August 01, 2015


Reading A Hole

At first glance I thought the hole had potential due to the high water marking on the bank.

The hole did not disappoint. I could not have guessed the bottom make up.

It had large sharp boulders lining the bottom.  The hole was 6 feet deep just left of center.

By far the deepest hole on the entire stretch,

The water erupted with fish on my first cast.

I accomplished a never done by me feat in this hole.

I hooked 2 trout on one spinner.

July 31, 2015

A Lifetime

Memories that will last a lifetime live in each of these photos.

cleanse my soul

“About three months ago I made a comment to an acquaintance about trout fishing being so important to me, and he dismissed it. He said trout fishing was the least important thing he does in life and I shouldn’t make it so important. I wholeheartedly disagree with him.  Many people go to church to feel spiritual and be in touch with the universe. I go into the outdoors to cleanse my soul. All the things in life that bother me are melted away about a hundred yards from the truck. The fish are only a bonus in the whole scheme of things.” 

No Title

When you arise in the morning, think of what a
precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think,
to enjoy, to love.
- Marcus Aurelius

Muddy Boots

I need to give a little background to begin the story. Recently I have been doing lots of presentations at schools to encourage young people to take up fishing. Along the way I was asked to speak at some nursing homes also. I have spoke at five now and have a couple more scheduled. My wife used to work at a nursing home and she thought it was a good thing for the retired folks. She called it bringing the trout stream to them.

I spoke at a nursing home this morning. The place I was to speak was the chapel area. I always go early to my power point presentation to make sure everything is set up properly.

 When I arrived today I went directly to the chapel. The power point equipment was all set up. There was one resident in the chapel.  Her name is Alma. She was quite talkative and she gave me some family history.

Alma started out talking to me complaining that my presentation was getting in the way of her time to pray. I explained to her that I was giving a presentation about trout fishing. She said: “I had my fill of anything fish related from my husband.” He died 16 years ago. He was a crazy fisherman. He went out every moment he could fishing. Alma told me “No thanks” and she wasn’t going to sit in on the fishing show.

I really wanted her to see my presentation. I told her that it wasn’t only about fishing. There were wildflowers and many beautiful outdoor photos in the show. I worked on her for about 20 minutes and she finally gave in. She shared with me why she had such a dislike for fishing. When she and her husband were first married they were farmers and kind of poor.  They lived on wild game and anything that swam.

Her husband Albert would come home from fishing and walk all over the house with his muddy boots. Fishing meant relaxation for Albert but it meant work for her. She would have to clean the house after his nonsense. He cleaned the fish right on the kitchen counter and made one heck of a mess. Alma was always happy when he brought home trout instead of pike because pike meant scales and they were all over the kitchen. He cleaned them and she would always have to follow behind him and clean the sink and the floors.

By the time he was done cleaning the fish and traipsing outside he was tired and he would just put those muddy boots anywhere he pleased. Fishing equaled to mess in her mind. He had asked her numerous times to go along with him. She had gone with him a couple times when they were first married. It just wasn’t her cup of tea. Fishing meant wood ticks and usually she ended up muddy and wet.

She said she ate so many fish through the years she thought she might even grow fins. Alma was a tough sell and was sneering most of the first few moments of my presentation. I directed my attention to the other residents that were watching and made eye contact with them more than Alma. About half way through the presentation I noticed something really odd. Alma’s facial expression had changed to a big smile and she was hanging on each word and photo. Near the end she changed her facial expression again. She was wiping away tears and the aides asked her if she wanted to go back to her room. She responded with a resounding “NO”.

My presentation was over and she sat there a while.  I straightened things up and helped put away some chairs. I went over and sat by her and we talked again. She was still weepy. She asked if I had anymore fishing stories I would share with her. I talked to her until it was time for her to go to lunch. She thanked me for coming and when the aides were wheeling her away she looked me right in the eye and tears were flowing and she said: “What I wouldn’t give for just one more time to clean up that old fool’s muddy boots from my kitchen floor.”

 The sun sets on another Wisconsin day.  Savor life.

July 30, 2015

Wyalusing State Park

Barb went off the beaten path tonight at Wyalusing State Park.

Not her typical trails.

One Month From Now

Our plane will be landing in Munich. Two weeks in Europe.  Paid the entire vacation on book proceeds from my two books.  I saved every penny from my two books.

I planned the vacation to coincide with the biggest Beer Fest of the year for Augsburg.  I lived in Augsburg for six years while in the army.

From Augsburg we are going to Prague then to Salzburg and then on to Venice. Will sprinkle in castles when ever possible.

July 28, 2015

Telling A Tail

The phone rang at 7:15am.  He knew I left for work at 7:30am.  I knew it had to be John.  I was not disappointed.  His voice was excited and I knew what that meant.  It only meant one thing and one thing alone.  He had discovered a big trout and he wanted me to come along and net it and take photos.

He described the hole and how the water came down into the sweet stop.  He painted a picture with words how the banking of the bottom was.  Then there was the bath tub cut out in the bottom that the predators laid in waiting for their prey. It required a perfect cast into the fast water above and immediate mending of the line to get it where it needed to be.

I was off the next day and agreed to go with him.  I didn't get off that easily.  He had to tell me the tale about his discovery.  His friend Todd and he were on a popular stretch he watched Todd land a fair brown in the 15 inch range.  As Todd battled the trout a much larger trout came out of the depths of the hole and chased and nipped at the smaller trout's tail.  John had gotten a good look at it.  He estimated it at 24 inches and male.

We met at first light and off we walked to this hole where the incident occurred. He had tied on a size 6 hornberg.  There were split shots about 12 inches above the fly.  He also had two globs of bio strike indicator on his leader.  John had me stay back as to NOT spook his quarry.  It didn't take long and he was hooked up and yelling net.

I netted it and took a couple photos.  The trout was about 21-22 inches and I dogged John a little for stretching the trout's length.  John calmly told me that it was not the same trout.  I smiled and said yeah right.  He was emphatic and wanted to show me he was telling the truth.  We planned to meet the next morning on the same stretch.

John arrived at our parking spot the next morning but he had two other anglers with him.  John still had the same fly on from the day before.  He checked the knot and looked for line mars and he was ready. We split up and I took the younger angler and John went with the father.  John took off for that hole straight away.

It wasn't very long and I heard the wail in the distance.  It was John screaming for the net.  I galloped to the sound of his voice.  Yes I said galloped.  Running flat out in waders all decked out on unlevel ground is a recipe for quick a tumble.  A gimpy net person sucking air from running is a recipe for disaster.  Would you want to be the reason for your friend losing a massive trout?

There John was with his rod bent in half.  John's partner was getting in the water with his tiny net.  John barked to him and said to get my net.  I launched my net to him.  Two steps later he was up to his wader tops in the hole.  John told him to calm down and wait until the trout tired. Many big trout are lost because the net is inadequate or the net person goes for the trout before it is properly tired out. Head into the net first with the other side of the net slightly tipped up to stop a last ditch effort to escape.

Finally after an extended battle the trout went up on its side and this was the key to net the male brown.  John was yelling and saying some gibberish about it was the one and he threw his rod down and went to unhook the trout.

I have fished with many anglers through the years.  I tend to fish with the same ones over and over again.  They are the ones with exuberance and child like excitement each time they land a nice fish. They are the ones that have such big smiles on their faces that I think they are going to break their faces.  I chose the anglers that are most like me. 

After a couple photos and a little gloating he sent the trout on its way.  We fished the rest of the morning and made memories that will last a lifetime. A dozen years later and he still tells the story every time we meet up or he calls.

There is an art to telling a good fish tale.  The tale goes hand and hand with the fishing. Your story telling abilities grow as your angling abilities grow. Years of trout fishing and bending an elbow at the local gin mill afterwards and embellishing the story through the years fine tunes the art of telling a good tail.

Twelve years later and the story is still worth a listen.

John Coming Up In September

We talked on the phone last night.  He wanted to hit this hole above.  There were lots of memories here for him.

 I informed him that "were" was the proper tense.  The WDNR in its infinite wisdom had manicured his stream of dreams and it was now a mere shadow of its former self due to huge boulders and silting in of the once exceptional hole.

I assured him that there were still holes in the area that the "Trout Theme Park" folks had not ruined.  He will drive up in the middle of September.

 Another excellent hole gone because of the "TTP." 

You call it Habitat Improvement I call it ruining the hole.