Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

A Whopper south of Westby   14 comments

My son Bode (Bo-Dee) and I took an overnight trip to the Driftless on Friday and Saturday and enjoyed ourselves very much. We set out after I got home from work Friday, picking up some provisions in Viroqua before heading to Avalanche to camp.

On the way we passed a few Amish buggies pulled by horses, and some Amish farms where we were greeted by waves and smiles as we zoomed by in our car. Bode had never seen any Amish buggies or farms before and was curious to know what it was all about. I explained it as best I could and he was fairly fascinated, as a boy who likes to make what he can by his own hand, at the lifestyle and talents of the Amish.

We enjoyed a quiet night camping in Avalanche and woke up at six on Saturday to go fishing. Bode was using a spinner while I walked along with him, fly rod in hand. We got to the next plunge pool upstream, the water still churning brown from days of rain. He made several nice casts to the top of the pool when suddenly his line tightened. He initially thought he had snagged something but then began cranking the reel. His line danced, but in the way Andre the Giant might dance, more deeply rooted than ephemeral.

Bode, having had very few large fish on the end of his line previously, cranked and cranked his reel until the spinner was an inch from his rod tip. The fish revealed itself in the surface film and we both let out a hoot.

This fish was one that many fishermen don’t get the chance to catch in a Driftless stream, and Bode had gotten one a few days past his twelfth birthday, in the first half hour of fishing.

Wow! Way to go Bode!

 

Bode with a 21" male Brown Trout, caught in a Vernon County spring creek.

Bode with a 21″ male Brown Trout, caught in a Vernon County spring creek.

 

 

Stephen and Son Had Luck Yesterday   5 comments

Stephen Rose and his son Heron (named for a bird that Stephen admires, but also named for Hank Aaron, Stephen’s childhood baseball hero) went out to the Driftless yesterday with a spinning rod and some #9 Panther Martins and got after it, with encouraging success.

They found the stream they were fishing loaded with Brook Trout, and the Brook Trout were much further down in the system than they tend to be during the warm months. It is our suspicion that they’re comfortable lower downstream right now because water temps are still cool enough for them to feel comfortable.

The fish in the photo below has some health issues. Not sure what it is, but it looks like fin rot to me. Has anyone seen this before in trout they’ve caught?

At any rate, It’s gratifying to me to see a young fisherman like Heron get out there with his dad and catch fish, especially on a day that snow fell from the sky. Way to go guys!

 

A nice-sized Driftless Brook Trout, suffering from fin rot, me thinks.

A nice-sized Driftless Brook Trout, suffering from fin rot, me thinks.

 

Heron and Stephen after a successful outing in the Driftless of Wisconsin

Heron and Stephen after a successful outing in the Driftless of Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

A Cold and Gloomy Friday   3 comments

I took a little time to get out to my home waters and I didn’t see a lot of action, but there were beautiful swallows swooping all around, the trees were flowering and smelling like honey, and the air breathed crisp and fresh.

I hope you can get out to catch some trout this weekend. I’m likely to be seen on the shores of Monona Bay, chasing down a hunch overheard by my ten-year-old son at school about big bass being caught at sunrise. Hopefully I can convince him that Sunday will be the better day to fish. Saturday morning looks like rain and cold. I’d prefer to read the paper and drink my coffee in that kind of weather. But it ain’t easy to make an eager kid wait.

Cheers!

 

Honeysuckle?

Honeysuckle?

 

Salmo Trutta!

Salmo Trutta!

 

 

 

Spring Green Prairie and Otter Creek   4 comments

Last weekend Stephen Rose and I took our boys on another close-to-home road trip to see if we could find some reptiles and amphibians. Our first stop was Spring Green Prairie, a dry hillside full of Prickly Pear Cactus and, if you’re lucky, Box Turtles and Bull Snakes.

We walked along carefully, trying to spy a living creature, but didn’t have any luck. It’s a wonderful place though, with a landscape unlike any other in Wisconsin. I highly recommend you go check it out.

Our second stop was Otter Creek in the Baraboo Hills, a sure bet for frogs, creek bugs and wonderful plants. And sure enough, we found lots of frogs, lots of creek bugs, and lots of plants. I wish I knew the names of most of the things I’ve taken pictures of below, but I don’t.

Maybe my friend Stephen, or perhaps one of you, would be kind enough to post a comment if you know the name of something you see in the pictures below.

Spring is springing and it’s a great time to get out and explore.

It’s the regular season trout opener today too. For those of you heading out, good luck!

 

 

Spring Green Prairie

Spring Green Prairie

 

A Boring Insect found in a dead tree

A Boring Insect found in a dead tree

 

Spring Green Prairie

Spring Green Prairie

 

Four boys in a cave, Spring Green Prairie

Four boys in a cave, Spring Green Prairie

 

The Wisconsin River Valley

The Wisconsin River Valley

 

Boys in a big landscape

Boys in a big landscape

 

Flowers at Spring Green Prairie

Flowers at Spring Green Prairie

 

Shepard at Spring Green Prairie

Shepard at Spring Green Prairie

 

Prickly Pear Cactus, Spring Green Prairie

Prickly Pear Cactus, Spring Green Prairie

 

Skunk Cabbage, Otter Creek

Skunk Cabbage, Otter Creek

 

Wildflowers at Otter Creek

Wildflowers at Otter Creek

 

Shepard at Otter Creek

Shepard at Otter Creek

 

Sawyer in rubber pants at Otter Creek

Sawyer in rubber pants at Otter Creek

 

A frog, a trout, and a tadpole walk into a bar...

A frog, a trout, and a tadpole walk into a bar…

 

The boys share their findings at Otter Creek

The boys share their findings at Otter Creek

 

A juvenile predaceous diving beetle?

A juvenile predaceous diving beetle?

 

A wildflower at Otter Creek

A wildflower at Otter Creek

 

Otter Creek in the Baraboo Hills

Otter Creek in the Baraboo Hills

 

Big frog, Little frog

Big frog, Little frog

 

Shepard checks out the "kick net" full of creek bugs at Otter Creek

Shepard checks out the “kick net” full of creek bugs at Otter Creek

 

Pewitt’s Nest with the Boys   4 comments

Sunday, by all accounts, was a day everyone should have stayed inside. It was 34° and raining. A friend of mine cleaned out his gutters on Sunday, so I suppose you could do worse than taking a hike through the woods.

That’s where our troop was, tromping through the woods enjoying the sights and having a good time.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

 

Skillet Creek runs through the gorge at Pewitt's Nest

Skillet Creek runs through the gorge at Pewitt’s Nest

 

Pewitt's Nest pine bough

Pewitt’s Nest pine bough

 

Water drips off the limestone at Pewitt's Nest

Water drips off the limestone at Pewitt’s Nest

 

A crew of buddies in the woods at Pewitt's Nest

A crew of buddies in the woods at Pewitt’s Nest

 

Shepard on the slide at Pewitt's Nest

Shepard on the slide at Pewitt’s Nest

 

Sawyer on the Slide at Pewitt's Nest

Sawyer on the Slide at Pewitt’s Nest

 

Bode on the Slide at Pewitt's Nest

Bode on the Slide at Pewitt’s Nest

 

Heron and Joe on the Slide at Pewitt's Nest

Heron and Joe on the Slide at Pewitt’s Nest

 

Bracket Fungi reaching for the sky at Pewitt's Nest

Bracket Fungi reaching for the sky at Pewitt’s Nest

 

The work of large woodpeckers was everywhere at Pewitt's Nest

The work of large woodpeckers was everywhere at Pewitt’s Nest

 

Parfrey’s Glen in Sauk County, Wisconsin   5 comments

Stephen Rose and I got the crew back together for a road trip up to Parfrey’s Glen. I think the secret may be out on this place. It was closed down for a few years because the trails were blown out after big rain storms, but today there were plenty of visitors. A beautiful, sunny fall day calls for just such an adventure.

I’ve got loads of pictures below, and I think I’ll just let them do the talking…

 

 

 

Stephen Rose fishes Otter Creek!   5 comments

A picture says a thousand words. An animated .gif says, perhaps, ten-thousand words?

scr on Otter

Stephen and I went up to the southern slope of the Baraboo Hills yesterday and fish one of our favorite spots, Otter Creek. The fish weren’t cooperative, but it was a glorious morning and we both enjoyed being back in the forest.

As you can see, Stephen’s casting hasn’t suffered at all. He did struggle to remember how to tie a blood knot, but I explained that he had only just learned that knot earlier this summer, and struggled with it then. The hike got him breathing a bit and he told me on the way back to the car that he was experiencing an endorphin rush. Cool!

Otter Creek in Sauk County, Wisconsin

Otter Creek in Sauk County, Wisconsin

 

Jewel Weed blossoms on Otter Creek, Sauk County, Wisconsin

Jewel Weed blossoms on Otter Creek, Sauk County, Wisconsin

 

Lobelia Cardinalis - Stephen told me so...

Lobelia Cardinalis – Stephen told me so…

 

Later in the afternoon a gaggle of friends gathered at Wingra Park for a “last day of summer” picnic. Courtney and Brian, the Balsleys, the Cookes, the Anderson-Browns, and Stephen Rose and his son Heron all got together for grilled sausages, chips, fruit, beers (and sparkling mineral water), and lots of fun.

Brian broke out the frisbees and guess who can throw the frisbee like a laserbeam?

 

Stephen Rose (with his son Heron in the blue shorts) at Wingra Park, September 3, 2012

Stephen Rose (with his son Heron in the blue shorts) at Wingra Park, September 3, 2012

 

 

I actually went fishing today   4 comments

Today was a very normal day. I did my morning routine (coffee, huevos rancheros, hug kids, kiss wife, drive to work), accomplished a good deal at work, did some more work, got some groceries, came home, opened a beer, had dinner with my family, played some Star Wars Monopoly, served up ice cream cones, read to my kids, and poured myself a glass of bourbon.

I also managed to sneak in an hour of fishing on Black Earth Creek. Can you believe that?

 

Amazing creatures, those trout are...

Amazing creatures, those trout are…

 

The last 15 days have been a mix of hell and heaven. My buddy Stephen Rose went from running wind sprints to having a heart attack to being dead to being in a coma to being interactively impermeable to smiling to speaking to trying to get out of bed by himself and now to being transferred from the Intensive Care Cardiac unit to the rehab wing of the hospital, where he is expected to make a significant recovery in spite of the ordeal his heart and his brain have gone through. Whew.

 

 

A brown beauty on Black Earth Creek

A brown beauty on Black Earth Creek

 

So, back to my day. It was normal. I felt good about getting a lot of work done. I felt good about making a good dinner for my kids. I felt good about Stephen moving to rehab. And I felt really good about catching a couple of trout on my favorite Driftless creek.

 

 

I don't know what to say about this picture. I'm feeling good, okay?

I don’t know what to say about this picture. I’m feeling good, okay?

 

Raise your glass tonight, whatever you might be drinking, to Stephen Rose. The man has done a lot in his 42 years of life and apparently he is not done. If that’s not something worth toasting, I don’t know what is.

“A Steelhead knows where it is going, but a man seldom does.” – Steve Raymond   8 comments

Well, my friend Stephen Rose is back. Last Monday his heart stopped for at least twenty minutes. He was in a coma for a few days. When he woke he was not responsive. And then, suddenly, he was.

It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever endured, but the day I saw him give a faint smile, my heart hoped for more. A day later a few words. And yesterday, unmistakable, unequivocal, unambiguous Stephen.

Mid-morning I went to Stephen’s bedside before going back to work, and told him that I would see him again later. I had no idea what his response would be. I didn’t even know if he’d recognized me.

Me: “Stephen, buddy, I’ll see you later. Okay?”

Stephen: “Well… Will there be beer later?”

(Holy Shit!)

Me: “Oh yeah man. There’ll be beer later. Good malty, hoppy beer. And maybe some bourbon too!”

At the suggestion of bourbon Stephen’s eyes got wide as saucers, and my heart soared.

Walking upstream

Walking upstream

As of last night Stephen had squeezed both of his hands and moved one leg. Wonderful signs for a man whose body has been so fully utilized and applied toward action and creation.

Stephen’s friend and mine, Chris R, retold a discussion he and Stephen’s younger son Joe had had yesterday evening. Chris said to Joe, “Well Joe, it looks like you’ve had a pretty good day.” To which Joe responded, “Yeah, I guess so.” [pause] “And my dad’s getting better too!”

Make no mistake, I’m elated and euphoric that my friend is alive. I had started imagining a life without him and it was a very tough pill to swallow. But I see the road ahead for Stephen and his family and it may not be a smooth one. To use a metaphor, it may look a lot more like the rough trails that line the Brule River than a road.

And I have to imagine Stephen is not at all excited to wake up after his workout last Monday to find himself in a hospital bed. While we’re all standing around cheering for his reawakening, he’s saying to himself, “What the fuck…?”

Stephen, I love you buddy, along with many many others. I, we, are ready to help. Whatever the future brings you’ve taught us all to cherish what’s really important, to not take it for granted. I pray (yes, I said pray) that the rest of your life will be seasoned with the realization that for a moment, you were not of this earth, and that we really, truly get one shot at life.

But for now, one day at a time. Okay?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted August 9, 2012 by troutseeker in Bourbon Whiskey, Friends, Kids, Wisconsin

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It’s a Great Time to Play in the Lake!   3 comments

We’ve really been taking advantage of Lake Wingra this summer. Late last week we had a picnic at the lake and afterwards we went out and played in the water. It’s a great way to shake off that triple-digit heat.

Enjoy the pics!

 

Ready, Set...

Ready, Set…

 

Go!

Go!

 

 

Bode, King of the Paddleboard.

Bode, King of the Paddleboard.

 

Paddleboard Battles on Wingra

Paddleboard Battles on Wingra

 

Bode and Sawyer enjoying the water on Wingra

Bode and Sawyer enjoying the water on Wingra

 

Faceoff

Faceoff

 

Looks like Sawyer took that round.

Looks like Sawyer took that round.

 

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. We've got it good.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. We’ve got it good.

 

 

Nice match guys.

Nice match guys.

 

Having fun Shep?

Having fun Shep?

 

A happy, relaxed kid.

A happy, relaxed kid.

 

 

Until next time...

Until next time…