2013: The Year in 9:04

2013.  Another year of getting closer still to the true meaning of fly fishing.  Last year, we brought you the written story.  This year, we bring you the filmed story.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the Driftless scenery and trout as the words of Dave Matthews Band and Coldplay drift through your speakers.

Life is great.  Do what you like.  Like what you do.

Happiness is the Truth!

Spirit Streams

After The Rain, Take I & II – May 26-27, 2013

  • Stream Location: WI Driftless
  • Air Temperature: 56 °F
  • Water Temperature: 52°F
  • Other Conditions: Rainy, overcast, discolored water
  • Distance Hiked: 4 miles
  • What Worked Best: The Red Storm


That clean, crisp, fresh feeling.  You know, that “after the rain” feel/smell.  It’s that window of time that really opens your senses and frees your mind.  We’ve been getting hit with a lot of precipitation and this Memorial Day weekend was no different.


The rain was coming down at a good clip on Sunday, May 26.  I waited it out for a bit and loaded my gear in the car in preparation for some stream action at the first break.  Arriving at the stream around 3:00 in the afternoon, the rain had slowed and no one claimed my targeted section of choice.  I proceeded to throw on the waders, strap up the boots, position the sling pack, situate the lanyard, and head to the first pool.


Stripping out some excess line, I made my first cast of the day; sending The Red Storm to the opposite bank and allowing it to work within the prime zones.  A sharp, quick strike followed by another sharp, quick strike.  After the first couple misses, I connected on a healthy Driftless brown.  A lot of action in this first pool.


I continued to head upstream and targeted all the trout-holding pools out of this familiar prime stream section.  Every single pool resulted in several sharp, quick strikes of missed trout but also a lot of sharp, quick strikes that turned into brown after brown held in my hand and released back into the stream.  The action was absolutely amazing.


The water was definitely discolored due to the rain, which continued to fall but very lightly.  The shimmer from the chenille covered hook shank and glowing red collar of The Red Storm proved to be the perfect pattern for these stream conditions.  It attracted the trout so much that I don’t think they could resist devouring this dessert-of-a-meal.


Working upstream, I came to the herd of cattle grazing across this pasture.  Many of the cows with calves close to their side, some couldn’t be any older than a week old.  As I covered one of my favorite holes, one calf separated from its mother and came close to the opposite stream bank.  It’s curiosity with my rod waving in the air seemed to grow by the second.  I think he would have stood there and watched inquisitively for the remainder of the night if it wasn’t for the familiar call of his mother after the 10-minute show.


Arriving at the end of the targeted stream section, I retraced my steps and arrived back at the car.  I left all the gear in my car, so it was ready to roll for tomorrow.  The morning came and I was able to invest 1 1/2 hours on the stream during late morning with plans to hit it again later in the afternoon.  The grass was wet, the rain was misting, and the trout were biting.


The same exact Red Storm was left onto the end of my line that I used during the prior evening and the same exact results were achieved.  One sharp, quick strike after another.  One healthy looking Driftless Brown after another.  It was good, really good.


After getting in a solid, quick rush of fly fishing this morning, we turned around a few hours later and got in a good encore amongst the falling rain that seemed to just keep coming and coming.  We went back to the same stream, but covered a different section upstream.  I still had the same Red Storm tied on, not having lost it or becoming destroyed from the multitude of trout.  The longevity of this fly under immense beatings just adds the cherry to the top to this very effective fly pattern.


During or after the rain.  It didn’t matter.  The air was crisp.  The mind was free.  The lines were tight.  The trout were bountiful.  All three outings during this 27-hour span were unbelievable.  I forget, did I even get wet?


Postscript:  Make sure to check out our video recently added on our YouTube Channel of this May 26, 2013 outing!


Spirit Streams


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Native Brookie Dreamin’ – May 4, 2013

  • Stream Location: WI
  • Conditions: Sunny, no wind, perfect day
  • Distance Hiked: 3 miles
  • What Worked Best: Nymphs early, dries the majority of the day


The first Saturday in May.  The beginning of the Wisconsin Trout Regular Season.  No, we didn’t keep any but traditionally this day has served an important purpose throughout my life.  It all began just before my 5th birthday, when my dad took me out for my first opening day of trout season.  The weapon of choice is a little different today (flies) than it was when I was five, but the purpose always remains the same.  My dad, me, trout, and the absorbing and pristine environment that only trout live in.


It’s been a decent number of years where our stream of choice on the opening day of regular season has been one of the all-time finest native brook trout streams you’d lay your eyes on.  Not only are the brook trout full of vibrant colors, but the environment surrounding this stream is very unique.  As you make your way along the stream, you’ll be jumping from bog to bog amongst the marsh and plethora of small feeders.  The water is extremely clear and there is little cover alongside the stream banks which means stealth and effective fly placement is critical.



We began the same as in years past, hiking toward the headwaters then making the decent into the stream valley.  We began covering the stream with a careful approach and placing our flies near either side of the bank, knowing the little gems would be hiding underneath the banks for cover.  The minute you land your first native brook trout, is the minute you realize the worth of this stream.  As my dad said, “Catch one and the whole trip was worth it.”  How true that is.  You will sit and admire the richness and absolute purity that these brook trout radiate.  Then you’ll take in the diverse, unique, and pristine environment that it takes to sustain these gems.  Yep, all it takes is one.


Continuing to cover the sidewalk-width sized stream, we realized great success capturing the native brookies.  One of my favorite challenges with this stream is making a good 15+ yard cast with a dry fly and enticing a brook trout to take.  With the meander and small width of this stream, this proves to be difficult but I had the pleasure of meeting this challenge a handful of times today.


Jumping from bog to bog as you cover the stream just adds to the experience.  Make one poor step and you could be sinking and sinking very fast.  It honestly almost feels like quicksand and today there was one instance where I was sucked in knee length but managed to escape out.  As you can imagine, it is quite the workout come day’s end but oh so totally worth it.




We left this stream with the same feeling as we had in years past.  Feeling rejuvenated, alive, free, in awe, and amazed with the picturesque environment because each time always feels like the first.  Yes, another successful opening day for my dad and I…and many more to come.


Spirit Streams


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