Before we start today’s blog, we would like to address a very urgent and serious matter…
Congratulations to T.P. Tyler Pearson from Minneapolis, MN and the best Mac-economics partner ever J for winning the Caption Contest from last week! T.P. gets a free RiverBums sticker!
His caption for the Goose photo of AC last week…
Seeing this photo gives me Goosebums…
There is more to fishing than just catching fish. Shocking, we know. There are those perfect casts that make you wonder how there couldn’t have been a bass hiding in that small increment of space that you perfectly placed a lure. Not-a-cloud-in-the-sky weather that allows you to view the different shades of blue and bask in the smooth unending beams of sun. The pristine forest glowing with avery, turquoise, and moss greens that pattern the shores.
And then of course, there is that river. Clear, cool, and collected. Where the boulders bulge up like tiny mountains on the ground and you are the giant, wading through them, a serene power that guides you through the water. And that water, pushing against your might as each force of rapids manipulates the seams of your waders and rippled water continues on in every different direction. Agitated at the interference of flow, searching for a way to correct itself. A river is timely, organized and precise. The way it maneuvers around obstacles, never letting a snag ruin the flux. It is sure of itself. Not only in its flowage, but in it’s beauty. The way the sun makes the surface shimmer in a way that would send a man diving head first for looking at it too long. Like life, the river can give and take at the same time. The way each boulder has taken years to move into the ideal place where it will settle for a while and then move on when the water has decided it’s time. One dry summer could spell disaster for hundreds of life forms. Where one wet summer could mean a prosperous and fulfilling season. It all depends on what the river wants.
It is that luminous essence of the river that allows us to wade so well, ideal visibility of the lure for the fish, and overall, a more beautiful experience. Which brings us to the theme of our blog this week. Mud. Or as a RiverBum would define, Chocolate River.
Chocolate River : [Ch-ow-co-lat
1. Willy Wonka’s Watering Hole
2. A chocolate factory that really exists in Colorado
*3. A term used to define a river that has allotted excess rain water and is extremely muddy which produces difficult visibility for both man and fish.
Yes, my friends, this memorial weekend every river from here to northern Minnesota was flooded and muddy. Excess rains accumulated in Minnesota and distributed water over all of Wisconsin and into Michigan for over 5 days straight. Despite the signs, we decided to have a cast at it anyways.
So, with three days off, we decided to head to Minnesota and try the Snake River. However, work took over and we didn’t leave until Saturday afternoon. Dad drove the first shift from 4-7pm and AC took the night shift. It was a smooth drive with little traffic and on and off rain. We knew the rain would cease for Sunday, but our water gauges on the iphone were indicating high levels and little chance for fast clearing.
But, we trekked on and arrived at the Best Western around 10:15pm. Before heading in for a well deserved sleep, AC decided to be social (as always) and wave to the ZZ Top posers standing by their Harleys. They were not as friendly as AC expected and instead of continuing the conversation, she pointed out the green bike and said, “That’s my favorite” before heading in. Typical AC, always making friends in the wrong places! Somehow that simple lesson of never talk to strangers, never quite seeped into her mind.
The next morning we had our hopes set on fishing some uncharted Minnesota river. But, our faith was shattered when we learned more rain had come and the river was unwadable. Not to mention, who wants to fish when the fish can’t see your lure. So we headed towards the Namekagon River in Hayward. We have fished this before, last summer and caught a couple smallies and a northern with a huge parasite (See blog from September 9th) . But, it was another strike out, as bridges had been closed due to flooding. So, with 2 strikes, we decided to play it safe and headed to the one river we knew we could always rely on, the ******** river (come on, we need to keep some secrets).
Along the way, we stopped for lunch and heard about the Chippewa River in Durand. When we got to the river, we noticed it was a much larger flowage and less flooding occurred. So we grabbed our rods and decided to try it out near a picnic area without suiting up. It was a good thing we stopped because AC had a home run on her first cast as she reeled in a black Chippewa beauty of a smallie off the dock…
A 50 mile long river, the Chippewa is part of the drift less area of Wisconsin which makes it immaculate fishing territory. Back in the day, the Chippewa was used as a floatway for lumbering and paper making. The river is substantially stocked with walleye, smallies, pike, and musky.
It was an afternoon adhoc fishing expedition that lasted only a few hours. The wading was difficult as we had to stick close to the shores due to the depth of the river. Wide enough for a charter boat and very woody (full of sticks and trees).
So after no luck and tough wading, we headed out and packed up. Research would have to be done on wadable spots and possible rental boats for another time on the Chippewa. It would be another few hours to the ****** river and unfortunately no time to fish it until Monday morning. So it was a night spent hitting the town where we bought fresh fruit at the local Walmart for dinner. Yes we just use “fresh fruit” and “Walmart” in the same sentence. Surprisingly there was an over abundance of fresh fruit, but a shortage of Capri jeans and flip flops. Go figure! When we got back to the hotel AC hit up the pool while Dad tried out the clean remote. That’s right, hotels now carry remotes that are sanitized! Now if only they could work on those bedspreads…
The next morning, we were out early and within an hour arrived at the river at 9 am on the dot. We suited up and headed to the banks as we were welcomed by a dark chocolate river. This was the muddiest we had ever seen it. Even in the shallowest of areas, we couldn’t see bottom. But, did that stop us? Oh hells on reels no! And just for all you doubters out there, here’s proof…
Hiding below a log
Reeling in the bass
Wading to China…
Caught along an eddy
She always finds a way…
A new friend…AC named him Griffin
Between a rock and a deep spot!
Caught along a deep trough- lunker of the weekend goes to AC again…
Chocolate river? No problem! Total fish for the weekend: 1 in the Chippewa and 10 in the ******** river. Despite having to work hard to entice the bass to the top, we did pretty good. The weather stayed clear, the river was generous and we had a blast on our first memorial trip to Wisconsin.
Until next time, we’ll see ya on the other side of the river…
AC & Dad