Wednesday, October 23, 2013


4/0 - 6/0 hooks, grizzly hackle, buck tail - and lots of it. Musky was the focus of my thoughts the past few months, as I prepped for a 3 day trip to Flaters Resort in Holcombe, Wisconsin. The resort is located where the Chippewa and Flambeau rivers intersect. It's a small family owned/operated business with some great people. I recommend it if you're thinking about going up to the area.

Day 1 - Friday 10/11/13
We arrived early, and decided to wade and fish a dam on the Flambeau River. We were skunked. They didn't have any of the turbines open and the water was low. Should have listened to the guy who just unloaded his boat when he mentioned that the fishing would be tough for us near the dam with no turbines open.
The Fat Gordo, Fish Dank (with duck face), and myself
Shortcut! - Didn't feel like wading back up river.
After checking in, and getting dropped off with the boat only halfway in the Flambeau River, The Fat Gordo was the only person ready to fish. While Fish Dank and I set up our gear, Gordo was greeted on his first cast by a 30" musky following his buck tail spinner to the shore. Then after 10 minutes of floating Gordo gets another follow, but from a much bigger musky. It was an extremely windy day, and it did not help my mediocre casting abilities (I am the only fly fisherman. My other 2 friends were tossing big lures.) The day ended with myself and Gordo landing 2 smallies. The wind proved to be too much for me toward the end of the float. My fly came in contact with my rod 1 too many times while casting, and I broke off the tip section of my rod. (Possibly the fly hitting it. Thank goodness for that Redington warranty)

Love me some smallies
The Fat Gordo with a fat Wisco smallie.
On the hunt..
The one that got my dreams. I just love it up there!
Day 2 - Saturday 10/12/13
Floated the Chippewa River for about 9 hours. Fish Dank was the only person to land any fish - 2 northern pike and 1 smallie. No fly fishing for me, but luckily I did bring my bait caster and a small lure box. We saw tons of adult and juvenile bald eagles. We also got to see 3 deer cross the river in a rather deep stretch - pretty cool! The wind had us behind in schedule, and we floated down river in the dark for 1.5 hours - not cool - depending on me and a small head lamp to search for possible dangers ahead. We made it out safe, and to Flaters 75th Anniversary party. Free booze and sloppy joes! Can't beat that!

Blue skies in the morning.
Fish Dank and his smallie.
Northern Pike and Fish Dank
One of many bald eagles we saw. Absolutely beautiful!
Fish Dank transformed into the Gordon's Fisherman
Watching the sun set on the Chippewa River.
Day 3 - Sunday 10/13/13
Short float on the Flambeau River. Fish Dank tossed a buzz bait and hooked up with a pike. He also, had a few blow ups from another pike and a smallie. After we checked out, we stopped by another dam and fished from the shore. Saw a guy in a boat in the middle of the river catch a fat 45" musky. 

...and that concludes my trip. I miss those rivers, already. I cannot wait to return to them next year. Hopefully, multiple times...with a spare fly rod! I have a custom 10 wt being built very soon.

Enjoy some other pictures.
Maybe Santa will bring me a better camera :)

Love the colors of fall in Wisconsin.
Friday's dinner - Lamb steaks and Revolution Brewing Anti-Hero IPA.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kayaking for Pike

Had a friend invite me out to float the DPR (Des Plaines River) for some northern pike action. I was excited! I usually fish from the banks of the river with my bait caster, because, wading is prohibited in Cook County, and it would be near impossible to cast a decent sized fly with it being so wooded.

Got my chance to fly fish the DPR! For the past few weeks I have been tying some big flies for musky. The night before my float I thought about the lures I fish with success on the DPR....a fire tiger Rapala husky jerk. So, naturally I had to tie something that resembled that color scheme and lure. Here's what I came up with. I only tied one, and that proved to be enough.

4/0 TMC 600S hook, buck tail, flash, flashabou, grizzly hackle, clear cure goo eyes, and head. Very proud of this one. Came out exactly how I pictured it in my head.

Long float story short. The pike loved the fly! The first one was a little hammer handle. It was just a little bit bigger than the fly, and I hooked up with it on an errant cast while I was untangling line from my rod. The second pike I caught was 24/25 inches, and healthy! Missed the fly 2 times, and hooked up with him on the 3rd. I was pumped! Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture of that one, because, it flopped out of my grip and back into the water. Ended the day with 3 pike, sore knees, and back. lol I need my own kayak. One with some leg room!
I could get used to this....but with a much roomier 'yak.
FishDank and his brother in-law
The first pike.
The 3rd pike.

Hopefully, I'll be posting about a successful trip for musky next week!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sitting Duck

Sunday, September 22, 2013.

I decided to make one last trip out to the Driftless Area of Wisconsin before the season closes for the year. I was pretty excitded for this trip, because, I was going to explore some new water that someone gave me details about.

So, I was cruising along driving the speed limit of 65 MPH on I-90 (...and yes I really was doing the speed limit! When you're out driving at 3:30 AM and there isn't a lot of traffic, you're easy target for the state troopers.) I was just North of the border and crossing over the Rock River bridge. As I was going over the bridge 2 deer came out of no where and I hit one of them. I lost control of my car, spun out, and my car came to a complete stop...sideways in the middle of the 2 lane interstate. (My Toyota Matrix was in both west bound lanes, with the front of my vehicle facing on-coming traffic just a bit.) I immediately turned on my hazard and bright lights, put the car in neutral, and got out to push it off of the interstate. I moved it an inch before I saw headlights. I got back in my vehicle flashed my brights on and off, and tapped my brake lights, in hopes the driver would see me. They and slowed down to go around me. I got out of the car as they were avoiding me and tried to hail them for help, but they sped off.

Then I started to push my car, again. I was only able to move it a foot before I saw the next set of headlights coming my way. Again, I got back into my vehicle and flashed my lights, but unfortunately, this car did not see me, and took out the front left fender of my car, and turned me perpendicular to the center line. I was just about to get out and start to push, again, but noticed another set of headlights coming at me, so, I stayed in the car, and prayed that this person would see me.

Unfortunately, the second vehicle did not see me until it was, too, late. The mini van smashed into the right rear fender with a solid hit. After my car did a 180 degree turn, I got out, again, and successfully pushed my car onto the shoulder, and out of harms way. (It was like a bad carnival ride.)

I grabbed my big mag flashlight from my backseat and called 911 as I made the 1/4 mile walk to the other vehicles. THANK GOD! - No one was hurt or injured. The axel on the mini van was broken, and the van was resting on the tire in the right lane of the interstate. The other vehicle was on the shoulder, and had damage all along the left side.

Thankfully, I brought my flashlight. I stood behind the mini van and flashed it at on coming traffic to warn them to steer clear of the right lane. There were two 18 wheelers coming down the hill and the driver in the right lane did not see me in sufficient time, and when he did he was unable to switch lanes, because, the other truck was there. This guy layed on all of his brakes and was coming in HOT! I remember yelling something to warn the others, and I quickly darted off into the ditch, and almost into the forest. The big rig stopped with a huge cloud of smoke about 15-20 yards away from the van. CRAZY!

The Matrix on the flatbed. Most likely totaled.
Tips for the future:
- Road flares! - I have them in my old Chevy Blazer (That I am currently driving now), but I never thought to put them in my car. Could have possibly saved me the nightmare.