November 23, 2020

Our Wisconsin Magazine

 The new magazine in your mailboxes today and on the newsstands shortly will have a restaurant review of mine on page 31 and 32.

November 14, 2020

2021 Trout Rigs nearly ready.

 Last year I tried out a new reel and absolutely loved it.  It went through cold, hot, wet, mud, sand and went swimming a couple times and didn't skip a beat.  Daiwa Ballistic on the best rod ever the St. Croix Avid.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that I bought the exact same rig again.

Have another avid on back order...going to put another ballistic on it.

My 2021 arsenal.  I love paddle handles and love Daiwas...One Penn leftover I loan out when someone needs a rod.

Need new line on all.

November 10, 2020

Getting Ready For 2021 Season


Daiwa Ballistic 3000 ordered and 500 yards of power pro in 10 pound test moss colored.

*note* ballistic 2500 is too small for my liking. 

October 29, 2020

My Book Of Life

 I have fished this stretch for what seems forever. Two hundred yards downstream I caught my first trout at age five. I am certain that I was given one of my lessons on stream by my father on this stretch.  He typically gave a what is that speech at least once during an outing. The lessons varied from what kind of tree or wildflower was streamside to being a good steward of the outdoors.

His lessons taught me to love the places trout lived.  He held them in high regard,  They were almost holy places to him.  He was not a religious person. When he spoke on stream it seemed like a sermon almost.  My mom required me to go to church often and my Dad's speeches seemed like they came from the pulpit.  He always told me to take it all in and always respect the outdoors.  

This summer I was wading up this stream.  The weeds were too high to walk the bank.  I took a good friend with me to my special stretch of water.  I wanted to share this place with him that evoked such strong memories of my father. My dad left me over half a century ago but his spirit lives on when I am on stream.

I had a special hole that I wanted to show my friend. I was bursting with anticipation prior to getting there. My mind was  replaying ancient memories almost like a slideshow. I remembered the first time there with my dad.  I was five years old again.  My trip to the past was abruptly terminated. Our trek had a hurdle.

It was a wow moment.  There in the tiny head water of my stream of time there was an obstruction. What had caused this to happen?  It had endured countless rain events, even huge floods through its lifetime. I was certain my dad and I had walked in these same tracks decades prior.

At first I was sad looking at the giant felled tree. My mind was rushing to and fro from years past. This tree was for sure older than me and it now laid across my stream. I paused and gave it the respect it deserved and pressed on to my final destination.  Call it a metaphor or ramblings of an old gray trout slayer but it is a prominent memory in my book of life.

October 25, 2020

October 22, 2020

Gone But Not Forgotten


You are gone now.

Fall turns to winter and the clock still ticks.  Time moves forward.

Winter turns to Spring.

Spring morphs to Summer.

You are gone but I will never forget you.

I miss you and always will.

Ordered Two St. Croix Avid Rods

Avid One Piece.

6'6" Medium Heavy Fast

The best indicator of the future is the past


About 20 years ago my homewaters "Wisconsin Driftless" were teaming with brook trout.  If you fished hard for an entire day you could land over 150 brook trout. Not all of them were tiny.  Back in the good old days I averaged 100 brook trout a morning.  My go to lure was a size six Panther Martin Fly Pattern. Gold body and blade with an orange tail with a tuft of black in the tail.  About 15 years ago that changed.  The numbers turn a dramatic turn downward.

This event seems like a dejavu happening from 50 years ago.  I remember anglers scratching their heads back then and trying to figure it out.  Back then the Wisconsin Department Of Natural Resources was a tiny department and had many fewer staff.  The drop in the brook trout population was attributed to over harvest back then.

Fast forward to 15 years ago.  The same event happened and with angler reporting and science leading the way the Wisconsin Department Of Natural Resources figured out the reason for the crazy drop in the brook trout population.

Science tells us that over harvest 50 years ago was "not" the problem. The DNR has been studying the problems.  Yes I said "Problems". It is three fold.  The brook trout are being pushed out of their historical waters by brown trout.  The brown trout are bigger and with the waters warming in my area the browns are comfortable with the waters the brook trout call home.  A broook trout typically likes colder water and browns don't.  The DNR even shocked out browns from waterways and removed them.  They have put up barriers to try to keep out the browns so the brook trout can flourish again.

The third and worst problem for brook trout are "Gill Lice".  They are a parasite  that attaches to the brook trout's gills and compromises their breathing. Browns do not have problems with gill lice. The once prolific brook trout streams of the driftless are now almost devoid of brook trout. The DNR has done much research and tried many things to solve the problem.

The DNR has attached a scrub brush to every stream exit site so you can clean off your boots to avoid cross contamination of streams. The DNR has a liquid solution it tried. They dipped the trout in the liquid to remove the gill lice.  It worked but the trout were re-infected shortly thereafter in the stream.  The stream could not be treated.

Many streams in my home water have no kill regulation for brook trout and a bigger harvest limit for browns. The DNR even stocked different strains of brook trout right on top of infected brook trout.  They were looking for a strain that was more resilient against gill lice.  Nothing seemed to work. 

This season I fished one of my more prolific brook trout streams from the past.  As I fished I pondered and tried to figure out how this could have possibly happened.  I caught zero brook trout on the stretch.

As I drove home I compared 50 years ago and now.  The best indicator of the future is the past.  I have no specialized training but here is what 58 years of trout fishing caused me to deduce. The brookies had the gill lice 50 years ago too and they were decimated and they then cycled out. They were not around for the parasites to attach to so gill lice numbers dropped also.  The brook trout took a hiatus and cycled back 20 years ago.  The brook trout will return.  They will cycle back.

A month ago I fished my former favorite brook trout stream.  I was targeting browns.  I was going to harvest some.  I was going to try and do my part to try and bring back the brook trout.  I fished a short stretch and was astounded at the extra large male brook trout I caught.  It was gill lice free.  I contacted the fisheries staff to check if they had stocked big brooder brook trout in the stream and they had not.  I was quite encouraged because of the huge male brookie and zero gill ice.  I returned two weeks later and caught my personal best brook trout.  She was gill lice free. My fingers are crossed and I hope nature has reset itself and my brook trout come back with a vengeance. 

October 17, 2020

Trip Report "Last Day Of Season"

 Jim Furley and I went out the morning of closer.

I love ending the season with a bang.

Three hours on stream and 35 browns between us.

October 14, 2020

Mini Vacation Upnorth

 Took off Monday morning and photographed our way northbound.

October 10, 2020

Kickapoo Valley Reserve

 The wife and I did a little wandering yesterday . The colors were magnificent.

October 06, 2020

Three Separate Outings "Same Stretch"

 Have been to this stretch three times in the last 30 days.

First outing above

Second outing above


Same 100 yards stretch.

Trip Report "No Kayaks"

 Headed to Crawford County to smaller water.  It was cloudy when I left the house at 8:45am and was bright sunlight when I arrived stream side.

I picked a short stretch because my back is still bothering me.

Ended up with eleven browns in this range.

I ended the outing with hook jawed male.

Was done in an hour.

Visited my mom, dad and sister at the cemetery. 

Fished at the dam in Gays Mills for 45 minutes.  The village worker mowing told me I was 2 hours late. Asked him late for what.  Late to catch the 29.5 inch walleye  a guy had caught this morning there.

No hits...lost  three lures.

October 04, 2020

Driftless Ramblings

 "This virtual "road not taken" was almost magically there before me. There it was just there on the other side of the waterway. I sat down on the stream bank for a good long while and admired the steps that Father Time had cut in the rock ledge with the help of Mother Nature. The steps seemed so uniform and almost manmade. This anomaly was created by 1000s of years of water assaulting the bedrock of time. I was hypnotized by its grandeur. It was so quiet sitting there. There was no wind and not a bird chirping or car or truck rumbling by to ruin the moment."

~ Harris