May 21, 2019

Tick Tock

Less than a week ago I was on a stretch and the weed growth was minimal and yesterday it was borderline impassable. 80 on Saturday will really cause lots of weed growth. If you have an area that is going to be crazy with weeds I suggest a
trip soooon...

May 20, 2019

Trip Report "Floren Goestch"

I have a standing rule that a trout needs to be at least 15 inches for me to take a photo.

63 trout to hand today between the two of us and not a one met that threshold .

Stream was high and stained but I needed to fish.

Floren fought all outing with his trigger type spinning reel.  Floren also purchased my LDH Net in Birdseye Maple from me today.  There were not fish that required netting.

A yellow flower was worthy of a photo.

Floren in action.

The weeds are growing fast and this stream will be impassable in two weeks.

May 19, 2019

Time Marches On

Five years ago my wife Barb took up hiking. Her first adventure into the woods was at the Richland County Forest.  I was a little jealous of her new found hobby.  For years I had begged her to go fishing with me.  She was not ready to take the first step into the outdoors.  The deer ticks and wild animals scared her twenty years ago. I tried to hike with her in the beginning but that was right during my knee surgeries.  She went on her own.  

I remember vividly her return home from her first taste of the beauties of the outdoors.  She took scads of photos and shared each with me.  She described the sounds and the smells of the outdoors to me.  She was excited and wove a detailed story.  I could see the awe in her eyes.  I decided it was better if she went alone.  Every creature on this earth needs solitude.

Barb's favorite photo was the one of the bench she discovered way back in.  It was on the boundary of the 400 acre public forest.  She sat and ate her lunch there the first time she was "out there." Barb's eyes grew big when she told me about the magical qualities the bench had. 

Barb hikes often these days.  She has not forgotten her bench in the woods. Each season has a different view from the bench she says.  Sitting there and pondering the future and the past while she eats her lunch is still magical.

Each season has different smells and sounds.  She describes each to me in detail upon her return from "her" bench.  The twinkle in her eyes make me smile.

The change of seasons do not dampen her enthusiasm.  She still comes home with that childlike wonder and feeling of accomplishment.  She told me that she is "renewed" each time she sits on her bench. 

She seemed all giddy one winter morning and I asked her why.  I kinda knew why already but I asked anyway.  She was going to visit her bench.  It had snowed six inches overnight and I questioned her if she had the proper gear and if she would be warm enough.  She smiled and bundled up a little more and off she went.

The snow made the trek a little harder than usual but it made it more of a conquest than a simple hike.  She took her customary photo and knocked the snow off her bench and sat down on her bench to eat her lunch.  This lunch time was longer than most.  She describe the surrounding woods as deafeningly quiet. She was not sure if she liked the sensation.  She sat there until she had made her mind up about the snow and if she liked it.  She did.

Barb has expanded her hiking range.  She now frequents the Kickapoo Valley Reserve and the hillsides near Richland Center.  The snow fascinates her.  There is some special effect she says that only the snow can make.

Barb targets mornings after a snow event so she can be the first person to place footprints on her trail.  It is like she was the first person to ever walk this trail.

Her wander lust has expanded to many state parks.  Some parks are too dangerous to hike in the snow so she searches out benches in the parks to sit on and compares them with her bench in the Richland County Forest.

Some of the benches she has discovered are beautiful but they are not her "first."  Her bench in the woods holds a special place in her heart.

The snow subsided this spring and she decided a visit to her old friend was in order.  She meticulously prepared her lunch for her well deserved return to her first taste of solitude and peace.  She told me there was something special about that first trip in the forest that she will never forget her entire life.

Three hours later she came home.  She seemed a little distant.  I asked her to tell me why.  Her vigor was not there like typical. She handed me her cellphone and told me to look at the photo of the bench.  I had never seen her bench in person.  I had relied on her photos through the years.

With a little prodding she told me why her enthusiasm was less than usual.  Her bench did not fare well during the last winter.  It was shaky and she was afraid to sit on it.  She sat on the ground near it and ate her lunch.  We talked about her adventure for a long time.  We both compared the bench to our physical ailments and how no one or no thing is immune to time.  Barb said something just as I type this story:  "It is okay to look forward instead of looking back."

May 17, 2019

Preston And Steve Part II

I spoke to Steve last night on the phone.  He and Preston were leaving back home to Osceola Wisconsin at midday Friday. Preston just finished first year of college studying to be a Game Warden. The week outing was a yearly thing they did. They had stayed the entire week in Gays Mills at Steve's Mother's house in Gays Mills.  Marilyn McManamy lives on the far west side of Gays Mills overlooking the old mill and dam on the Kickapoo River. Marilyn loves it when her son and grandson come to stay. 

 Steve told me they had fished at the dam all week with very limited success.  I told him I had looked at the weather and the barometric pressure was falling and the fish at the dam should turn on because of it.  I coaxed the two into giving the dam another try.

I kicked both of them out of bed at 8am this morning.  I wanted to hit the Kickapoo before the rain in the forecast could come. Both got the cobwebs out of their eyes and we walked down to the west side of the Kickapoo River. It was only 20 yards away from the old family home.

Today's high is forecasted to be 55 and yesterday's high was 82.  I knew with the pressure change and temperature variation it would turn on the fish.  It also helped that it rained a little yesterday to give the river a little color.

Preston started out with a deep diving husky jerk and was reward with a really nice walleye.  Steve put on a husky jerk also and score just a little smaller walleye.  They had minnows still left from the week and decided to use them. The minnows did not work earlier in the week.  They did this morning.  Preston caught very nice pike and a male brown trout on minnows.  I spectated and provided the netting and the Harris/McManamy karma. 

May 15, 2019

Wife Went Hiking

She went to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.


Trip Report "Generations"

Long ago when I was a pup I followed my Dad everywhere. A Sunday ritual of his and many of the outdoorsy men from Gays Mills was to meet up at Reber's Gas Station and swap lies and look at Hunting and Fishing magazines.  The stories got pretty deep back in the mid to late 60s.  Hip boots were typical attire for the Sunday BS sessions because it flowed deep.  Chest waders were even needed at times.  

The tall tales varied from hunting season to fishing season.  George the station owner always had the 14 point buck mount on the wall to point at and smile.  He did not have to talk much because he had woods "creds" due to the huge buck.

The crew was the same every Sunday.  The always to show up guys were Harris, Coleman, Chestelson, McManamy, Reber, Dull, and Lowe.  Many others came and went. These were the core group and these guys were the ones the others looked up to when it came to anything that flew, swam or could be hunted for. They had designated places to sit.  There was a pecking order. 

In 1967 my Dad relinquished his seat due to passing away while deer hunting up north.  A few of the Reber's Station Crew took me hunting and fishing after my Dad passed.  One that took me hunting often was Geno McManamy.  I was very young but he found time to take me with him.

Fast forward over 50 years and last week I was contacted by Steve McManamy.  He is Geno's son.  Geno left to hunt and fish with my Dad a few years back. Steve wanted me to take him trout fishing.  His son Preston also.  I jumped at the opportunity. I remembered all the good times Geno had showed me and I was going to pay back the favor to Geno's son and grandson.

I looked at the weather and decided the best day to take him was this morning.  It was not optimal conditions with the bright sun but the window was closing due to rain in the forecast.  I decided to show them a numbers day.  I thought big trout were too smart to bite on a robins egg blue day.  I picked a spot that had intermittent trees so there was some cover from the sun.

Steve and Preston both started with crawlers.  I talked Preston into changing to panther martins about 30 minutes in to the outing.

Preston started catching trout pretty regularly.  Steve hung back a short distance and watched Preston and I work the shadowed non sunny sides of the stream.

A few clouds showed up to make the trout feel comfortable and they started hitting.  The water conditions were the clearest I have seen this stream this year.  When we began at 7am it was 50 degrees out.  When we finished at 11:30am it was 68 degrees. Between the three of us we landed 67 browns. 

The Best For Last.

At about 10am I showed Preston a run I had caught bigs in the past in.  I told him where they laid and he threw a pinpoint cast with his 5'6" Ugly Stick ultra light rod with 6 pound test.  His panther was absolutely crushed and I yelled "Monster" and Steve came a running.

  The trout ran up and down stream on the bottom at first and tried to go under a log but Preston turned him a couple times.  I was on the edge of the bank with my legs dangling off in the water waiting for the trout to show itself.  I was in awe when I saw it surface.  This trout was enormous.  The biggest I had seen in about 5 years.  Steve was shooting a video of the battle.  The "Slobasurus" was having no part of being netted.  It balked three or four times when I tried to net it.  Preston's rod was literally bent in half  by the female brown.  We thought the battle was over then it had a couple more runs in it and ran the drag like crazy.  Preston had the drag set perfectly.  It finally tired out and I got it in the net.

Preston and his proud father with the "Slobasaurus." I am certain Geno and my Dad Lenny are smiling down on Preston and Steve.

I am pretty sure Preston would have a designated seat on Sundays at Reber's Station if it still existed. 

The Harris/McManamy connection still has its touch generations later.

Great job Preston and congrats on your driftless monster!!

May 13, 2019

Trip Report 5/13/19 "Bruce Ristow"

Hit the water at 7am.  Robin's Egg Blue Skies and 35 degrees.  Shadow control was hard at first and then sun got up a little and it was a little better.

Bruce was throwing big stuff the entire morning.  We ended at 11am.

Bruce landed 10 browns.

I landed 15 browns and one wayward brook trout.  My biggest on that stretch was about 17 inches.  No photo because it was hooked badly and I wanted to get it back in the water.

This one was photogenic.

The bright sun was a serious pain.  I tried the jelly worms out trying to look like a brook lamprey.  Had one hit that pulled the plastic a little and lots of snags on logs.

Went solo after Bruce went home.  There were a few more clouds and the trout reacted accordingly.

I landed 16 browns.  At 1pm is was partly cloudy and 65 degrees.

Had a really big one on for about 2 seconds and it came unbuttoned.