Winter Season Begins Jan 1st/8th

I found time to get out twice in the early winter season. The first day was a shot at some new water. There is so much water between Minnesota and Wisconsin. I’ve found some great streams, but it is really fun to try new things from time to time. In fact, in general, I prefer to fish a new stream than fish the same stream twice (unless it is a new section).

So, for my first day out in 2017, I found a new section on a this phenomenal trout map. I don’t know who made it for Minnesota, but it is awesome. I love it. I’m hoping someone will make it for Wisconsin.

The section I fished had easement access but it was really hard to find so I stopped at someone’s house to ask for directions. They were very helpful and said I could fish anywhere I liked. Score!

The stream has only a mile of publicly fishable land that had work done on it back in the 80s. A beaver did some work on it this last summer, but that is another story I’m sure.

Anyway, after finding the easement, I hiked my way down to the stream and found myself facing a phenomenal run and pool.
There was a nice undercut near the run so I threw a streamer through the run and caught a healthy driftless brown on my first cast. It is one of those sparsely spotted browns with good olive and gold color. It amazes me how variable these fish can look.
 
I got a new Patagonia hip pack.  I love it. I’m a hip pack person for sure.
I fished down stream until I came to a long, slow, deep section. I started hoping over a few muskrat or beaver dens and quickly saw when the section is so deep.
A broad, sturdy dam was doing its job. I wonder how that affects the fish population in that part of the stream. Darker water. Deeper water. Bigger fish?
 
On my way back out, I hit a few spots I a spooked earlier and manages a gorgeous native brookie. There is something special about the native brookie. Sure they don’t get as big as the big browns, but, man, I really love them.
 

It was a great way to finish a first day out on the water in 2017. My next outing would prove to be a bit tougher as far as fishing is concerned.

We recently had a bit of a cold snap in Wisconsin, as such finding open water was more of a task. I hoped a favorite stretch would be open, but it was much harder than I thought. I should have searched for a sunnier stretch of water. So all in all, no fish came to hand.

I threw streamers because I’m not that confident in my nymphing technique or skill.
 
You can see how sparse the pockets of water were at times. It made for a gorgeous day. At times, I was able to simply walk across slow runs because the ice was nice and thick.
 
A couple amazing finds were this frozen hawk. I think it is a Nrothern Goshawk, but if any of you know can identify it as another type, let me know! I looked closely, but left the bird to the wild.
It was surprisingly light weight for its size. I suppose that’s the deal when you are a bird.

I also found this big buck. I presume is a hunter’s lost harvest. a gorgeous rack, just squeaking out that 9th point.

By the time I got back to the car, I decided to leave the waders on for the drive home. My gators were frozen to my laces. My feet were warm though.

Once we have a slight warm up, the water will get a slight stain and the fish will get hungry. The bite will turn on again!

Protect the BWCA

I taken a few trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in Northern Minnesota, and I would go yearly if I could. It is an amazing place. Patagonia has a neat blog post about a couple conservationists who paddled their way to Washington DC from the BWCA to raise awareness about a potential mining operation that could threaten some of the ecosystem in the National Wilderness Area.

Take a peak at the video. If it is something that moves you, read the blog and consider signing the petition to protect the BWCA at this link HERE.

Greenlife Adventure Sports: A New Outdoor Store in Norfolk, Virginia

I finally had the opportunity to stop by the new local outdoor store in town: Greenlife Adventure Sports. They have some great products. They carry Khul, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware, Chaco, an on and on. They have a pretty nice inventory of camping gear. It must have been some time since I’ve looked at the ultra-light gear, because, wow, it is pretty darn awesome. 
The Gear Room

Wall of suggested hikes. 

I like the new gopros. 

Hammocks and bags. 

I have a thing for pataganoia shoes. The thing is, I like them. 

Great items on clearance. 

Plenty of trail running gear. 

Stop by and see these guys. Support local!

Patagonia Teams up with MLW

Okay, I can see how that title might be misleading.  Patagonia really has no affiliation with me, but I did “borrow” their fish logo after reading about their generous donation on this web page which he got from this web page which came from here.

I decided I would make a Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountain version of their trout emblem. I based the image off of the photo below…..

Thanks Family Vacationist!
Now it is time to see the evolution of the Patagonia Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Design.
The Original

I see a little trout; I want it painted black.

Rounding out the Blue Ridges.

Creating depth.

Adding some highlights.

Brighten up that cloudy morning sky.

Here comes the sun.