First Timer   3 comments


That’s my brother Tim gettin’ in for the first time.

We spent an overnight at the West Fork Sportsman’s Club in Avalanche and woke at dawn to work Knapp Creek, the West Fork of the Kick, and the Sea Breeze Creek. All are in close proximity and gave us some different flavors for a days fishing.


We did well with Brookies on the Knapp, including a 12 incher , and I think Tim was really taken by the nature of a day knee deep as I know I am. I think I saw and felt those pangs for a trophy that we all sometimes get, of a big fish and some outlandish story to go with it. But I knew that wasn’t likely, or at least, is no longer what brings me out there.

“It ain’t about the fish”, as they say, and you won’t get any argument from me on that sentiment.

I’ve begun to see these streams as nothing more than lonesome highways where a guy can really get way back in the world where a rabbit wouldn’t go.

I mean, how else to see all this very marvelous, very privately owned land?

My fishing pole and rubber pants are license to see that which is otherwise forbidden. For some guys, maybe that’s a pole dancer, others still, it’s the big game on the tube, or throwing oneself into some extreme sports peril. I’ll take a cold running, spring fed stream, up against that stuff almost every time.

I wanted Tim to recognize that there is a world of opportunity out there which requires a relatively small investment in basic gear that provides a lifetime of superlative activity for those willing to give it a try.


We left for Avalanche from Madison at about 6 or so and I’d readied us for an evening of hammock camping just off the road somewhere not far from the fish. It’s unfortunate there is so much human contrivance in the world that two guys can’t sling a couple sheets of nylon between two trees w/o feeling like they’re breaking the law. Sadly, we couldn’t find a spot that would keep us close to the car w/o feeling really conspicuous so we opted for the Sportsmans Club after giving up our search at about 10pm.

For all my resistance, the club camping facilities proved to be a very welcoming spot for two late comers and made camp set up a snap. Arriving late, we were told to seek out Trapper in the morning. I knew we’d be gone by 5:30 and bothering someone that early felt like an injustice greater than not paying the very fair $20.00 fee. (10 for overnight + 10 for a seasonal membership)

Trapper, let’s say I owe you one okay?

And thanks much for a great spot to hang your hat for an evening!

We’ll be back I’m certain and settle up then.

After 3 or 4 hours the next morning on the Brookie laden Knapp, we decided to seek out bigger water in hopes of finding some fat Brown trout.

I like to fish w/o other fisherman in sight (minus my mates of course) so the West Fork always looks a little too cozy from the road. Makes it feel too much like some kind of water park or something. I’m looking for the lonesome highway. Not Wisconsin Dells.

But we moved down the creek a ways and I discovered why people fish the West Fork. It’s freakin’ gorgeous! I am very thankful for every inch of effort on that stream and it made for some really fine fishing. Great activity in some long riffles, that are so fun to fish, and beautiful plunge pools and big bend pools so fishy you’re reluctant to ever leave them.

The Sea Breeze, I think that’s what it’s called, was a little trib that I thought might get less fishing pressure than the main branch and give us some solid afternoon opportunities.

We did well in this open prairie like little stream. It recalled many of the Dane County that are familiar to me.

I think Tim was chastened a bit by the day. His anticipation for big fish was natural. But in the end he clearly felt those other less knowable virtues that are what really bring us all back.

Can’t wait to get back there with my crew again sometime soon!

3 responses to “First Timer

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  1. I wonder how many Knapp Creeks there are in Wisconsin? There is a great Knapp Creek straight west of Boaz over yonder. There are some nice browns lurking around there and it a good piece of water for a few hours 🙂

  2. Oh, I’d love to get out there, but you already have me wanting to hit Black Earth creek. Nice story and thanks for sharing.

  3. Next time call me at 608-632-2658. And its called Seas Branch. Had I’d known you were coming, I would of made some special arrangments for you/locations

    bryan trapper voldahl

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