Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Swinging for Trout

Winter conjures contemplation. I’ve been reflecting on how my small stream fishing style has evolved. A couple years ago most of my casts involved tossing the fly upstream and drifting or slow strip retrieving. The last couple years I’ve been tossing downstream and swinging/stripping against the current. While I still deploy the upstream cast, the ratio flipped. Why? Because the tug on a tight line swing is awesome. I think Nate would agree that fishing one Spring with Tim Pearson on some small WI streams helped influence our deployment of the downstream cast. I once saw Tim cast upstream but it turned out he was just releasing a downstream snag. 

Here are a couple nice Fall fish caught swinging on Driftless streams. Also featuring stream side lunch of soup, burgers, beer (whiskey gone by then). 

scar face
ended the season with a fat 20". my biggest trout of the year.
shelter from the strong wind

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Photos from a great steelhead trip with Dan. Not sure much else needs to be stated. Enjoy..

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I’m quick to throw aesthetics out the window if it will save me a buck. Here are a couple hacks you may get a kick out of.

Native has a bunch of nice accessories for your watercraft. For $89 bucks you can buy the factory seat riser for the Ultimate Series kayaks. Or use some 1" foam and duct tape to build your own stack on the cheap.

This may look like a top of the line rod holder. Don't be fooled, it's DIY.

DIY Finger Sleeves. I used an old pair of compression shorts. These things have worked great.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Like an old friend you haven't seen in a while, there is a driftless stream that will be there. It will have changed a little, but its character will be the same. It will be happy to see you and you will be happy to see it. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

keeping cool

September is right around the corner. The nights will eventually cool down into the 50's and 40's. That's when the trout of the driftless will begin to behave differently. They will move from the bottom of the big pool. They will chase down a streamer. Until then, it's smallmouths and keeping cool.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Smallies

Saturday mornings in August. Finding my window of opportunity between the weekend family plans.
Gotta reach those rocks somehow. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Float with the boys

Like father, like son facial expressions. 
a monster smallmouth for this creek
A fun morning on the creek with the boys.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Grass Carp on Hoppers

The green hopper strikes again. Refusal, rejection, disgust, and finally fooled. Presentation of the fly is important. But in the end it's up to the fish. You can do everything right and it still comes down to the fish deciding to eat. I guess that's how I feel after repeated strikeouts and finally fooling another grassie. I hooked this fish from the top of the pond bridge. He was sitting motionless just under the surface with head angled up -- a common position to find grass carp. I placed a green hopper a foot in front of him. He startled back initially but then slowly rose to eat. Grassies have a tendency to nibble the fly and from my high bridge vantage point I could see when the hopper was ready to set (nibble, nibble, gulp, set!). The hardest fish to fool are often the most rewarding. If I could catch a grassie every trip to the pond the reward wouldn't be as sweet. Big carp on hoppers, does it get any better?

The youngsters enjoyed the show. After helping me snap the pictures they were no longer thinking of bluegill and bullheads :-)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bucketmouth Streamers

A couple of the streamers I've been tossing and a marker board illustration. June has been a month of fishing backyard bass.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pond Bucket Mouth

I was recently reminded how fun it is to stand on the front of a flat bottom and toss for bass. Particularly when you're the one doing the fishing and your pal is doing the boating -- thanks Andy! 
hooked a nice 20"er

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Poppers for Bass

Some good tips for chucking poppers for bass from they guys at G&G.
Gink & Gasoline's Fly Fishing Bass: 5 Tips for Fishing Frog Patterns Around Grass

I'm throwing out a bonus 5 tips from Currents.
1. Fish poppers in the rain. This is my #1 because I love fishing poppers in the rain. The rain brings the bucket mouths to the water's edge. The big boys often leave the shallows in the bright daylight hours. The rain gives them a sense of security to move shallow and feed.
2. Mix up the popping. Sometimes a hard smack and a long pause can be irresistible, and sometimes you want to chuga-chug that popper.
3. Throw a smaller popper. Size does matter. Try to match the meat.
4. Fish em early and late in the day. Chow time.
5. Fish the cover. They G&G guys with specifics on poppers around grass. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

tackle and misc pics

trout bait restock
weight those carp flies hook up!
Andy's hopper and message for grass carp
Andy's meat box.
Baetisca Larva print by Nate. 
Back yard big mouth
playin' in the mud

Monday, June 3, 2013


Reflecting on a great weekend. Calexico played at The Englert in Iowa City on Friday night. I've been looking forward to May 31st for a few months. Playing Calexico's new album, Algiers, each day at work. If you're a Calexico fan you gotta see these guys live someday. Tour Schedule. Here's a setlist you can play on Youtube. I was blown away by the seven bandmates shuffling instruments, from trumpets to accordion to slide guitar. Lead singer and guitarist Joey Burns set the vibe with his stage enthusiasm. At a live show they feel more alt rock'n'roll than on record. But then again, it's hard to describe Calexico's genre -- Mexican-influenced, country-folk, indie rock..? If you crank their tunes through some large speakers you'll come closer to replicating the live sound. Thanks for a great show Calexico!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

grassies on grass hoppers

I found a pod of grassies on the windward side of the city pond. A few of them were clooping surface scum. It was time to hook a grassie on a hopper. After a few half hearted cloops on the hopper I had a cruiser take a nice gulp, zing! I haven't caught enough grassies to say the code is cracked but I may be on the curve. Ever since I read Jeff Currier's "Grass Carp Code Cracked Forever" post I've been anxious to take a grassie on a hopper. While you're over at Jeff's blog be sure to read about his recent India trip fishing for mahseer.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Grass Carp

I hooked up with one of the backyard grass carp! These guys are tough to catch. I employed a handful of tactics and flies. I smacked them in the head with green hoppers, led them with green hoppers, tandem nymphs, worm flies, the hybrid, slow stripped bugs, and finally the answer was a classic clouser swimming nymph (CSN). I asked myself after catching this fish, shouldn't this be one of the first flies I throw at this fish? For a fish that is sitting or cruising about a foot under the water surface the CSN is a logical choice. The CSN has a slow sink rate allowing it to hover in the zone for a long time. This sets up nicely for leading a slow cruiser. With that, I'm gonna tie a few more CSN's and with any luck I'll harass a few more of these big fish.

The fight was great. This big fish jumped out of the water twice. Seeing grassies go airborn is quite spectacular. I hooked a couple last year that also went airborn but popped. This time I won. Man vs Grass Carp.