No Guarantee When Attempting to Time the Hatch

by | Jun 23, 2022 | fly fishing the northwoods of wisconsin | 2 comments

Matt-NortonWisconsin friend Matt Norton, better known by his college pals as Howie, and who has been on the blog several times this last year, deserves a reintroduction now that I too live in WI.  Howie and I will be fishing together far more than in the past.

 

WisconsinHowie was my Northland College roommate in Ashland for three of my four years.  After college we both went our own ways but stayed in touch.  Howie visited us in Idaho several times.  He retired a few years ago and he, his wife Sue and their two dogs live in Iron River, WI.

 

Both Howie and Sue were a huge help in getting Granny and I to WI.  They looked at houses for us while we were away.  They stored some of our stuff.  And each time we came out to look around we stayed at their lake cabin.

 

Mathew-NortonI reported my Hexagenia Mayfly sighting from two days ago immediately to Howie.  We quickly organized a plan to try and catch the hatch tonight.  I arrived at his house in Iron River midafternoon.  We didn’t rush out by any means because it was 89° and sunny.

 

Wisconsin-riverAt 5 PM we had to go try regardless of the fact the temps didn’t drop.  There were some clouds moving in so there was hope for a cool down and perhaps some hatches.  We looked at several different locations on Howie’s river and settled on fishing this one.  The water moved slow and this particular river always runs slightly off color.

 

Hex-HatchWe knew we were at the correct spot because others arrived.  In fact, a dozen or so and they were all regulars.  We were informed by two gents well in their 80’s that last night stunk and tonight didn’t look much better.  That being said, they came out again this evening . . . . just in case!

 

flyfishingHowie and I trudged our way upstream.  It was a brutal walk through bog and swamp.  I literally only made it two turns from the bridge.  Howie went to the third and I could see him.  There were no rises.  No mayflies.  And approximately 7 billion mosquitoes.

 

WI-troutThinking practice for Italy next month, I put on a single nymph and crawled it along with a hand retrieve.  It seemed hopeless but I knew if I got one it would build some confidence for the upcoming competition.  Lo and behold, I’d catch two small brown trout.

 

flyfishing-the-NorthwoodsEventually I grabbed a seat and retrieved a cold Bell’s Two Hearted Pale from my jacket pocket.  It was delicious and refreshing.  I watched Howie cast working a big mayfly imitation blind along his far bank.  There was a storm brewing overhead and the lightshow was spectacular.

 

flyfishingIt was that very storm that would knock us off the water in the next hour.  It was late anyhow – about 9:45 PM – and we hadn’t seen a single Hex.  The largest hatch was by far the mosquitoes however the most entertaining were the fireflies.  We loaded up and called it a night along with the regulars.  It was a tough night for all.  In fact, I might have been the only one to catch fish.  Of course, I played a little dirty with my nymph – ha!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

2 Comments

  1. Howie

    Lots of gorgeous Wisconsin Trout water up here. I doubt we will hit it all but we can try. Looking forward to more days on the water Buddy, and I have no doubt, more fish.

  2. Jeff

    We will hit most if we last another 25 years. And I think we will!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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