of the night.  I should hit the hay so that I can be there to support her.  Her sister and our Doula were here most of today too and I thank them for their time and support.  Thank you to those helping out with our two boys and our dog!   Goodnight all!


An original creation for a friend

A year ago, a friend of mine shot her first turkey.  She saved some feathers for me and this spring asked me to tie her up an original creation to go with her tail mount.  I came up with this articulated fly.  What do you think?  I think it looks like a little smallmouth.  Might need to tie up a couple for myself. The fly is a mixture of turkey, some buck tail, crystal flash, a few orange glass beads, a trailer hook, and a head finished by clear cure goo thin and hydro.

Friday night chasing White Bass, Pike, and Walleye

Headed to a local river friday night hoping to bring home a walleye or two for dinner.  The boat hit the water around 2:30 pm, the first trip of the season always seems to take longer to get the boat up and running.  We went to the first spot and caught a white bass and a walleye on the first two passes.  I was thinking sweet this is going to be good.  Not another hit for a couple hours so we moved up river, put away the jigs and brought out our tools of choice the fly rods.  Finished the day enticing a couple white bass on the fly rod and my partner was bitten off by a pike.  The football jig fly I tie seemed to work for me and a small murdich was also working.  Looking to chase them again.  Still a week away from the smallmouth opener but it is coming.  Fly boxes are stocked and ready to go.  Still a few guide dates open on the drift boat or for trout fishing.  Let me know if you want to get out.

The fly needs a name, I have been trying to come up with one for several seasons now but nothing seems to stick.

Spring is here finally, I hope.

We had these two visitors at the bird feeder out our front window today.  I enjoy watching the variety of birds that frequent our feeder.  Not to mention the squirrels and deer.  Saw a bald eagle in an abandoned lot next to the maple wood Costco too.  Crossed several things off my honey-do list and mowed the lawn for the first time this season.  Last year I think it was March or the first week of April when I had to mow the first time.  Other then the extreme up and down temps I prefer to delay the hot weather.

Western Wisconsin Stream Report 5/6 & 5/7

Tuesday afternoon I met a couple from Chicago at Kinni Creek Lodge & Outfitters for the first two half-day guided trout trips. We headed off to fish the lower Kinni with bluebird skies and temps near 70 it was sure to be a beautiful afternoon.  We made contact with fish on a GB hare’s ear, prince nymph, and a streamer.  We spent the afternoon working on presenting drag-free drift with their nymphing rigs.  After the gentleman had landed his last brown trout we headed up out of the canyon.

Looking forward to another afternoon with the couple I chose a place where we could target some brook trout.  The couple had a goal of catching some so I wanted to help make that happen.  We hiked out through the grasses along the angler trail until we made it to the water.  I sat down to tie on some caddis and a dropper.  While doing so I noticed a wood tick crawling on my waders.  I proceeded to pull 5 or 6 more off in the short rigging session.  Soon the couple were casting to hungry brook trout.

Kickin’ Off A New Season

Trout Fishing here in SE MN and Western Wisconsin started a few months back with their respective catch-n-release seasons (january and march).  My first trip of the season started off with a great couple passing through from a road trip through Ontario.  My two boys made it over to western wisconsin to catch some brook trout and brown trout.  A few stream side snacks were consumed.

Life here at the Altringer household has been busy as we are preparing to welcome our third blessing in June 2013.  I started working as a Life Science Teacher at Murray Junior High in January and continuing to take classes at Hamline University working to complete my Master’s in the Art of Teaching.

The past two weekend have offered up at least one day of great weather both on Saturdays.  The first weekend I taught an A-Z Fly Fishing class through Kinni Creek Outfitters.  We had a late cancellation so the two students had a lot of one-on-one instruction normally spread out to 3-5 other people.  Classes have also been offered through Anoka-Hennipen Community Education.  I have an on-water class here in the metro area, ice just went out about a week ago so we will see what arrives in the shallows for us to fish.

Upcoming classes at Kinni Creek include another A-Z Fly Fishing School which includes general information about fly fishing, casting instruction, knot tying, and an on-water stream school.

One of the students had booked a day for him and his uncle to fish with me the following weekend.  We met and fished on the lower kinni.  Blue Winged Olives were coming off around 10 until the sun got high in the sky but the trout were not paying attention to them.  Most of our fish came on an airhead pt or a tungsten prince nymph.  Waters were flowing pretty good with a touch of color.  Toward the end of the trip fish were found near faster water.

Looking forward to springs arrival.  I have a few trips next week.  If the weather holds the boys and grandpa Altringer might go camping next friday and saturday.  Getting home in time to spend Mother’s Day with Melissa on Sunday.  Wisconsin Trout Opener was this morning, hopefully anglers I able to find some fish.  I heard their was 8-12 inches in the woods from thursdays snow.  Crazy to think we have that much snow in May.  The Rochester area received the same amount and more in some places.  Here in the Twin Cities we did not get any snow that stuck around to be measured.  Looking forward to a great season.  Dates are filling up so get in touch soon to reserve you trip dates.

Trip to the Bighorn River

A trip out west for strictly fishing had been a long time coming.  Thinking about my journey into fly fishing which began 18+ years ago on a family trip to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.  My first rod was a 5/6 wt. Eagle Claw which I think still hangs in my childhood bedroom.  Since the moment I came into this sport I have never fished for three or more consecutive days where I could just fish for myself, what a wonderful experience I had on this trip.

The trip began as I met with Kip and Duane out at the Wildwood Headquarters.  After loading my gear in the truck I filed into the back of the truck and we setoff down the highway for Cottonwood Campground on the Bighorn River.  After a bit of talk I began doing a little backseat tying.  I tied up some Killer Bugs, BH Killer Bugs (Orange and Pink), Pink Scuds, Zebra Midges, and a few Airhead Pheasant Tails over the 12 hour drive.  On the way, I had been raving about the Beef Jerky at Valley City Meat Supply.  After refueling we hit the main drag in search of the shop.  Upon entering I could not see the almost famous jerky anywhere. Beginning to think maybe there was more than one meat supply, I finally asked to which the reply was we sold out at 8:30 about 30 minutes of opening.  We were about three hours late. Needless to say this provided some good ribbing for the rest of the trip.  We concluded that with deer processing they must not be in full stride with their jerky production.

Throughout the next three and a half days I caught many beautiful and memorable trout.  No monsters but some very nice fish.  During the evenings I was busy tying up more BH Killer Bugs, Pink Scuds, and random Streamers.  The first three days were made up of fabulous conditions for late November/early December.  The conditions brought fish to the surface for baetis and even saw a few caddis popping around.  Caught several fish on a caddis in addition to dark winged baetis.  With the late fall sun angles it was necessary to have the dark wing to see the fly or have the caddis on to help you find a dun colored baetis.

During the trip I played with my new Nikon AW100 camera.  All pics were taken by it and the video below was too.

Underwater Rainbow Trout Release


Season End Falls Upon Us

The leaves have been changing many falling to the water as my oars back row to delay the end of a season.  Life has been busy balancing my family, student teaching, and my passion for fishing and my business.  The fall chill is in the air  as the second blue moon in as many months rises above the treeline.  I cannot help but think what a lucky man I am to have an office like this, where I will have spent more than 50 days helping anglers connect to the waters we visit.

Many days have passed since I have written a post and several more will until the next.  I am excited to get out fishing for some musky tomorrow with a couple friends.  It has been awhile since I have been fishing for myself and I look forward to the opportunity.  The cold air has moved in and reports say the muskies are snapping.  My fly box is almost full (a few to add from the vice tonight), rods are nearly rigged, chili is in the crockpot, beer is almost in the cooler, and the boat is waiting to be hitched. Looking for a musky to be as enthusiastic as this smallie was for a client.

Next weekend brings the Minnesota Pheasant Opener and I look forward to being afield with my Dad and Henry.  We are still waiting to hear if any other of our hunting crew will be joining us for our tradition which I am excited to get back to since we missed opener last year.  The outlook is good only 9am on Saturday October 13 will know what we will encounter.