So not really a fishing post, but it's been a while and I didn't want you all to forget about me. So for Christmas, I asked Santa Clause to talk my brother into bringing his suitcase of pain tattoo equipment home. So Santa did, and "B" brought home his Needles of terrortools of the trade, and I now have more ink. Check it out!
Yin Yang Trout with a Japanese kanji symbol meaning "little treasure" on my arm. This was inspired by a painting I had seen at a restaurant we stopped at for lunch out west on one of my Montana fishing trips.
The other one I had done on my leg was from a Chinese scroll painting that I saw years ago and fell in love with it's eye catching simplicity. This particular image of the black and red koi according to Chinese symbolism means Success. Additionally, In Buddhist thought, fish represent freedom. The enlightened state of Buddhism allows for unrestrained movement in the world, you will not be held back by life's illusions. Not to mention, it's just cool looking.
Saturday morning, the Jen and I left home about 4:30am to chase steelhead up north. It was pretty overcast, and windy, but the rain didn't start until 2pm. We were on the water fishing by 8am, and generally enjoying the day. Jen snagged one in the rear pectoral fin and it gave her a pretty good fight. When it got close enough to net, about the same time that I spotted how it was hooked, the steelhead turned down river into the rapids and broke off. It was gone, with a very upset Jen on the other end! On the ride up we had mentioned that we need to start landing more of these guys. Guess we were foiled again. We messed around on a few other spots throughout the day, and then drove down river to a different stretch of water. About a half hour in, I hooked into a steelhead and it fought pretty good until it jumped out of the water and spit the egg fly out at me. Seriously! We really need to start landing these things! The only things landed were three smolt I caught, and well....that's not exactly what we were looking for.
The three of us ended the day at the Twin Gables for supper, with a quick stop into the Kro. But the long day got the best of us and we were sawing logs by 9:30pm, maybe it was 9pm. Either way, it was way early by our usual standards.
We arrived to our first choice anglers parking lot, but it was full, so we headed down river a couple spots and found a pretty empty parking lot that I expected to be full. So we wadered up and headed down to the river in the drizzle. It pretty much rained constantly all day, classic steelhead weather. We found Peter at the first place we went to. He insisted Jen and I take a few casts so we of course did. Peter laid out a bet that we would buy a shot for whoever caught the first steelhead. Within ten minutes, the Jenorator hooked and lost a steelhead and then landed a very nice and chunky 22" brown trout. Guess she won the bet!
About mid-day and a few spots later, the three of us were fishing a spot when two guys we saw earlier walked by. Which meant that their fishing spot was open, so Peter hopped up to try his luck and he did pretty good. He hooked into two steelhead with in minutes of each other, but wasn't able to land either. Jen was no longer the only person on the board now. :) There was hope for the guys! Which was nice, cause the spot we had just spent 45 minutes fishing and chatting with guy had ended the convesation with "I've never seen anyone land a steelhead here, and I've been coming up here since the fifties." It would have been nice of him to mention that earlier, but I guess he liked company. Anyway, maybe those two fish wouldn't have been there for Peter had we just skipped the steelhead-less hole and not chatted with the nice ol chap.
We moved on to another angler's lot, Jen and I went to one spot, and Peter went to check out another favorite hole he wanted to fish. I hooked one about a half hour in, but it wasn't able to get a good hook set and I lost it about ten seconds into the fight. Didn't they get the memo? We are supposed to be landing these things! In the last two hours of light, I tried to coax another strike by calling the steelhead "chickenshits" and making various clucking sounds at the river in front of me. Trying my best to taunt them, the Jenorator just shook her head at me and kept casting her fly. I guess it didn't work, because I didn't get anymore action before dark. They were too afraid to battle me I guess.
We hung up the wet waders, soggy clothes and changed into dry cloths, and the three of us met up with Mike, Rob, and Kurt in Iron River. Mike took us over to Deep Lake Lodge for dinner, and we knew it would be a good place when they had the bartender yelling at the tv. Yup, the Packer/Viking game was on, the bartender was openly biased. Jen was happy. The menu was awesome too, if you are in the area, you must stop by and try them out. The Blueberry ribs were very good, and everyone else's choice looked great as well. Mike had the hot hand, he landed five of six steelhead! Way to go Mike! Show off. ;)
Egg flies still seemed to be what they were hitting on. The water was clouding up pretty good and slowly rising. I took a temperature reading of 44 degrees on Sunday. The rain was much needed as the guy in town said it had been 22 days since the last rain.
Next week, we are going up again, and hopefully landing some steelhead for a change! I'll keep you posted.
We came, we fished, we've had better successes. The higher numbers of fish that I had hoped for failed to produce for the club outing. But that didn't stop the gang from having lots of fun on a great fall weekend!
Jen and I went against our normal pattern and after a late night at the Kro, and short night at the hotel, we found ourselves fishing a little after 7am. Which proved to be a good for both of us, as most of our hookup's for the weekend happened before 10:30am. Jen lost a nice one after a long battle, I made the choice to touch the leader and snap it to save the steelhead. It had taken her into a tough spot between two trees into deeper water. It was that or kill the steelie. We were majorly disappointed, but soon after we had another strike, then we gave up the spot to a Andy and his friend. We had our fun, so why not share it.
It wasn't till the five o'clock hour that I had tied into another steelie, but it made short work of me and the line went slack. Damn it! Oh well. What were the taking this weekend you ask. Pretty much the everything seem to be on yarn flies this time. Earlier in the afternoon I pulled a bone headed move and walked off the plank bridge at one parking lot as I wasn't paying attention at all to where I was walking. Now I have a nasty rug burn on my elbow from it as well as both my knees now sore and bruised. Beautifull, that will match perfectly with the popped blister on my toe and broken eye glasses.
The evening was crazy with everyone back at the cabin, and with the addition of several visitors, there was a lot of excitement and conversations. Chef Tony had been working on Supper since noon according to Rick and Rayanne, and it was pretty much the full Thanksgiving spread. When I went to drop Jen off at the motel before going over to the Kro, I bumped into Peter. We shot the breeze for a bit, and shared the news of our groups general lack of success. I also gave him some of my "secret" colored yarn for him to tie up some egg flies with, and wished him luck for the next days fishing.
I haven't heard yet how the fishing went for the gang on Sunday, but look forward to hopefully hearing some good news at this weeks club meeting.
Next up, a three day weekend on the river is coming up and hopefully some more stories to share. Oh, and did I mention that a couple weeks ago that I caught a muskie on a fly rod? Well, I did!!
Beep beep beep, whack the snooze button! Beep beep beep, whack the snooze button! Two hours later of that, and we got up and raced out the door at 6:30am last Sunday. We were out the night before celebrating at a friends wedding reception and may have been enjoying ourselves a little bit more then the anticipated 3 hours of sleep could have cured.
Jen and I headed up North to chase steelhead for two days. Jen was really antsy to get up there and to cure her steelhead fever, which I found really amusing. She had the fever bad!
We got our trout pants on and were in the water by 10:30am. It was warmer then it usually is as was noted by something I normally don’t run into while fishing for steelhead. MOSQUITO'S! Anyway, we headed to a spot we knew to try our luck and within two hours, the Jen-orator had hooked a steelhead. I was one hole down from her chatting with Mother Fieker when we heard yelling through the woods from her direction. We ran up the trail to see what was going on and Jen was in mid fight with her opponent! She worked it perfectly to the net and it was a NICE 26” Buck with all the dark red colors on the cheek and sides. It was awesome! We popped the flask for shot in celebration, and I had a cigar on her behalf, and it was only 12:30p!
We simmered down and got back to business fishing. Jen had a heck of day, as she had many more takes and battles, (eight in all) but wasn’t able to get them under control and landed. I admit that by early evening I was getting green and agitated as I hadn’t had so much as a head-shake while she was getting all that action. But about 5pm, I had a steelhead strike, I set the hook and it was landed after some serious racing in both directions up and down the river and several acrobatics in the air. I was just along for the ride and had little control over where it wanted to be. It was a 22" bright silver steelie. I was feeling much better after that. We fished a bit longer then went back to the truck just before dark. As for what they were biting on, they were hitting nymphs and eggs pretty much equally. We changed into some dry clothes at the Brule Motel, and then headed over to the "Other Place" bar and grill for supper and cocktails with Mother Fieker.
Sunday was a little different flavor. Jen caught lots of snags, trees, and frustration. She hadn't had single hit to add to her frustration. I missed a couple, and then when fishing one of the tougher spots I know with a lot of snags, I hooked into a Steelhead. And she like going downstream....Alot! Every time I reeled in the line to get it close, she would shoot down river again. I ended up wading after it a good ways until I could get it beached. Another fresh chrome, this one being about 24 inches and heavy.
I really like fighting these guys! We fished a bit more then called it half way through. We had a good weekend and knew we'd be back again in four days with the club thinking the peak of the run is yet to come! If only thier run lasted the whole year!
I left early morning and headed southeast to Vernon county to close out the inland trout season. There was much uncertainty the night before at the Fly Angler trying to decide where to go since so many rivers have been impacted with all the rain, but I rolled my dice to see what I would find. I rolled into Viroqua, WI and headed straight to the Driftless Angler fly shop for some local intel. The guy at the shop was way helpful with where to go, where to avoid, and what the hot flies were. Turns out the rivers North of town were cloudy to blown-out and the rivers south of town were clearing up really well.
A total of twenty minutes spent at the shop and I was out the door to my first destination where I rigged up my 4wt bamboo rod for the occasion. That day, with no exageration, I caught close to fifty brookies and browns. Mostly all the fish were caught on nymphs. The 15-20 wind pretty much blew out the Blue Wing Olives that were around and killed any hopes for a little dry fly action. There was one rocket of a trout that shot out for the ant pattern I threw. He managed to take my line over a big branch sticking out of the water, so when I crossed the stream to "save the trout" I blew a perfectly nice pool only to find that the trout attached my hook to the branch and had left before I got there. The tricky little bastard conned me. So not only was he not there to save, but now I had to wait a while for the fish to return to the pool.
At the end of the day, I set up camp and then went to town for a great German beer at Chilito Lindo, the local Mexican restaurant, run by a frazzled Asian girl. I know, odd three-way combination, but it all seemed to work out okay. Especially since my order was messed up the least by the cooks. They must have been new. I returned to camp shortly after and fell asleep to the sound of the Amish horse and buggy traffic driving through town near the campground.
I woke up in the tent to mid 30's accompanied by pretty damp surroundings. Nice! I packed up the site then made breakfast of oatmeal and peanut butter sandwich in make-shift cheap plastic water bottle. That didn't go too well, I don't recommend making oatmeal in cheap bottles. It kinda shriveled up and didn't mix as well as I thought it would. Lesson learned I guess. Oh and the cheap spoons I commandeered the night before from the gas station doesn't work too hot either when they were heated up by the boiling water.
Anyway, I found and paid the nice lady for using the campground and for my new membership to the West Fork Sportsman's Club. After shooting the breeze with her for a bit I headed fifteen minutes West to fish, where I caught a really beautiful fall brookie that made my trip that measured twelve inches in a very hard place to fish with crystal clear water on a pink squirrel.
I moved on to another river 45 minutes East towards home and had a blast catching a bunch of browns, picking one to two fish out of a pocket of water, then moving up river to the next pocket for one to two more. I did this pattern of "run-n-gun" a good ways up the river till evening. When I was at the bridge earlier deciding whether to fish up stream or down stream, I noticed two signs down stream. The one closest to me stating that it was open to the public for fishing, and the one back further stating "Beware of Bull." Some land owner had a sick sense of humor. Since I wasn't armed with a meat grinder or hamburger bun for a Bull-encounter, I thought it best to fish the other side of the bridge upstream. I jetted home at the end of the day completely happy. I stopped in for dinner at the St. Paul Fly Tier's meeting at Schroeder's Bar & Grill and reported the great fishing I had enjoyed to some buddies.
After a less then satisfying day at work, I headed up to Peters cabin in Northern Wisconsin
met up within ten minutes of his arrival, we settled in, set up our fly tying vises and cocktails and tied Steelhead flies until late while catching up and swapping stories.
Peter made a great fisherman's breakfast with the added bonus of some good tea that I brewed up. We were out the door an hour later to our meeting point with Wendy from the Hayward Fly Fishing Company for a day on the Flambeau River chasing muskies.
Peter spent a little time with his special technique of casting flies in the trees, but that didn't slow him down from catching three muskies. Must be some secret there I don't yet understand. I caught my first muskie ever. It was about 32" on a 9wt rod with a big 6" black and orange puglisi fly. I got to keep the fly in honor of the occasion too! It was a fun fight and I could hardly believe that it was finally going to happen. The next thing I knew we had it in the net in the boat and my camera was Peters hands. Way cool! The weather conditions were pretty unstable, there were spurts of rain and heavier wind gusts with the sun shining at the same time for most of the day. Wendy is always fun to spend a day with, and did I mention that I caught my first muskie?!
We returned back to the cabin to pack up the muskie stuff that we used to catch my first muskie, then I converted some stuff over to for Sundays fishing trip to the Brule River for Steelhead. Once that was done, we celebrated at the local supper club with some cocktails, local micro brews (appropriately named "Mouthy Muskie Light", and the "Crappie Flopper"), animated discussion of various subjects, including each of us writing down on napkins the species of fish we had caught this season. It was a fun mojo thing. Peter kinda kicked my ass in that department as my count was 13 different species this year and his count was 23 or 24 species. For the record though, he did have a minnow marked down on his list.
We moved on back to the cabin and with a little inspiration from our celebrating, some "interesting" flies were tied and then we talked ourselves into retiring for the evening so that we would be ready for more fishing the next day. And maybe spend some time dreaming of the Muskie that I caught.
With the fading smell of the muskie slime on my hands from my first muskie, we packed our stuff up and closed the cabin down as we were not returning. We arrived in Brule, WI where we stopped first to look at a potential fishing cabin in town that was listed at an attractive enough price for me to actually think about it seriously. It could pass for a nice fishing cabin, but it is in the middle of town, which could be both good and not so good. After a quick inspection we headed to the river to try our luck fishing.
The morning started out slow, but it was beautiful. We had seen a ton of turkeys everywhere we drove over the past two days and the fall colors were putting on a show for us. It was perfect fall weather in Wisconsin. We decided to drive to a different location which proved to be the right thing to do. Peter landed a 22" chrome Steelhead mid morning on a caddis nymph and I had missed my first take of the season, which made me confident that I was doing something right and that they were in there.
The very few people we ran into said they hadn't had any luck, which wasn't encouraging, but
in the last hour of light of the day on the third stretch of the Brule further down river, I "got on the dance floor" as Peter put it. I briefly caught and fought a Steelhead long enough for it to launch clear out of the river and spit my fly back at me. I am pretty sure he stuck up his middle fin at me too while laughing at me. And that was pretty much the end of the action for the day. We changed out of our waders at the local gas station and headed for home very happy with ourselves.
With the streams being muddy last weekend, I had opted to socialize a bit. Saturday morning I attended the annual Bamboo rod makers gathering in Martel, Wisconsin. About 20 people or more came together for the event and the weather was great. Met some new people and saw some old friends. Steve Yasgur was on the grill serving up tasty burgers for everyone to add to the fun.
After spending most of the morning and early afternoon there, I moved on for a beer at my pub (The MainStreeter) in River Falls, WI before attending the Northern Driftless Area River Gala presented by Kinni Creek Lodge & Outfitters. The hosts Paige Olson, Bob White, Andy Roth, and Kip Vieth did an excellent job putting this together. A special gift for all to enjoy at the event around the cozy campfire were many flavors and endless supply of beer provided by the Rush River Brewery. That was fun sampling the various flavors they had to offer. While this was only scheduled to go to 10pm, many hung around later then that sharing stories and laughs.
I have the next two days off for the last two days of inland trout season. I plan to hit the road early and hope that the reports of clearing rivers in Wisconsin hold true, since SE MN is pretty much out of the question with the recent flood activity. Some snacks, the tent, sleeping bag, fleece, waders, and a few maps are all packed up. More importantly, I just hope to find some hungry trout and enjoy this great fall weather.
The original plan for this past weekend was to go to SE MN and go trout fishing with the club. But, I was easily talked into going fishing on the North Shore by Jay and Ben as the pink salmon run was on!
Long story short, we joined up with the Canadian, and Jay's crew (Adam, Jesse, and occasionally Tony) North of Duluth after having a great continental breakfast at the Lander B&B.
Jen and I caught our first Pink Salmon, adding another species to our fish list. We caught so many fish our arms were truly tired by the end of the weekend. We are guessing that between just Jen and I, that we caught around one hundred pinks. And I am pretty sure we were the slackers of the bunch. Several times we had five of the six of us with fish on at once. Total Craziness!
We had dinner Saturday night at the Gun Flint Tavern in Grand Marias with Tony, and then we camped ON the beach of Lake superior, set up tents in the dark, had some beer around the campfire and then woke up to a spectacular vista. And then, more fishing. In total, we fished five rivers over two days.
Last Saturday Ed called me up to go fly fishing on the Kinni and of course I said "you betcha." We had about 4 hours of fishing in before the rain pushed us off. I caught a handfull of browns using small streamers, and Ed caught a trout on a fly he tied, which was a first for him. Way to go buddy, keep at it! It was my first time down to the Kinni since the high waters and you can see some obvious changes to the river, not all bad either, except that we didn't catch anything over 10" long.
As we were getting out of our waders at the truck, it started raining really good, which was about the same time that Ed realized he had misplaced his cell phone. We looked quickly before giving up betting that it was somewhere inside the truck. We then headed back into town to the Mainstreeter for lupper as the rain poored down. By the time we were done eating, the rain was done. With one more look through everything inside the truck to find Ed's phone, I spotted it...on the roof of my Toyota. The miracle wasn't that it was there after driving into town from the fisherman's parking lot, it was that after all that rain, it still worked!
Yesterday, the Canadian and I went back to the Kinni for the evening and fished till dark. Between the two of us, Ben caught the first, biggest, and most fish, by landing the one and only trout for the evening. Even the worm dunker that was fishing below us was not catching anything. Odd, he must have bought the cheap live bait. We ran into a few people with nothing much significant caught, with the exception of one guy. He said he caught sixteen fish. Show off or liar, I can't decide which. He, for what it's worth, said that he was using grey scud patterns. hmm, the one fly in the kitchen sink I didn't throw in the water. Go figure. At our debriefing over supper at the Mainstreeter in River Falls, we decided to try fishing again Sunday on a stretch of river Ben knew of in southern Minnesota.
Ben served up some great Sweadish pancakes and jam for breakfast. FABULOUS! Then he and Jen and I left Amy behind, and headed out the door to see what the fishing would bring us. With the one minor issue of back tracking bit to a local DNR license agent after realizing that when Jen bought her MN fishing license at the Fly Angler this morning before drinking her coffee that she forgot to add the trout stamp. REALLY GIRL? REALLY? GEEZ!! So I got over my minor aneurysm, and she bought her trout stamp and we continued on to trout country. Which, by the way, we did see a Conservation Officer driving around several times. He never stopped to chat with us. Dang, he could have seen Jen's brand new shiny unused trout stamp! Just kidding Jen. Kinda.
We fished for half a day and then decided to pull the plug. It was pretty damn hot, especially wandering in the woods in waders with our sleeves rolled down to the wrist due to the amount of stinging nettles around. It was a bright blue bird day and not a single cloud in the sky for cover. To add to the day, the trout didn't get the memo we were coming to play as they were not really active or feeding. I caught three brookies, Ben caught one brown, and poor Jen caught none (must have been the bad trout-karma for her earlier "trout stamp incident"). One of the brookies I caught was on one of my latest wet fly concept patterns that stayed up until 5am tying this past Friday night. (Note to Yaz: it was the black/silver variation of the flies I gave you on Saturday).
Even with the fishing not being on fire for us the past week, I have hopes that this coming weekend will get better. The forecast is optimistic, with temperatures easing back a bit, and as the end of inland trout season comes nearer, the trout gods need give up something for us to reflect on during the upcoming winter.
Jen and I got back late Saturday night from a week on the Bighorn River in Montana. We had a great time with a nice group of fellow fly fisherman, about 16 or so. The trip was booked through Scott Struif at The Fly Angler.
On the way out to the Bighorn, we stopped in Miles City, MT Friday night and I gave Jen the nickle tour of the town starting with a bite to eat at the Chop House, and then the favorite saloons in the area. Jen got the whole "cowboy bar" experience with tin ceilings, huge wood bars and lots of cowboy hats. But the streak was broken, it was the first time we hadn't been invited out to someone's ranch to shoot prairie dogs, not that I ever accepted but it always seemed to happen out there. I am glad we went out because the local road construction crew had decided to use the Motel 6 that we stayed at as their party grounds. They were whooping it up pretty good all night long.
We arrived at Cottonwood camp on Saturday and settled in for the week. I talked to Thor and gathered a little intel on what the current fishing conditions had been, what was working and what we thought would work the next day. The predominant hatches were hoppers, black caddis and tan mottled caddis as we had expected before coming out there.
The week was a hot one, we had two days out there that broke the 100 degree mark, but the evenings cooled down enough so that everyone could spend time outside the "Condo" sharing stories and hanging out. A number of former Berger Brothers employees and Alaskan guides were in our group, so we learned a bit about the interesting times they had and people they had met back in the day. I bumped into Jim and Sharon who were out for a few days of fishing and was able to do a little catching up with them since I had last seen them. And if you are reading this ANDERSON, Jim says he is into oil now and is becoming an "Oil Magnate." Jen, Peter and I did spend one evening at the River Run Dining Room attached to the Bighorn Trout Shop, a fine dining establishment that served us a wonderful meal, and met a very nice guest that had also been fishing the river for the week. It was his 27th year doing so!
The hopper action turned up on the second half of the week, while the dry fly fishing was slow. Big Morrish hoppers and the green or tan Rainys Hopper patterns proved to be very effective. Indicator nymph fishing turned out to be the most productive for the week with the Tan or Grey Ray Charles #18 being the most consistent producer, along with the hothead tan sowbug. This was the first time I had been in MT where the size of the fish caught didn't live up to their billing. We averaged 14-16" fish, while on past trips I've caught plenty in the 20s".
One day during the week we were invited to join a small group led by one of the former Alaskan guides, Kelly, to drive out to the Tongue river to fish for cutthroats and that made for a nice break in the week as well as adding another species of fish caught to my fish list; bringing me to a total of 42 different species I've caught. Though the drive was longer than expected (with more road construction), it offered the opportunity for us to add WY to the list of states we've fished in this year.
The place we went to was very scenic and had plenty of fish to be caught. It was a crazy sensory overload for me! There were elk, moose, cows, high valley's cold stream water, and lots of different hatches all going on at once. It was your classic advertisement out of some glossy outdoors magazine that makes you day dream. I caught mostly cuts and rainbows, Jen also caught a cutbow on top of that. Peter pulled out the Tongue Grand Slam, catching cuts, rainbows, cutbow, and a brookie! I hope to go back to that river again someday.
Jen and I finished up the week on the Bighorn with numbers of fish caught significantly better then the first half. On the down side, Kelly's truck broke down, and had "forced" some of the boys to extend there vacation until parts came in on Monday for it to be fixed. I bet they are coping with the situation pretty well.
Last weekend Jen and I headed up to Peter's cabin to meet up with boys. The boys being the same ones I went fly fishing in Mexico with a couple years back (Peter, Mike, and David). With some planning and working around everyone's schedule we were able to get everyone together for a mid summer bass weekend.
Everyone arrived Friday evening and we were all energized and had some catching up to do. It was great to see everyone together. Some beverages and stories were exchanged and few hours later we had a "game plan" formulated for the next day and then we headed off to bed.
Saturday we loaded up the canoe and removed the motor from the john boat after breakfast, then headed over to our launch on the Chippewa river. Jen, Mike and David started down river in the John boat, while Peter and I got our lines wet just up river for a few minutes before drifting down. We floated for a couple of hours, had a break for lunch and then resumed fishing. The flavor of the day seemed to be poppers of whatever color, except for Jen. She caught, landed and released her first smallie on a rabbit strip lead eyed streamer. The smile in her picture says it all! This was her first time fishing for them and her first time floating down a river. So it was a pretty fun day for her.
At the end of the float we had a few sprinkles and just as we got every thing packed up, the rain started up for the rest of the evening. Great timing on our part!
We headed on back to the cabin. When the rain subsided, we grabbed the fly rods and fished the lake for a couple of hours. After sunset, we had a great spaghetti dinner and shared some fun stories.
Sunday, the boys headed out after some great blueberry pancakes to the lake to fish for some pike and bass, while Jen and I stayed in. I ended up injuring my back the day before while rushing to get the canoe on top of the Yukon and was dealing with the consequences. They had some luck, and after a good power nap was ready for the drive home.
I know it's been a while since I've posted anything, and I apologize for that. Since my last post I've been out to Montana and fished the DuPuy's Spring Creek as well as the Big Horn River for a two week vacation. Jen and I have been out fly fishing a couple of times chasing bass and pan fish. We both acquired a bicycle and fly rod each. Mine is still be built as of this post. We've also had a lot of weekends with family for both good and not so good circumstances.
On our latest adventure, we booked a weekend with Chad and Sarah in Duluth, MN and had a lot of fun. Friday we packed up our stuff in our new 2005 Toyota Highlander that we bought on Monday after too many repair bills on the Tahoe with no end in sight, and headed up to Duluth. A quick two hours later, we jumped out of our SUV, and into Chad's with his boat ready to go. We stopped for gas and then launched for nice evening cruise on VERY calm waters. The view from the lake was spectacular. You couldn't have planned better weather then what we had for the ride.
Saturday morning the four of us headed over to the Brule River Canoe Rental for a bit of kayaking on the Brule river. And boy were they busy, as a couple of large groups had showed up on thier doorsteps pretty much wiping out all their canoes and kayaks. Luckily Chad had reserved our kayaks the day before. It had been a few years since I've last kayaked, but got back into the swing of things pretty quickly. The scenery was nice, and again the weather was very cooperative. We were greeted, or rather scowled at by a couple of eagles in the trees above. And then we had some close-up contact with a couple of does. I think the black flies must have driven them out as they really didn't care that we were only a couple of paddle lengths away from them.
Further down stream we floated by an odd scene of five women doing yoga on their riverside dock. And along the way was a C.O. that scared the crap out of me sitting on a rock stream side. I think he was counting canoes and kayaks. At least that would explain why he had a table in his hand that he was looking at as we passed by. The girls ended up ahead of us and that worked out okay for us to just chat and catch up with each other. The trip was supposed to be 4 hours, but we finished in 3.5 hours, even with the flow of the river being low.
To reward ourselves we headed back to Fitgers Brewery and dived into some great wild rice burgers smothered in mushrooms & cheese, sweet potato fries, and frosty mugs of Big Boat Oatmeal Stout beer (of which I ended up buying a growler of to take home with me). I love that beer! We wrapped up the day with a few other activities and then checked the weather for the next day before going to bed.
Sunday we slept in a bit. Jen and I hadn't slept well in like five days, but the spare bed in Chad and Sarah's house fixed that both nights. We slept very well and it was hard to tell ourselves to get up and not sleep the day away. Eventually, we did get up and get going. Today's agenda was to add a couple of miles to the bicycles on the Munger Trail. Which, coincidentally, ended right at the house. The rain had stopped, the sun came out along with a light breeze. Another perfect day for our plans. I recommend taking a ride/hike/run/walk or what ever on the Munger trail. It was very nicely groomed, and if like looking at scenic views or going through what feels like old woods without too much effort, this is a must do. The very curvy drive up to our drop off spot was fun scenic too.
Over all it was a very relaxing time, which Jen and I really needed.