Sunday, November 20, 2011


After spending several hours in the initial attempt to straighten out the Fly-tying/man-room last night, and waking up to fresh snow this morning I definitely have trout on my mind.  So I just thought I would send out a post with a couple of reminders.

Fly Tying related:
As winter sets in and we restock our fly boxes, keep in mind that the St. Paul Fly Tier's meet every week on Thursday nights at Schroeder's Bar & Grill in St. Paul.  It's great way to get out of the house, socialize, and keep you motivated in your fly tying.
The Fly Angler has a variety of Tying Classes you can sign up for during the winter months to develop those skills of yours.  They also have been hosting an "open tying" night once a month where you can bring your own vice and materials to tie whatever you want in the company of other like minded fisherman.  And if you forget something, they probably can sell ya whatcha need right there. 

Fishing related:
If you are getting twitchy, there's always a trip down to Iowa where the fishing season never closes.  Otherwise the MN Winter catch-and-release season opens to a select number of rivers on January 1st.

For the love of the trout:
I know the past couple of years have had a bumpy road financially for the nation, but don't take it out on the trout.  Personally, my donations this year have been significantly less then in years past however they have been more strategically picked.  So I limited myself to only three or four organizations/causes rather then a dozen that were a little lower on my social responsibility radar.   
1) December 8th, 2011 from 6-10pm is the Annual Holiday Dinner and Fund Raising Banquet for the Kiap-Tu-Wish chapter of Trout unlimited.  Buy tickets in advance and save a few dollars so that you can spend it on the silent auction!  This can be an excellent opportunity to pick up a Christmas gift for that special fly fisherman on your list.  Hope to see you there!
2) February 11th, 2012 is the Annual fund raising event for the Twin Cities chapter of Trout Unlimited.  This has been a a great "Date Night" in years past for my wife and I, loaded with tons of energy, excitement and friends while donating to a good organization.  And who knows, maybe you''ll find a unique Valentines gift for the loved one in your life.
Fall day on the Namekagon
Consider supporting a newer organization that has been in the works since this summer called the Namekagon River Partnership.  Their mission is to celebrate and conserve the cold water fishery of the upper Namekagon River.  This group is made up of citizens, business owners, and government conservation entities, and non-profit organizations.  I wrote a check out this morning to them in hopes it will help the Partnership pave their way in protecting this great Wisconsin resource.  If you've never fished it, you are missing out on one hell of a great north woods experience.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Deer camp

So two weekends ago, I went up to visit deer camp over opener to see old friends and my dad.  It was good to see the usual suspects and that they were all doing pretty well.  It had been a year or more since seeing some of them, and it was nice to hang out and bond with the traditional card games, story telling, and good natured ribbing.  Hunting-wise, the weekend didn't turn out so well, one eight-pointer (shot by Dean) out of six deer hunters in the 20-25mph winds is all we got.  I didn't do to well either, instead of deer hunting I bought a small game license and brought the 20 gauge over & under in hopes of getting a grouse or black squirrel for tying flies.  I find that grouse hunting is more enjoyable to me because I can relax as I put less pressure on myself when I am not competing for a deer in an acreage that isn't exactly overpopulated.  I only flushed one grouse, and it was gone before I could get a bead on it.  I also kicked up deer twice in some thick underbrush.  And both times I could not hear it running off into the woods even though it was within 20 yards of me.  I watched it's white flag bob back in forth out of sight completely stunned that I didn't even hear so much as a twig snap.  The odds were not in our favor this time. 
Even though the hunting wasn't so great, I did get to see a bald eagle circle over me just above the tree tops.  The highlight of the weekend was Carmi's video footage from her deer stand.  She captured a couple minutes of a grouse by her stand and almost ten minutes of footage of a bobcat chilling out.  It appeared to know that Carmi was there, but really didn't care.  It napped, it stalked a bird, and it stared at the camera, before scooting away.  Earlier in the day, the land owner had seen two adult bobcats and a kitten from his stand.  Very exciting stuff! 
As for the increasing stories and evidence of wolf sign in the area, I was not as impressed.  One pack of wolves actually treed an acquaintance of ours a few weeks earlier when he was bow hunting for deer across the lake from where we were hunting. 
As of last night, I heard that Dean got a button buck, making for two deer total for the camp.  Dad is still up there, so hopefully with a little luck he will get one too.  I'll cross my fingers for him anyway.
Steelhead closes tomorrow and we did not go fishing for them since my last post.  So now we wait till next fall to resume that game.  This weekend consisted of prepping the house for winter and freeing up space by bringing a lot of stuff over to our storage unit.  We did a pretty good job with our to-do list, but I am saving the Fly Tying room (a.k.a. the man room) for this coming weekend.  It might only be one room, but it needs a lot of attention.  It is in total disarray with fishing stuff, camping gear, and hunting clothes strung all over.  I think I can see what color the carpet is, sorta, maybe. Okay, I can't.  But, I do have memories of what it should look like once it is back in good order and prepped for fly tying season. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

End of our steelhead season...probably

Photo taken by J. Rawls
We continued fishing Sunday and Monday, but there was no catching.  We did have a great time in the evenings socializing and tying flies while watching YouTube videos of "Cows with Guns" and a clip of Richard Simmons doing a hilariously crazy appearance on "Whose Line is it anyways."  These are the moments to remember with friends!

I had reached out to several of my fishing buddies for reports of happiness, but sadly their fishing stories also lacked any significant catching. 

So unless the river gods "wave" a magic wand to change the "tide" of the "current" conditions, our season has "plunged" to an end for this year.  (bad pun, but I thought it was amusing)