Archive for February 2012

Parenting – An abbreviated Treatise   1 comment

The opener is this Saturday. I plan to stay local for much of the season. I’ll take a few trips further afield, but I’m scheming to get intimately familiar with water that is within thirty minutes of home and work. An hour here and an hour there will make up the bulk of my fishing time this season.

My friend Stephen Rose on local water, Driftless, Wisconsin

My friend Stephen Rose on local water, Driftless, Wisconsin

Weekend trips this year are going to involve my three young sons and a few good campsites, and there will likely be more variety to my weekend Driftless Area stream time. Whatever it takes to keep it fun for my kids, that’s where I’m trying to aim. I want them to want to join me in trout country. I’m building relationships with them that I hope will grow into their love of the same places I love. If that takes campfires and marshmallows, lunches at the local burger joint, and a few hands of UNO at the campsite in the afternoon, I’m game.

Shep at Parfrey's Glen, 2009

Shep at Parfrey's Glen, 2009

I was recently called “the best parent when it comes to making things fun”. It was a compliment, but it was a statement made to temper criticism that followed. The criticism was that I acquiesce to my children when decisions about “what to do” have to be made. It’s not as if I let my children choose to do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it. I’m not a wet noodle that bends to their every demand. But I’ll admit, I fall into the role of joining them as boys in the activities we share. I want my kids to like me, to want to invite me along when I’m an old man.

Childhood is not only about “Protestant-Work-Ethic” character building via depravity and rigid time management. It is just as important, perhaps more important, for children to understand what they have to fall back on when they need some reprieve from the trying times that come from all directions in a person’s life.

Let's dig a hole in the backyard! (Madison, WI 2009)

Let's dig a hole in the backyard! (Madison, WI)

When I think back to my boyhood I don’t remember with fondness those things that adults had me do to “prepare me” for the real world. I remember spending time with my mom, dad, and sister, or my neighborhood buddies, doing things out in nature or around the neighborhood, exploring unfamiliar places, revisiting familiar ones. I remember my dad waking up on Saturday morning just in time to watch Looney Tunes with me and my sister, and I thought it was so cool that he took an interest in something I really liked! And I also remember the excitement of being invited to partake in activities that my parents liked too.

My dad, The Man. (Cedarburg, WI, 2011)

My dad, The Man. (Cedarburg, WI, 2011)

My dad had plenty of “advice” for me that I didn’t appreciate and still don’t take any stock in. However, he’s been more than open to trying things I’ve discovered on my own so that he can share experiences with me. That’s the approach I’m trying to take with my sons. Show them things I like. Try things that they like. Meet in the middle. Skip out on responsibilities once in a while for the sake of freedom and fun, to feel like you’ve got some say in your life. Not all the time, but rules can and should be bent once in a while. Like that time in 8th grade my parents took my sister and me out of school for a whole week to go skiing in Montana. There’s one I’ll never forget.

Fly Fishing in Greece   3 comments

Check out Kostis Nikolis’ blog called “Fly Fishing in Greece“. I had no idea Greece had such beautiful rivers. The water reminds me a bit of the Bois Brule River. It would be fun to visit someday.

A Grecian river, Photo by Kostis Nikolis @ Fly Fishing in Greece

A Grecian river, Photo by Kostis Nikolis @ Fly Fishing in Greece

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Hard to argue with this!

Posted February 22, 2012 by troutseeker in Wisconsin

Amazing Video – All I Can   1 comment

One of my passions is alpine skiing. I’m a coach for the Blackhawk Alpine Race Team and my co-coach, we’ll call him “Brian”, introduced me to this video. I’m planning to purchase the full movie to watch with my boys this weekend. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

 

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.

Posted February 22, 2012 by troutseeker in Winter

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Family Hike on the Ice Age Trail   5 comments

Sunday was our first family hike with our new puppy, Louie. It was a lot of fun!

 

Louie likes fingers. They taste delicious.

Louie likes fingers. They taste delicious.

 

My son Bode.

My son Bode.

 

My wife Rebecca with Bode and Louie.

My wife Rebecca with Bode and Louie.

 

Louie on the Ice Age Trail near Verona, Wisconsin

Louie on the Ice Age Trail near Verona, Wisconsin

 

Family Photo: Sawyer, Tom, Shepard, Bode, Rebecca, and Louie.

Family Photo: Sawyer, Tom, Shepard, Bode, Rebecca, and Louie.

 

Love those rocks!

Love those rocks!

 

Shepard loves Cherry trees too.

Shepard loves Cherry trees too.

Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Work Day   3 comments

The Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited chapter organized a work day Saturday morning on a stream in Dane County. Stephen Rose and I went out to lend a hand. There were 34 volunteers clearing Buckthorn, Box Elder, and Honeysuckle away from the stream corridor, and in 3 hours we cleaned out over 1,000 feet of streambank. This section of the stream went from a choked up mess to a wonderful place to chase after trout and take in the beauty of a spring creek.

(Click on the picture below to see 13 more pictures from the cleanup day)

SWTU Cleanup - Photo Copyright James Beecher, 2012

SWTU Cleanup - Photo Copyright James Beecher, 2012

 

Kurt Welke, the Fisheries Manager for the South Central Region of Wisconsin, was on hand and working hard. He set aside some larger tree trunk sections that would be placed in a section of the stream that was wide, shallow, and silty. He said that the trunks would be used to alter the flow of the water to create faster flow, which would scour away the silt, deepen the stream, and oxygenate the water.

SWTU will be holding two more maintenance/cleanup projects this spring. One on March 17th and one in April. If you’re interested check out the chapter’s website at http://www.swtu.org/, or contact Conservation Committee Chairman Steve Wald (sewald101@gmail.com) for more information.

It feels really good to help transform an unusable section of stream into a beautiful trout fishing destination. Each section of stream we improve provides another trout fishing destination for all of us to enjoy. Come on out March 17th and help improve your trout fishery!

Tim Pearson on Minnesota Bound   3 comments

Tim Pearson, our guide for a day on the Brule this fall, has been featured on the TV show Minnesota Bound. I really enjoyed Tim’s instruction and perspective on fishing for Steelhead. He’s a great guy!

Check out Tim’s art at his website by clicking on the pic below…

Rainbow River by Tim Pearson

Rainbow River by Tim Pearson

The scene today   2 comments

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Frye’s Feeder and Donald County Park   4 comments

Yesterday Stephen Rose and I did some exploring with our kids and my dog. We went to eastern Iowa county to take a look at Smith-Conley Creek. We checked out a parcel of land Stephen was curious about. And then we went to Donald County Park, a place neither of us had ever visited, even though we’ve each lived in Dane County for over a decade.

Donald County Park is the piece of land that spawns Mt Vernon Creek, at the confluence of Frye’s Feeder and Deer Creek. There are some great hiking trails, beautiful views, and of course, trout.

We had a great time exploring and relaxing in the February sun, sheltered from the wind behind a rise in the Driftless. It’s a neat place to check out, and I’ll surely be back with my fly rod when the trout season is in swing.

Shep and Joe at Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Shep and Joe at Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Joe and Stephen relaxing in a Hennessy hammock, Donald Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Joe and Stephen relaxing in a Hennessy hammock, Donald Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Shep, Joe, Bode, and Stephen, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Shep, Joe, Bode, and Stephen, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Frye's Feeder runs through Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Frye's Feeder runs through Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Maybea-Dog enjoying her free time, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

Maybea-Dog enjoying her free time, Donald County Park, Dane County, Wisconsin

“Owning” a Piece of the Driftless Pt. 2   Leave a comment

This is Tom’s long lost fishing cohort Stephen making an effort to reinsert himself into this blog space for a time.

Tom suggested we take up this debate as it is an interesting difference between he and myself and we thought it worth exploring in a more public way.

In our wanderings for trout we have had opportunity to put our eyes on parts of this state that have been rumor to me for most of my life. I relied on these rumors to help describe myself as a Wisconsin man, born, raised……….an avid and understanding outdoorsman. This is more myth than I’d like to admit. Despite my long appreciation of all of our natural abundance I can’t say that I’ve really fostered this virtue the way I might have.

I began my relationship with the landscape very young as a “nature boy”. Given license by my peers meant hauling them into the woods and playing indian brave, hunting, fishing, making forts, or climbing trees to insane heights. I remember very well the moments when we were playing some kind of war game deep in a local wood but feeling a strange contentment about not being found. Somehow I just didn’t feel alone. I worked hard to simply become part of the landscape. To disappear into it. It was a tremendous comfort.

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At one point I was given an opportunity to visit a rarified landscape over and over and that is when I began to really have a dream about a lasting commitment to a place. I defy anyone to show me up in my intimacy with Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County, Wisconsin. I spent 11 days per summer there and each time I built on a legacy that shapes who I am. This repetition is important for a number of reasons.

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First, even at a young age, I developed a love for the peculiarities of, not just any place, but the genius of a specific location. I witnessed small and wholesale changes, happened on ever expanding discoveries, and immersed myself in knowing every turn in the trail and the perfect vantage point from which to witness a particular species or event. If I did not know the name of something I at least knew it without benefit of words. To put it simply, Whitefish Dunes State Park and I were no longer strangers. We were friends and I felt need to protect and preserve this relationship even at a young age.

This would never have been possible without repetition and it is something I will always be grateful for.

I have visited places all over the world, some of them fairly exotic and certainly unique. I am very grateful for having had this opportunity also. But I can’t say I really know those places and they certainly don’t know me very well. We were strangers and we never really got past a greeting before I was off and moving again. The Atlas mountains of North Africa don’t remember me and whatever I do recall is circumspect at best. It’s a story I tell as a very unreliable narrator.

Visiting a place only once, not unlike being told a story by someone else, leaves you unscathed by responsibility. It’s a one night stand, a dalliance, and for the landscape, you are most assuredly an intruder. Just another tourist taking romantic pictures of something they’ll never know.

Mankind traipsing all over the planet and planting it’s flag, saying, “We’ve been here”, gets old.

For me, it is no longer enough to have simply set foot in a place. I need to hold and maintain a discourse.

I have mentioned in this blog a few times before the idea of a “conversation” with a fish. And it is something I’ll reiterate here. When I present a fly to a trout I do so as a question. “Can I conjure you to have a discourse with me?” This discourse will likely be brief in duration and comes with little risk to me and much for the fish but it is the best way I can describe it.

The totality of my fishing adventures really looks like a need to interact. To ask questions and hope for answers.

Mankind has set up camp in virtually every spot on this planet and, by and large, have left much of it far worse off than they found it.

This is strong language I know. Some will quibble with these ideas but I welcome a “clash of ideas” as it can only hone my thoughts on this.

With that I’m officially kicking the can down the road.

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Posted February 3, 2012 by Stephen in Thoughts on Fishing, Wisconsin

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