2014 Year in Review by Sean

January 20, 2015 § Leave a comment

Driftless Spring

2014 was a good year. Most years in Wisconsin are pretty dang peaceful, enjoyable, and beautiful, last year was no different. Below are just a few fishing highlights. Ben and I made it down to the Viroqua area for some spring (well, winter) fishing. We still had plenty of snow on the ground and the fishing was tough, but we managed a few. I love this shot of the barn and the bent 5 weight rod.

Ben w/ Snowshoes

After the big snow melt and the green reappears can be some of the most enjoyable fishing of the whole year. Here is a stretch of water pretty well known in western WI, but it always produces. This little 12″ along with several others were hungry for my nymph offering.

Nice Stretch Surface

One of my most memorable days came when I was hunting for big brown trout and I was rewarded with two Brookies in the 14″ range! I had to work for it, hiking/wading for a couple hours before I finally connected with this first fish below. Then the next whole, boom a slightly bigger Brookie… and fat! I was on cloud nine.

Streamer Eater Thick Brook

Summer: there’s nothing like waking up at the crack of dawn and heading out to a local stream. Fish for a few hours and make it back by 9 or 10 am for round 2 of coffee and hearty breakfast. This brown was my longest fish of the season.

Summer Leopard

My birthday present from my wife was a trip down to Viroqua area with these two dudes! We had a blast and I fished 4 streams I had never fished before.


2015’s gunna be a good year.


There are Stretches – A Poem By Sean Carey

August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment


There are stretches of the creeks we fish

That tell a story of place

There are stretches full of sand

There are others sloped and freestone

There are stretches that need adjusting

There are others left alone

There are stretches that just click

There are others that leave you searching

There are stretches that look of promise but nobody’s home

There are stretches I keep a secret

There are others piled with Saturday cars

There are stretches that have footprints

There are others lined with trails

Tromped down yesterday by deer and trespassers

There are stretches that leave you breathless

In the trudging through head-height grass / knee-deep snow kind of way

There are stretches that remind me of the West

There are others that remind me of Wes

There are creeks that feel like rivers

There are “rivers” you can jump across

There are stretches that leave me puzzled

There are stretches that put me in awe

There are stretches that can make us weep

There are others that hold sheep

There are stretches that downright suck

There are others we call honey-holes

There are hollows where the birds nest

There are willows where we lay and rest

There are stretches that change

Washed out, hell-bent, and there ain’t no stopping that flood

There are criks that are murky

What lies in those lairs of deep?

There are springs that flow from a rockwall

There are holes like aquariums

There are stretches that always remind you of a friend

There are stretches you can see in your head

Every bend, every riffle-run-pool like a movie

Always moving, never sitting

There are stretches that teach

There are stretches that keep (your flies mostly)

There are stretches that cut through pasture

There are others that will engross you

Alder-choked, thicket topped, dim-lit mysteries

That probably hold a big or two

There are stretches you only fish in spring

And there are others that call to you in summer

There’s that stretch where you took a fall

There’s that stretch you’ve only fished in the fall

There are stretches you’ll never fish – you can’t fish it all

There are stretches that invite you

There are others where your feet stay wet

Or sneak around like a hunter in the woods

There’s a stretch where a fawn fell

There’s a stretch we call the storm spot

There’s a stretch we call the coulee section

There’s a stretch we call the Canyon

There’s a stretch we call the Stonehammer

There’s a fly we call the Klinkhammer

There’s a stretch where we got hammered

There’s a stretch that has “The Hole”

The one-true-pure-circle of life-all’s-right-with-the-world hole

There are stretches where you lose time

Focused on the stillness

Of a thousand tiny things happening in front of you

There are stretches we call home

There are even some that define us




Trout Fishing Recap 2012

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Man, I wish Wisconsin just went to a catch and release season in the fall. It’s so hard cutting off at the end of september, especially when there are days in October that you step outside and just know the trout are just going nuts on your favorite stream nearby. I suppose just like the seasons, fishing seasons make us realize what we have and where we live, and be grateful for each morning our backs heat up with the rising sun, or recall the dog days of summer when we’re scrambling our way back to the car in the dark because we just kept fishing until we couldn’t see.  And we look back and remember those absolutely perfect days we had on the stream.  Sometimes its those days where you can do no wrong and the fish are into it. Those are memorable. But I’ve realized for me, I get even more nostalgic for those days that I’m just really clear headed, I’m exploring, I’m present in all ways, and then a few nice fish come fall for my presentation.  There was the day 2 or 3 years ago (can’t remember)… on my local creek, it was lightly raining, it was soooo green, and all was connected. What I can remember is the way the rain was hitting the water, the way I felt completely a part of my landscape, and the greater W. Wisconsin that I live in.  The first day I got out in 2012 was one of those days. Every hole I delicately and accurately casted in provided a fish. It was so exciting and satisfying.  Also, had a day in late summer that I did some exploring on a new creek. Its one of those spots you drive by all the time and say, hey , that looks cool up there, but you never stop to fish. The first hour was uneventful fishing, but it was some of the most gorgeous scenery I’d ever seen on the stream. I knew there would be fish and sure enough the holes started to get deeper and the fishing picked up. I didn’t catch a bunch or really a lunker, but a few decent fish, beautiful-new territory and I was in contentment.  I caught my biggest and fattest Wisconsin trout this spring, and Ben and I hit some caddis fishing in the driftless by Viroqua in May.

It was hard to say goodbye to the season this year. Maybe it was me being gone for most of the summer.  I’ve been scouring the internet for blogs, forums, etc – just learning what other people think, other spots to try out. Already getting ready for next spring (and definitely planning a trip to Iowa / Mn this winter) ((hopefully)).

Signing off,


Water on the Road

October 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of the advantages of travelling all around the states is getting to see different bodies of lakes, rivers and streams.  There are stretches of highway where trout streams meander alongside, and others swiftly pass by.  Either way, it leaves me day dreaming, and usually a bit sad that I cannot get out onto the stream, even just to touch the water… Sean and I started this thing where we air false cast whenever a stream crosses our path.  Mostly for entertainment, but deep down inside the movement of casting makes it okay and fulfills a small portion of my imagination of catching a fish.



And on a side note, here is a picture of my brother with a nice sized musky he caught on the Apple River!  Way to go!


Great End to a Great Year

October 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

In between the end of a month long run on the road and the start of another, conveniently placed during the last few days of trout season and my brothers week long vacation, this special part of Wisconsin beckoned once more.  And of course Duke Welter joined in.

The day started off overcast and cool with a slight breeze – perfect for us and enough to keep out your average fair weather fisherman.  Our first stop was at Little LaCrosse Creek on a newly restored stretch of stream and not much wider than the width of a car.  Wind picked up and the overcast went away and it was decided that a PhD was needed to cast in these conditions.  Precisely what Duke, Andrew and I all have.  Not that I want to lump myself or my brother into the category of Duke Welter’s casting ability – he is in a league of his own but not with that picturesque way out west style casting…

Here you can see Andrew and I in our low class non-orvis fishingwear.

We headed to a stream on a stretch I’d never been before on the Bad-Axe.  I hooked into this beautiful 16″ brown, one of many of this size we caught in this stretch.  When he slammed my hopper I yelped and hollered and I knew we were in for a good day.

The strong winds of the day made for some good hopper fishing.

Andrew tore his waders open so decided to call it a day, while Duke made one more attempt.  I told him we were thinking about heading out, and promptly responded “stay here and watch me catch this fish and take a picture of it.”  That’s not the first time he’s done that either.  Low and behold……..

Duke suggested we get some delicious pizza from the Driftless Cafe – cracker thin crust and sweet red sauce.  We arrived and a couple was playing some Old Time.  I listened and enjoyed the looks of the beautiful girls of Viroqua.



Andrew and I camped streamside at Esofea park, drank whisky and played cribbage. In the morning wemade egg scramble and coffee and went back to fish the rest of the stretch we were on the day before.  It was strangely reminiscent of the Rush, 2 cars here, 3 cars there, a few more over there…  Why today and not yesterday???

We decided that it wouldn’t have been as good as the day before anyhow, fished another creek on our way out and headed home.


September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Not So Lost Opportunity

August 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

You would think that living within 45 miles of two world class trout rivers and several very good creeks that get little to no fishing pressure in that same radius, that you could catch me honing my skills on a regular basis. But admittedly, I am not a “die hard” trout fisherman… c’mon, I have a full time job, dad of twins, an avid archer, Mr. Fixit around the house and someone has to mow the lawn, right??? But the truth of the matter is I still have enough of a passion for trout fishing that I try to get out a few times a season. Oh, also, the only time I hit the tying vise these days is when Ben comes begging that he is out of pink squirrels and wooly buggers…

But I recently got bit by the trout bug and decided that the remaining days of the trout season aught not be another lost opportunity for me. I called Ben and told him that I was going to the Rush River and I suggested he come along. Without hesitation, he agreed and we met in Baldwin and within an hour we were fishing on the Rush.

At first, it seemed that our day was spoiled when we had an encounter with an out-of-stater. As we were stringing our poles at the access point, they quickly hopped out of their car and engaged in a foot race to the stream. In situations like this, I typically avoid confrontation, but Ben thought that they should be aware that they were being less than courteous… But we both agreed than two can play they game they chose to, so we walked right past them and cut in a hundred yards ahead…

After the first hurtle had been cleared, we were into the fish right off the get go. Ben hooked into a 12 inch class brown, and immediately tied into a beautiful 16-17 incher on a coachman fly.

My first fly selection was a searching pattern, a generic nymph that I have always fished with confidence. But my efforts were not rewarded as quickly as Ben’s. As we fished through the first big pool my luck didn’t improve. Ben was up 3-0.

As a side note, if you know us two, we are very competitive with each other and have differing opinions on a lot of things which often times leads to a bit strife, however, trout fishing has always been one of those things where we both get along wonderfully and we feed off our successes and failures quite nicely. It is truly one of the things I most enjoy doing with him.

As we exited the pool, I changed my setup to one of my favorite flies, the pink squirrel. No sooner was my fly tied on, I had my first Rush River brown on the other end of the line… Not bad, but a 10 incher.

The last pool we fished deemed most productive. Ben picked up a couple more and I tied into three including a 13-14 inch brown.

After that last good pool, our appetites were high for a cold beer, so we called it a night. All said and done, ten browns and one enthusiastic brookie were caught and released that evening. When we got back to my car, the two Lost Arrow Porters turned out to be the greatest catch that evening after our leaky waiters were peeled off.