March 05, 2016

Wife's New Hobby

 Barb hiked over 12 miles in the last three days.

Kickapoo Valley Reserve

March 04, 2016

Are You Hungry Now?

pork roast "Schweinbraten"

1 tablespoon diced garlic
one white onion
20 small carrots
1 bottle dark beer
4 stalks celery diced
1 rutabaga diced
2 turnips diced
4 pound pork loin
3 teaspoons caraway

Brown for 15 minutes in oven before serving.

sauce later
mushroom and onion with drippings

served with knodel and 2 kinds of kraut

March 02, 2016

Gays Mills Grade School 1905-2016

Last used as functioning school December 1975 
Barb "Jurgensen" Harris was 4th grader and went to Soliders Grove school after Christmas break 1975.

I went first grade through sixth grade at this school.

Year School Built: 1905

School Address: 600 MAIN ST, Gays Mills, Wisconsin 54631
Last week the rafters were meticulously removed after the roof was raised.

School being raised/salvaged by LLK Excavation 


 This week the inside is being dismantled and the windows are being removed.

If you want to say good-bye to your old school you better go soon.

Brooder Trout

 Can you tell which are hatchery fish?

March 01, 2016

This Weekend

It is brooder bow time!!

vivid memory

Snowy mornings in early March make my mind wander.  Typically it doesn't take long and my log books of years past are open and I am paging through long ago memories. This morning's snow rekindled  a long forgotten memory from over a dozen years ago.

I typically look for non-snowy memories and a large trout lost or landed.  It was April 12th 2002.  I was still guiding back then.  I had done a presentation at the Rock River Fly Fishing Club that winter and set up taking two anglers to a nice easy fish in Richland County.

It was a warm April day with a little too much sun my log book says.  The stream temperature was 56 degrees.  The trout didn't seem to mind.  The stretch I was taking the two on was really long and pastured.  There were two different land owners and I had secured permission already. It was a sunny forecast so I stressed to the anglers to wear drab colors so they didn’t stick out so much. 

The trout were not large this day but they were plentiful.  Sunlight makes big trout very wary and we were having fun.  Trout have no eye lids and the sun affects the bigger ones a little more dramatically than the little ones. When I guided I use to have the anglers take turns.  A hook up or a bite meant change of angler casting.

I recommended flies and cast placement.  They were having a ball on the fast current lane on the right of the picture.  When it is sunny trout either go deep or go to broken fast water or tuck themselves under a bank.  The broken fast water produced four decent sized trout.  A glory shot was taken to show the lay of the water and the typical trout from this run.

The other guy had his turn and missed a fish so the guy pictured was up to bat again.  He cast and cast into the fast water without any luck.  We were about to move upstream and I told him to cast to above the top of the fast water tight right where the current ran into the bank. I stress above the cut so there was no splash and the fly would come down the chute like food.   It looked like there was a nice undercut there.

His cast was long enough but a little too tight to the bank and he had an immediate snag.  He tried and tried to free his fly with no luck.  Finally I got out of the water and walked upstream and crawled up to the snag and tried to unhook it from shore.  I didn't want to spook the area but I couldn't reach the fly so I got in the water.

I bent over to unhook the fly and all of a sudden the water directly under my nose erupted. There just two feet below my nose was a giant brown trout blasting out of its hide in that small under cut.  It literally slammed into my hands as it darted out. This hiding giant was all of thirty inches long and its colors were amazing.  The dark brown spots were etched into the side of this bronze colored beast. 

 It swished its tail and towards my legs it went. The next thing I knew there was a pain in my right ankle. This monster had blasted into my ankle and was stunned for half a second and then got it wits about it and that huge tail torpedoed it between my legs.

The guy in the water watched as it motor boated past him in twelve inches of water with its back nearly out of the water.  The second guy on the bank followed it downstream for 100 yards.  He wanted to try casting to it when it calmed down.  I told him a big smart trout would not bite again soon but we both went downstream with him to watch him try. He eventually gave up when the monster disappeared.

We fished the stretch again two hours later with no takers.  I visited the stretch the minimum of twenty five times that year with no ankle slammers found.  I love memory lane on cold snowy days like these. Warm April and May days cannot come fast enough.

February 28, 2016

Guest Post Doug H

Been reading your stuff and I'll tell you'll buy that fishing license and stamp this year again just like you always have and that'll be the end of it.

I am 64 and have plates and screws in my neck and lower back. I have a stent somewhere in my chest, spent 35 years working steel in a factory, and carry a flip phone so that EMS might find my carcass before the crows do in the event I drop dead on the stream some where.

You will do what people like us do. Get out there and enjoy whatever portion of the experience we are still able to pursue.

My wife has MS and I find myself in the role of nearly full time caregiver now. The last few years of reasonable freedom in my life took me on camp trips that sub consciously revolved around doing the things and going to the places I suspected in the back of my mind..............I might soon not be able to get to again.

A trip to the end of the Gun Flint Trail and a kayak paddle onto Seagull lake were finally crossed off my bucket list. The road back took me to a stop at the Copper Range campground on the Brule river...................a place I've camped and fished since 1970.

My camps to Day, Mineral, and Beaver lakes in the Clam Lake area were also hit in the last few years since I wondered if I'd be back there again in this life. I spent an evening on Juniper Rock overlook on the North Country Trail where I have directed the ashes of my carcass be spread when I die. I paddled lake Superior and camped above a steelhead pool at a county park just outside Washburn one more time.

I do not know if I'll ever set up another tent, throw another bucktail at a musky face, hike the trail to Juniper Rock, or wade the Brule in spring when the lake is still iced over and the lingering snow on the ground keeps the camp beer cold.

Now...............having said that, I am certain I will be buying a trout stamp again this year. Our cabin near Ferryville is not the north woods. There are no loons or bears and the smell of pine forest is absent. I expect to not cross trails with wolves like I've done fishing on the Potato River.

What we do have is a comfortable place near Ferryville that both wife and I love and has become our second home for more than 100 days a year these past 15 years. It is there I will continue to do what I am able to do with the free time I am able to scare up. Small mouth bass and morels in the spring. Trail hikes over at "*&^%$" creek bluff or "OT%*&#" creek in the fall.

Bluegills snapping on a kayak paddle down below or an afternoon beer at rivers edge at Blackhawk watching boats go by.

Then there the other thing. A misty morning down the hill on any one of the trout streams I now call my home waters. Last season I was not able to trout fish till early September. When I did get out, my first cast sent a floating rapala down a narrow ribbon of water and around the bend where I couldn't see it. I waited, flipped the bail, and twitched the rod tip. Bam! Fish on. My first trout of the year was a 22 inch hook jawed beauty........... I kept it for the smoker. I kept 2 other trout last season. I released many big guys to grow and be caught this year. I missed or saw many others. I only got out to fish 3 or 4 times but I could not have asked for more if I'd fished every week since the opening.

 We do what we do and I hope you do what you have always done because its what people like us are and is what we seem to need in order to remain grounded in what's real and important.

Years ago you sent me on a trip to "%$#@!" creek as it was never listed in any of the trout books as trout water.  Bring a camera you wrote. I did. Since then I've done my fair share of exploring around the neighborhood and while I may not set up camp at Brule again, I will get what I need in a way I can do it in a place that is just as special and within my capabilities.

Be well.


Krzysztof Drozd At It Again!!

The warm weather brought Krzysztof up from the Lake Zurich, Illinois area to fish some of Grant County's streams this weekend.

He was exclusively throwing small stick baits on this outing.

 This giant female brookie liked what he was throwing.

The browns were active also.

He finished the outing with this "HOG" female brown.

The streams were running a little stained but the trout were eager.