Freedom for All

I have become fairly concerned about the directions both sides of our so called political leadership appear to be taking us.  The two directions are big government and religious monoculture.

Big is bad.  Governement, Business, etc.  There is a role for government and we as the people should have a say in what that role is.  We cannot continue to out spend our revenues, so we need to freeze our spending and raise our collection and cut down our deficit.  I do not understand how come we cannot fix this fundamental problem beyond just cutting taxes.  We need our leaders to lead or we need to vote them out of town.  I do not think that we need a socialistic society to serve the needs of our people.  Free market drives much of our prosperity and innovation.  However, I am glad to see someone trying to fix the healthcare problem.  The costs on healthcare are going to grow very large probably to the point where the market will not want to be in the medical business.  So, what do we do then?, what can we do now to help that shift now before it is an inevitable problem?  I like the idea of healthcare exchanges.  I think shifting healthcare away from an employment benefit will greatly increase the market effects of consumer decisions and ability to get the care desired.  There is a moral issue that will need to be decided, who gets what treatment?  Is it fair that a wealthy person has access and ability to pay for the best treatment?  Is it fair for the wealthy to pay more for treatments because they are able? Is it fair for a poor individual to receive more treatment then they can afford?  If  all people have access to all possible treatments at no cost to them this will cause increased cost to the overall system and longer wait times for those services because there will be more people accessing the system that they wouldn’t have been able to afford.

Another area that I just don’t understand are those who say government impedes our freedoms as an individual and in nearly the same breath claim this country to have Christian views in which all decisions should be made.  Here in  Minnesota we are having an amendment on our ballot this fall that shall declare a marriage is only between a man and a woman to be entered into our state constitution even though it is already a law.  I believe this is a direct attack against freedoms of those who are not of this view which is very religiously motivated.  I think religions do have the right to determine who can be “married” but that is left to that particular religious establishment not our government.  Within our laws we have some 1,000+ mentions of marriage and rights in which people who are married benefit from.  I do not believe we as the people should deny the benefits to a couple who have devoted themselves to each other just because our personal religious view disagrees that the relationship is not a marriage.  Those couples are entitled to the same rights as my wife and I are.  Another couples relationship or other has no effect on my marriage relationship or our relationship with God.  I heard a quote recently that I really like but do not know who it is from.  Paraphrased “the freedom for all in this country is greater than all the freedoms with which one individual wish to grant themselves.”

I do hope we can come together as a united people and make decisions for the betterment of all humanity.

Evening Float for Bronze on the Mississippi River

Wildwood Float Trips client Mike and I met at Wildwood headquarters and we set off for our afterwork special a little before 4.  The weather was setting up to be a gorgeous one on the river, a little steamy to begin but near perfect temps at closeout.  We moved a nice fish early on a Orange Hansen Popper.  Switching to the a version of Murdich Minnow that I tie proved to be successful in landing Mike’s first smallmouth on the fly.  We toyed with a few other fish but were rewarded with a great Mississippi River Sunset on our ferry across to the takeout.  A few White mayflies (ephron leukon) were noted but were not quite going when we came ashore.  A friend had taken out a little after us and noted a pretty good hatch not sure if he found any smallmouth setup and feeding on them.  This hatch is one of the few that get much attention from smallmouth here on the Upper Mississippi River.

SE MN Trout on Hoppers!

On Wednesday morning August 1, I had the pleasure of guiding Glenn, Drew, and Ayden (3 generations).  Ayden just 8 was new to fly fishing so we took a little stream tour to get our feet wet.  The cold water of Trout Run Creek had Ayden leaping for the bank and by noon he was reveling in the reprieve the cool water provided from the near 92F air temps.  Didn’t take a water temp but still felt cold I would guess upper 50s and low 60s by the end of our half day.  The crickets (ubiquitous) and butterflies caught Ayden’s attention early as well as avoiding cow pies.  The fishing was tough but Glenn managed a few fish and Ayden helped bring in the last one of the day. Hoppers around 10 and 12 seemed to gain the most enthusiastic stalks in the soft water.  We had a couple fantastic slow motion refusals.

Roger That and Still Stickin’ Fish at 83

Had the pleasure of sharing the water with a man of many stories and a love for the 1930s.  On Tuesday we set out on a Wildwood Float Trip on the Saint Croix River on a beautiful day with a slight swirling breeze and scattered clouds adrift in the sky.  One of the things I enjoy about guiding is listening to giving you glimpses of the memories that formed the person sitting in your boat.  People who enjoy living life and grateful for what they have and each moment they are here.

Throughout the day Roger had mentioned he hadn’t got out for trout fishing this trip.  See at 82 he started a tradition of taking a 3 week road trip from Texas to Wisconsin and back.  Now being the second annual trip of this growing tradition he hadn’t made it trout fishing but was able to hook some nice smallies in Door County, visit family, fish from a canoe, and wade the Namekagon.  I had the next day off and offered to take him out for a half day.  We headed to the Upper Kinni where we caught a few brown trout.

As we were walking and chatting Roger mentioned that this reminded him of other rivers he had fished and what a beautiful place it is.

After fishing here for a while we made our walk back to the truck to finish our half-day on the South Fork of the Kinni (a native brook trout stream with some restoration work).  As we were approaching the creek, Roger mentions to me he remembers taking a nap by a pool like this one where the water was gurgling in and the grasses were high.  A place where a man could get swept away with his dreams and the fish eagerly waiting.  It gives me a warm feeling inside knowing that I just maybe helped a man remember things he hadn’t thought of in quite some time or possibly had been longing for.  That he could remember drifting away under a sun filled sky with grasses dancing in the wind, and water whispering you to sleep like a good night story teller.  I live to have memories like that.  I look forward to fishing with Roger again someday, as he said “God willing we will do that.”


Snapping Turtle on a Popper

Good Weekend on the water with two different Wildwood Float Trip groups.

On Saturday the highlight was a snapping turtle that crushed a popper when chip hit the fly into a little pocket along the shore.  Thankfully it was not a huge one, about the size of the Cliff Bugger Beast Boat Box.  The popper was stuck in his top jaw, as Chip was bringing it in we thought he looped a stick until it got close enough to see the snapper trying to claw the popper out of his face.  Once we forgot to snap a picture while trying to release it but the memory will be one to remember.

On Sunday the river greeted us with cloudless skies, barely a breeze, high humidity, and rising temps.  Fish were found and brought to the boat but many were missed for the next passing angler.  I think we saw 4 different bald eagles which was pretty cool.  Witnessed several smallies crushing their prey against the shore and rocks.  Pete and Adam fished hard receive several blistering rewards for their work, Pete landed the last fish of the day in the final home stretch of the float.


Poppers on the Croix

We have been having plenty of water around here during the first part of the season.  Hopefully we will be able to start floating the Mississippi towards the end of July.  I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th, I had a great time with family and friends.

Floated with clients several days around the 4th.  Had a client catch his first smallmouth on the fly, a client catch fish on his new rod, and a client catch a nice 18.5 inch smallmouth on a popper.

6/2 Rush and 6/3 Kinni

On Saturday I headed to the Rush with Tom.  The trip was suppose to be with his Wife, Pat, but she had to stay back at the Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters.    We were picking up from where we had left off in the beginners class a month ago.  Tom quickly realized that casting on a stream can be very different then casting on the lawn at his home.  Suddenly, there was current, vegetation, and line management.  Tom picked up on much of this and we decided to head to a new spot for the last part of the trip.  Upon arriving and beginning to walk upstream I noticed fish feeding along a seam in a near frenzy.  Tom was able to land his first trout on a dry fly.  The sun was high and the skies were clear blue as we headed back to the lodge.  I look forward to having Pat on the water when the time comes.

Sitting in the shop tying a few flies while Paige attended a funeral.  I tied up a few smallmouth flies.  I realized I didn’t have the eyes I needed so I couldn’t finish them to my satisfaction until later that night.  When Paige returned several shop customers were talking shop and we all were enjoying the company.  The phone rang and I was setup to guide father and son in the morning.

The Ryan Squad (father and son (8)) were ready to go at 7 am and we drove off to the river.  We made our way to the first spot where we stayed for most of the trip.  Both found fish feeding on the surface.  The younger Ryan had missed a few rises and could quite get his cast where he wanted.  I asked if I could help, he said “sure, I want to put the fly in that tunnel over there.”  I put my hand over his as I helped him get the line out we would need to make the cast. The fly hit the water and dead drifted just long enough for a brown to find it tasty.   With a splash and a quick hook set, Ryan (8) was hooked up with his first brown trout.  I think the smile said it all for the boy of few words.  All in all father and son were pleased with their experience on the water.

5/26 Lower Kinni and 5/27 Rush/Smaller Waters Stream Reports

Memorial Day weekend I found myself on the stream with great company and clients of Kinni Creek Outfitters in River Falls, WI.  On Saturday we headed to the Lower Kinni with threats of severe weather we decided to stay closer to town then take a shot of fishing up from F.   With the rain from the days and night before the Kinni was running a little high and slightly cloudy.  Great for nymphing and streamer fishing.  Pat caught several browns mostly on a black wooly bugger.  The rain really came down right before lunch.  After taking cover from lightning.  We were about to head out again when the light picked up again.  We grabbed the lunch and retreated to the truck just up the trail to sit out the rain and enjoy a lunch.  The rain ended in about 20-30 minutes and we headed out for the afternoon.  Catching seemed to be slowing down but a few more fish were caught.

We were fishing our way back as the sirens went off.  With a cloudy, still sky nearly still an eerie feeling stimulated our walking pace.  It was after the bell anyway so the client called the day to a close and got to the truck to check the radar to see two red cells, one just north of River Falls and one just south.  We talked about the day and made our plans for the next morning.

The next morning we started towards the Rush thinking the Kinni would be a zoo with the 90 degree F temps predicted.   We arrived at the Rush with it looking like chocolate milk.  I was inspired to ditch the Rush entirely destined for a smaller watershed.  We were the only anglers to fish this river on this day.  We found smaller fish but very hungry.  We were using a weighted fly with a unweighted dropper.  There were several times throughout the day where two fish were on the line at once.  The fish switched to hitting dries we found action on comparadun BWO and a cheddar head crane fly.  Pat was able to catch his first trout on a dry and also his first brook trout.  I enjoyed my time on the water with Pat and look forward to the next opportunity to do so again.

There were several flowers and butterflies along the river that caught my eye.  I really enjoy the beauty of all the things nature surrounds us with, which many times we forget to take the time to enjoy.

5/25 A visit by a Chilean Trout Angler

Hit the streams with a trout enthusiast from Chile who was visiting the Rochester area.  We headed out to a stream south of I-90.  We found fish on nymphs throughout the day.  We also found a pod of nice fish sipping midges in pockets around vegetation.  We connected with a 15 inch brown on a size 20 midge emerger.  The fish was a beautiful orangish-red against the green and really stuck out compared to the darker fish rising around it.  I am hoping to get a video of the release uploaded soon.  We caught a few more fish on dry flies before the rain came.  Briefly it let up and fish started feeding again and we would get another fish or miss one or two.  The rain and stop went on for the rest of the trip into the evening.  We walked back to the truck discussing the intimacy of our technical casting.  Jorge was use to fairly open waters where most of your technical aspect came to presenting the fly in the right spot.  Here in the Driftless Area you have usually tight casting lanes, overhanging vegetation, tall bank vegetation, and sometimes just about nearly impossible casting conditions.  All this is why I love fishing the trout waters of the midwest, there seems to be a new challenge around every bend.

5/19-5/21 Whitewater State Park Family Camping Trip

Mid-Afternoon the truck (GMC Jimmy) was packed (and I mean packed) with my family (Melissa, Nolan, Gavin, our dog Henry, and myself), camping gear, and a few things for fishing.  The boys were sleeping before we hit the highway and didn’t wake up until we stopped for gas and ice in Plainview just outside the Whitewater Watershed.  We setup camp and decided to head out for a little fishing jaunt.

We arrived on the middle branch and filed out of the car.  We practiced casting a bit with the boys while getting ready for Melissa to give it a try with a dry.  There were many caddis around but the Trout seemed shy of what she was offering.  We left and headed back to camp we dropped Melissa off at an Orchid Slide Show.  She was the only attendee but enjoyed the presentation.  It is a shame that there are many great programs at the parks that go under utilized.

We enjoyed our first campfire of the season with temperatures beginning to cool it was very nice sitting out at the fire.  The boys were a little wound up but eventually fell asleep as did Melissa and I.  I was suddenly awakened by a vicious snarling and growling sound.  I could here the college guys camping next door talking around their campfire about what that was.  Then I heard it again, I remembered I had left 8 pieces of bread in a soft sided cooler, the only food in the cooler, on the hitch rack still attached to the truck where Henry was sleeping.  I grabbed the flashlight, opened the tent, and quickly moved toward the truck before flashing three raccoons.  Two scattered away while another moved up a tree.  Sure enough they had been trying to pull the loaf of bread out.  They had been fairly successful as the plastic was shredded and the bread was all smashed and drooled on.  I quickly threw it in the garbage in the truck and went to see the coon in the tree.  The coon was leaning back into the tree with it’s nose very high in the air trying to blend into the tree.  I was pretty impressed with it’s instincts to try and hide.

Sunday brought much cooler temps so we decided to hike up to the Elba Lookout Tower.  The boys had fun although Gavin’s little legs tired and needed to be assisted up and down.  We went up the tower to the second level and decided to head back down due to the high winds.  The view of Elba and the confluence of the Middle and North Branches to form the Main is very nice from the base of the tower.












We returned to camp to make a quick lunch and we took a little drive to make sure the boys napped which resulted in me getting to do some fishing.

With the cool weather there were blue wings coming off with a few light hendricksons.  I fished for about an hour then we headed back to camp.  In the park there were many bugs coming off missed a few on BWO.  Then a big mayfly landed on me so I snapped a few pics.  I think it is a March Brown.  A few Dark Hendricksons were around as well.  The entire weekend was a great experience for our family and the boys were very sad we had to go home already.  We will see where are adventures take us this this summer.