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I survived.

March 19, 2014

The winter of 2013 – 2014; cold, colder, snowy and still here.

With more hours coaching my son’s hockey team than I can count, I managed only one lonely ice fishing trip in mid-January to Hyland Lake to catch some bluegills for a fish fry. Thanks to a steady IV drip of fishing media, i.e. Midwest Outdoors, Minnesota Sportsman, Eastern Fly Fishing, Trout Unlimited, Southern Culture on the Fly, Gink and Gasoline, You Tube, Orvis’ Fly-Fishing Film Festival (Damsels in Distress and Hit’em Again Doc are classics), I survived.

Not only that, but they also inspired me to drop some significant cash on fly tying materials at Bob Mitchell’s Fly Shop  and to sit down at the vise and whip up some flies.  Feathers, marabou, crystal flash, head cement fumes, thread clippings, and assorted animal fur hover in the air, swirl around my feet and somehow hatch into Clousers, pike/musky flies and midges.  “Dad, what are you doing?” “Tying flies.”  “Looks like a Rainbow Loom for Men.” “Go to bed.”  If any of you have elementary school kids you are aware of the Rainbow Loom craze.  Amazing. Some dude is rakin’ in the cabbage thanks to a plastic loom that the kids use to weave multi-colored rubber bands into bracelets and other stuff, like monkeys, as they apprentice for a career opportunity making “friendship bracelets” to sell at Grateful Dead concerts.  The proud owner of multiple bracelets, I’m thankful that they are easier on the feet in the middle of the night than a &&# #&%! 2 by 4 Lego piece.  Not that they don’t have other redeeming qualities.  After all, they can be chopped up and used as legs, tails, antenna and bodies for various flies tied with the Rainbow Loom for Men.

Toiling into the wee hours at the Rainbow Loom, I was all primed and ready to hit some of the nearby streams in Western Wisconsin for the start of the catch and release season on March 1, 2014, but cold weather and work intervened. It wasn’t until Saturday, March 15, that I was able to hit the Rush River with a buddy. A river neither of us had fished more than once, we were surprised by how low and clear the water was given the recent runoff from a couple of warm days earlier in the week.  Twenty-seven degrees is still pretty cold, particularly when there is little sun, and makes the rod guides freeze up pretty quickly.  Nonetheless, a trout has got eat and a few trout could be seen rising to midges.  My first trout of the year turned out to be a scrappy Brook Trout that was soon followed by another, both on a size 20 midge.  Midges seemed to be the fly du jour for 8 – 12″ browns, although we caught several others on a Frenchie and B/H Hare’s Ear.  With cold fingers and a broken rod tip for my buddy, we called it a day after about 4 hours.

Lastly, I will share this Haiku with you.  I discovered many years ago that I fished with more confidence, awareness and peacefulness after sitting on the bank and writing a poem or two as I watched for signs of rising trout.  There is great beauty to the fish we catch and their environs.  To offer up a poem, an acknowledgement, feels right.  It is a habit I’ve rediscovered.

A Rush

Books, Blogs, Magazines

Finally catching a fish

Ah, it’s quite a rush.


A clear stream, eager trout, Rice Krispy bars and a cold beverage.  Life is good.

– Hats

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