"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..." - Scott Hanson

"Write what you know. If you don't know, make it up..." - Scott Hanson

"A dude can't live on just two fly rods alone..." - Scott Hanson

Man, I have some deep thoughts...

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Favorite Creek

The Trout Season has been open around here in one form or another for almost 9 whole months, and in all that time I hadn't gotten over to my favorite stream yet this year. I really did not want to have to go into the winter without doing so, so I took the day off of work yesterday and hit it. My plan was to hit my fave first, and then head to a nearby brook trout stream in the afternoon. I wasn't sure what to expect since we have gotten quite a bit of rain in the past couple of weeks, but I was cautiously optimistic that the water would be in good shape. When I got to the first stream it was obvious that it had been up and out of its banks recently, but now just had a slight tinge of color in it. In other words, perfect!
My favorite stream...

Action shot!
There are not many reliable insect hatches on this stream, so I figured I would be fishing subsurface all day. The night before I had tied up a bunch of my Mushroom & Swiss Buggers and devised a new caddis pupae thingy with a CDC hackle. I love adding CDC to my nymphs, as I have written about before both here and in Fly Tyer magazine, but I had never done a caddis nymph with CDC. I was excited to see what the trouts thought of it.
CDC Caddis thingy...
A nice brown on the new caddis pupa thingy
I started the day with my new caddis imitation, and it didn't take long to see that the fish really, really liked it. I caught about a dozen in the first 45 minutes, all browns ranging in size from 6-12". After that first hour the water started to rise and get a little dirtier. The fishing turned off for a while.

A beautiful, brand new Mushroom & Swiss Bugger, ready to get chewed to bits.
This fish kept swimming up on the wet bank after I tried to release him. He should have followed the arrow, but he's a fish...
An old guy strolled by and watched me catch this modestly sized brown, then he insisted on taking my photo. At least I look good...

I was just about to call it quits and head over to the other creek to fish for brookies when I decided to switch to the Mushroom & Swiss. Right off the bat I hooked a nice brown, and then another and another and another. And a dark and fat brook trout. All the fish seemed to be in a hurry to fatten up. Maybe they were getting ready for winter or the spawning season or they hadn't eaten much when the water had been high and muddy, or maybe they have trouble pushing themselves away from the buffet, like me... Whatever the case, the fishing was so good I never did make it over to the brook trout stream. I am not much of a fish counter, which is good because that means there is no way for you to contradict my claims, but I would say I caught upwards of 60 trout throughout the day. All browns with the exception of the one brook trout and 2 chubs. And all of my Mushroom & Swiss Buggers were either lost or got completely chewed up.  I guess it's time to tie up some more!

Last fish of the day.
My last Mushroom & Swiss Bugger at the end of the day... It was a good run!

Gear Used: Unstructured Glass 804-4 fiberglass rod, Lamson LP-1.5 Lite reel, unnamed green biot-bodied CDC-hackled bead-head nymph size 12, and Mushroom & Swiss Buggers size 8.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Rod Love, Part 1: Unstructured Glass

I guess, if you think about it, Rod Love could be a good name for a porn star, but I am not a dirty bird like you, so that never crossed my mind... Instead, I think it's a good name for a blog post about an awesome fly rod. As I have often said and written, fly rods are the coolest tools ever invented by man, so I might as well write about them, huh? The first rod in this series is an awesome 8' 4-weight Unstructured Glass beauty.

You may not have heard of Unstructured Glass rods. They are built by a terrific rod builder/educator/music composer/blogger in Boston named Vladan Milenkovic. Vlad builds rods made out of fiberglass, graphite, and even a fiberglass/bamboo combination. His rods are innovative, to say the least. My 8' 4-weight rod is unlike any other glass rod I own. It is more powerful than any other 4-weight rod I know of, yet the tip is surprisingly supple, so short casts can be made with a deft touch. When I recently took it to a glass rod casting session that was put on by my local Trout Unlimited chapter, it got more raves than any other rod I brought. Several people could not believe it was glass, and others could not believe it was a 4-weight. It is truly unique, and awesome.

Beautiful thread wraps.

Here is what Vlad wrote about this exact rod on his blog: "This was a demo rod for The Fiberglass Manifesto loan program. It is in remarkable shape. While the rod cloth has few small stains, the rod almost looks unfished. This series of rods really went "under the radar." A true 4wt medium fast taper, blonde glass. Exceptionally nice quality flor cork handle, burgundy micarta seat w/bright hardware (tapered ring), and hand-painted "brookie spots" artwork by my signature wraps. Matching color guide wraps with red single turn thread inlays. Guides are original Belmar-style Mildrum stripper and Snake Brand snakes and tip top."
The awesome Brookie Spots above the cork, and Vlad's signature wraps.

The super cool linen micarta reel seat insert. Don't feel bad, I had to look up what micarta is too...

If you would like to check out some of Vlad's other work, head over to his blog at https://rodcatalog.blogspot.com/. It sounds like he won't be selling his Unstructured line of glass rods any more, but he has tons of other cool stuff to read about.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Flies!

Hey, I just updated the Store page here on The Riffle, and added a ton of new flies you can buy, plus our stickers are now on the Store page as well. Just click on the My Store tab up on the top of the page, or click this link right here to go to the Store and check it out. Yay flies!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

We've Got Stickers, Yes We Do!

I think I missed the boat when this whole sticker craze happened, but in recent months I have noticed that it does actually exist, and my whole philosophy on life is "Better Late Than Never". So, I have joined the hordes and masses and throngs, and I have designed a sticker to promote this ol' blog. And I think it turned out even better than I ever expected it would:

These stickers are 3"x 3", and would look great on pretty much anything: car window, fly box, guitar case, fly tying box, truck window, bumper, boat, forehead, wall, laptop, desk, refrigerator, trapper keeper, reel case, trombone case, toaster, toaster case, any other kind of case, etc...

These awesome stickers will be for sale in the near future on the ol' blog for $2 each, including postage, but if you "Like" this post on Facebook or Twitter, you will be entered into a drawing for a free one. Who wouldn't want a free sticker to put on one of the aforementioned items? I can't think of anyone! "Like" away! I will announce the winner next weekend!
There's one for your fly box, toaster, trombone, truck window, Thule topper, and forehead!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Kiap-TU-Wish Open House

Some of you might have seen the title of this post and wondered "What in the world is a Kiap-TU-Wish?" Well, I will tell you. It's an awesome Trout Unlimited chapter in western Wisconsin, right in the heart of the area in which I learned how to fish for trout. I don't know if the word Kiap-TU-Wish is an acronym, or maybe a compound word, or just a bunch of grammatical jibberish, but the name comes from letters taken out of the names of local trout streams: Kinnickinnic-Apple-TROUT UNLIMITED-Willow-Rush. This chapter has been doing great things for the local trout streams for several decades, and I am proud to have been a member, off and on, starting over 30 years ago.

Kiap-TU-Wish is doing something new this year for the September meeting. They are putting on an Open House at a local brewing establishment, in hopes of getting their message out to some new people, and maybe even getting some new members signed up. It is happening this Wednesday, September 5th, at the Rush River Brewing Company in River Falls, Wisconsin, from 6PM to 9PM.

The Open House will include fly casting demos, fly casting games, Tenkara and fiberglass rod casting opportunities, fly tying demos, the chance to learn about fly fishing opportunities for women, and you can learn about Kiap-TU-Wish and all of the volunteer opportunities that are available. My buddy Peter and I will be manning the fiberglass rod casting area, and we'll have a plethora of glass rods for you to try out, both modern and vintage. That alone is worth the price of admission, which is nothing, but there will also be beer, soda and pizza to enjoy, so if you are anywhere within a 1000 mile radius of River Falls, you should come to the Open House. If you do, swing by the fiberglass rod casting area and say Hi!
Come out and try some awesome glass rods!