Tag Archives: trout

Colorado: Days Three and Four

I kicked off day three in Colorado with a little paddleboarding at the reservoir. It was a beautiful morning to spend on the water! Just as I was about to lock the car and head in, one of my October brides called me, reminding me that I’m never actually on vacation, but I can pretend to be. I scheduled a meeting with her for when I got home and tried to put it out of my mind.

This view helped.

I took my brookie for a swim…

This SUP was very different than the wooden beauty that I have at home, but it was a great time. I changed out of my suit into a sundress in the car (mental note: spray Febreeze again to keep that hot car from smelling like the river…), then headed downtown to grab coffee and do a little work.

I love this little shop,Β The Cup, so I kept coming back. It’s a really popular place, so the lines are usually pretty long. I had almost made it to the front of the line, and the man in front of me was asking the barista all sorts of questions about the prices of coffee, and he dropped a handful of change on the counter and started counting it. He suggested that he’d go to Starbucks since it was cheaper over there. It was obvious to me that he was having a hard time paying for his coffee, so I said, “It’s okay, I’ll give you a buck or two to cover your coffee.” Karma points earned. It was sure a surprise for me when he turned to the barista and said, “In that case, instead of drip coffee, I’d like the Nitro.” It must have been some kind of coffee with nitrogen… so I ended up buying my stranger a $5 cup of coffee. Sure, I’d blown my coffee budget, but at least that guy got a really nice cup of coffee. I stuck with drip, myself.

I typed and edited and read and sorted, then packed up to head to the fly shop to meet Kyle. I’d been virtually introduced to Kyle through my other TU friend from Oregon, also named Kyle. It turns out that TU people are awesome, though that’s really no surprise to me. We met in real life at the shop, grabbed a couple flies, then headed out to Boulder Creek.

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It was a beautiful day to be out on the water.

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(photo credit: random awesome fly angler who walked by)

Kyle caught a couple fish, and I didn’t catch a darn thing. I did have a strike, though… but couldn’t follow through. I was amazed at some of the shallow moving water that was holding fish. I couldn’t believe they were in there! I tried several new casting techniques that I’ve never done before. It was a great learning experience. I just love fishing in other areas and learning more about fish behavior.

We stripped off our wet waders and boots and headed back into town for tacos and beer at Sanitas, and we talked about TU on the drive. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I really love that organization and everything they do for cold water.

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Delicious food, great beer, and fabulous company. Thank you for all your help, Kyle! I really appreciate you taking a chance to get out fishing with a stranger.

I came home to see this smiling face, and I fell sound asleep, dreaming dreams of pretty mountain trout. ❀

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And just like that, I woke up. Solo fishing day.

Don’t get scared now.

After being skunked fishing with Kyle the day beforeΒ (who certainly knows what he’s doing), I headed out to the stream with low confidence. I knew I needed an attitude adjustment, because embracing a bad mood is no help to anyone, especially myself.

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Once I picked my spot to fish, I grabbed my yoga mat, did a few poses with deep breathing, and strung up my rod.
I walked down to the river, and tried this new spot. No luck.

Another new spot. No luck.

Changed flies. No luck.

Changed flies and went to a new spot, scaring a snake along the way. No luck.

Tried a dropper. Lost both flies in a tree lined with other anglers’ flies.

Tried not to be frustrated, but didn’t know what fly to use. Tried a hopper. No luck.

Caddis? Before I had a chance to cast, I saw a hummingbird flying near me, making the cutest little sound. Took a brave little walk through fast water, holding on to a dead tree for security.
Cast once. Twice. Three times, then a flash and strike. Set the hook!
I pulled in the prettiest brown trout, and burst into tears.. so yeah, I snapped. Lost my shit. It must have been the stress and the pressure… no one wants to fly out to a new state in a new region and come home empty handed. Relief washed over me when I felt the tug at the end of my line. Thank. Goodness. I fooled one.

I caught several more in the next fifteen minutes, including the biggest trout I’ve ever caught while wading. I packed it up and headed back early, leaving on a high note.
This game is certainly about the chase, about feeling independently adequate, trusting yourself and trusting the fish, and being brave on solo adventures. Sometimes it’s harder than I thought it would be, but it’s always worth it.

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I grabbed a quick lunch from a food truck downtown, then headed up toΒ Chautauqua to run my little heart out.

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Trail running: where going down is just as hard as going up. Don’t-fall-don’t-fall-don’t-fall.

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It was an awesome run, and very unlike my flat Central Sands home. There is a beautiful grassy park at Chautauqua where I stretched out and did a little yoga, then headed back to Aaron’s to shower and get ready for “girls’ night out.”

The drive to Denver was pretty short and there wasn’t much traffic, so I got there before Meredith was finished with her kickball game. I stopped in at Starbucks to grab coffee and do a little work until she was ready to hang out. The view from the coffee shop was amazing!

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When I got the “I’m ready!” text, I headed to the park to finally see my friend! I met Meredith when we were in first grade, and the rest is history. I love that the park she was playing in had views of the mountains on one side, and the Denver skyline on the other. So awesome.

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We headed to Meredith’s condo for dinner, catching up, and we got ready to go out. She has a gorgeous view of the skyline from the patio of her Capitol Hill condo.

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I don’t know the names of all the places we went, but we danced, played beer pong, and laughed a lot. Thank you for the fun night, Mere!!!

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All this vacation was wearing me out, and I was so happy to snuggle in on Meredith’s couch for a night of sleep before my upcoming day at Rocky Mountain National Park. That adventure is up next.

Here, fishy fishy…

Miles this year: 347.65

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Early season fly fishing in the Driftless, a.k.a. my love affair with pink polka dots

I love fly fishing early trout season. Yeah, it’s cold. And sometimes snowy, sometimes rainy. On last year’s trip, we fished all day in the ice-cold pouring rain. Bundling up is a necessity… but after a long winter inside, it feels good to breathe some fresh air and splash around.

I often head down to the driftless, here in Southwestern Wisconsin. It’s hilly, and there are tons of little creeks full of beautiful trout.

Viroqua is usually my first stop.

 Matt and Geri, a couple friends that I met through Trout Unlimited, own the fly shop down there- The Driftless Angler. It’s right on the main drag. Look for the fish sign!   

 They have a beautiful shop and even better guides! and I have had lots of fabulous days of adventure that started  here.

 Meet Pete and Teak. He’s a friend of mine, a super busy guide, and she is the best fishing dog I’ve ever met.

 Let the games begin!

He took me out to several unnamed locations. It was snowing, and windy, and definitely a challenge! The high temp was in the low 40s. I love hiring guides, even though I’m an independent angler, because they always teach me something new- either a new type of fly, or a casting technique, or they take me to new places and show me how to read different water.

Plus, when my fingers are frozen, they tie on for me. πŸ™‚  Pete can demonstrate any kind of cast that I want to see. I love fishing with and learning from talented fly anglers- they make everything look effortless and they are just plain fun to watch. There are a couple distinguishing features of the driftless region– it’s only a couple hours from my house, in the Central Sands, but I never see geography like this…  The driftless area is called such because it escaped glaciation. The sediment in glaciers is called drift, thus… drift-less. Of course, when I think of sediment, I think of silt and and sand, though drift can contain boulders, and large rocks. The driftless region has carved river valleys for miles- there are hundreds of trout streams!

Before I knew it, I was laying into gently hooking some beauties. Pictures of me fishing, courtesy of Pete. He’s a photographer, too!

  I’m in love. My first fish on a fly rod was a brook trout, and I’ve been head-over-heels for those pink polka dots ever since.

Seriously.

I. Love. Brook. Trout.

I handle them with care and always put them back. πŸ™‚         I took a break to warm up in the shelter of Pete’s van (curly hair, don’t care)…

…then headed out for more. Trout are my favorite, but they weren’t the only fish out there…


 As always, it was a fabulous trip. I hung out with Pete and Teak at their fabulous wooden fishing cabin, warmed up, dried off, studied the tools of the trade… …drank a good Wisconsin beer, and eventually made my way back home.

 I use this barn to mark my “halfway point” between Viroqua and my warm cozy bed.
 Thanks for the stream adventures, Pete! I’ll be back soon.

I lead a charmed life. Until next time… ❀️

Miles this year: 264

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California Rainbows

…and my flight went to California. πŸ™‚
I spent two days fishing the only place in our country where rainbow trout are native.
I was obviously miserable.

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I spent the first day on a float trip on the Upper Sac, with the guys from The Fly Shop, and my TU coworker, Mike.

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I spent the night in the coolest room ever…

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…with an awesome view.

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The second day, we fished on several awesome streams, including the McCloud, Hat Creek, and the little Truckee. The McCloud felt like I was fishing in Jurassic Park.

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I caught some fish.

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I even had a chance to stop in at Burney Falls and dip my toes.

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…and of course, I logged a few miles…

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…and ate frozen yogurt…

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…and consumed a local IPA…

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…and visited a couple fly shops…

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…and generally sought out some adventure. πŸ™‚

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Thanks for the awesome two days of fishing and exploring, Mike!

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I hopped on my plane, flew into the sky, and saw a sign of good faith… From rainbow trout to rainbows in the clouds.

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My flight home was uneventful, and Brian picked me up in Milwaukee. We checked in to our hotel and headed straight to Summerfest to see Bruno Mars!

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He was every bit as awesome as I’d hoped he would be.

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After that day of travel, I fell asleep as soon as I sat down in the car, and Brian waited patiently in traffic to get to our hotel.
I still managed to rally the next morning to snag a run in Milwaukee. Our hotel was only a half mile from the Oak Leaf trail, so I jumped on there and had a great time πŸ™‚

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I took a quick shower, then we headed out for a Bloody Mary at Wicked Hop. We love that place.

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We stopped over to visit my uncle Mike, aunt Bonnie, and super cute cousin Alexa for dinner on the way home.

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We made it home with two whole days to catch up on sleep, work, and cuddles with Abbie, before we left for our next adventure.
See you soon, friends… Thanks for reading!
Miles this year: 341.75

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Idaho

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to head over to Idaho for some photo work in December. It was a mountain-y, amazing experience. πŸ™‚ I love that a big part of my job involves playing outside.
Check it out.
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I wore that bear hat when I was on the Bear River, and I liked it so much I kept it on most of the trip!
One of the cities that I stayed in was a little place called Lava Hot Springs. There were little private hot tubs, both indoor and outdoor, that were filled with continually flowing water from the hot springs in the river. It was pretty cool to sit in them!
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I was lucky enough to have my friend, Chris, take me out to (the?) Henry’s Fork and help me catch some fish!
I caught a couple different kinds, the above Rainbow Trout (on my new Tenkara rod), and a really special (and purple!) Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (on the Bear). I was so excited when I caught that fish that I fell in the water. πŸ™‚ I can’t explain the feeling that comes when I can figure out where the fish are, use the right fly, and cast to the fish in a way that allows me, just for a second, to take in the beauty of a native fish that belongs in that water. A kind of fish that has been there for longer than any of us have been here. It’s just special. Plus, that fish was purple. With orange. ❀

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One of my favorite parts about traveling is learning. Every city is different, each state is special. It is amazing how all these waters can simultaneously be the same and unique. Healing, for sure… those hot springs, quite literally. Special thanks to Chris for shooting a few of me in my element, and putting me on a few fish. πŸ™‚
It was a sweet trip, only slightly tarnished by a major shutdown of the SLC airport due to a crazy snowstorm, and an extra day and a half stuck alone in a hotel room topped off by flying standby home with my foot in that walking boot…
but I made it home in time to snuggle with B, bake my Christmas cookies, and finish all my shopping.
Sometimes I wonder why I’m blessed with some of these amazing opportunities… But I just give thanks, and enjoy, and share the results with you!
Have a good one, friends. Up next? Reno and Georgia. πŸ™‚

Miles this year: 116.2

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Playing with fish, the Clavette wedding, a creek- close up, and a bunch of other fun!

What an amazing summer so far. It has been filled with frozen yogurt…

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…very hot weather runs…

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…air conditioning (wearing a sweatshirt!)…

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…finding old photos (my brother is too cute

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…moving back into my office…

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…watching my first American Legion baseball game a couple blocks from my house…

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…training with Paul, including deadlifts…

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… And going to Genna’s 31 party and hanging out with friends and cute babies.

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I’ve also been busy doing research on CAFOs. CAFO stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations- basically a giant farm. There is a proposed CAFO in Saratoga, and the people who live in that small town (population: 5,383 via Wikipedia) are very upset. Historically, CAFOs have had negative effects on the towns that they are in, and the citizens are very aware of that. This particular CAFO will include 3,500 cows!
I went with one of my Trout Unlimited board members to an open meeting about the proposed farm and the 49 high capacity wells that are needed for that farm. There were a lot of people!

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Wysocki Farms gave a presentation about the farm and brought in a groundwater expert to discuss the possible impact on the environment.

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I don’t live in Saratoga- in fact, I don’t even live in Wood County. My main concern is about the three trout streams that run through the proposed farm site, and what will happen to the groundwater. Our area is currently in a drought, so the streams are already in poor condition.
In fact- I got to experience the drought (and high capacity well)’s impact on the streams firsthand when the DNR folks offered to take me out with them on their fish survey on Ten Mile Creek. When the DNR surveys the fish in a stream, they use electricity to draw the fish out of their hiding spots, then net, measure, and count them. We headed out early on a hot, humid day, and the team of four were incredibly kind and informative. Here’s a few photos from the areas that they were surveying.

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The spiders were working hard.

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I left a cryptic message on the bank…

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Some of those stream segments looked like the fairy world on True Blood.

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There were a couple nice sized brown trout.

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The DNR people even let me hold the fish they caught!

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The survey includes a prescribed distance, so we had to climb around obstacles!

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The water was so low in segments that it was only a couple inches deep.

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This adventure was beautiful but concerns me- the streams aren’t supposed to look like this.

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If the wells are approved and the CAFO moves in, how can the streams possibly survive?
Last weekend, we had the rare opportunity to attend a wedding, instead of working at one. Our college friends (and Delta Omicron siblings) Josh and Sarah got married in Sheboygan. We had an incredible time catching up with everyone!

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We love you, and miss you, Rachael!

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The bride and groom are both teachers, so they had a school bus as their “getaway vehicle!”

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The ADORABLE baby Halle…

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Look at all that DO bling! πŸ˜‰

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The Delta Omicron siblings that could make it πŸ˜€

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I am so ready for babies, Brian… I swear!

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We had a wonderful time. Congratulations, Josh and Sarah Clavette!! We love you!
Brace yourself for a shamefully cute photo of Abbie:

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I also had the opportunity to go on a Harley ride with my friend Justin, and a bunch of his HOG friends. We were in a group of 8 bikes, including a dad with his 6 year old in a side car and a woman on a trike! Justin was sporting his new Packer bike. I didn’t take a good photo of the bike in all it’s glory, but you get the idea. πŸ™‚

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I’m off to get ready for the launch/release party for Hoopla magazine, a publication that I shoot for, and to pack for a busy four days with four photo shoots!
See you on the other side of the weekend!

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Miles this year: 379.6

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