hank patterson on nymphing

Good stuff here from HP...


f3t reminder

Just a reminder... If you haven't gotten your tickets for the Fly Fishing Film Tour in De Pere, there are still tickets available.  Don't wait too long, you won't want to miss this event!  Also, I heard a rumor that even though the website says they're sold out, there are still some tickets available for the River Falls F3T at Lund's Fly Shop.  Give them a shout if you're interested in attending that show.  Here's a link to their site for more info.

Bart and I will be manning the Tight Lines booth at Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited's "TroutFest" this weekend in Winneconne.  The show runs from 9-4 and is free to everyone.  There will be speakers throughout the day talking on a variety of topics, as well as guest tyers, vendors and outfitters.  This is the last show of the season for us, then it's on to open water and warmer days.  One week and counting until the early trout season kicks off!


soon, very soon

The temps continue to hang in that "stupid to go outside" range, which is alright as it's been a much milder winter than last year.  With the trout season opening in two weeks and steelhead just around the corner, I really feel like we're past the worst of it.  The next couple weeks are busy with speaking engagements, two Fly Fishing Film Tour nights, a tying demonstration and hopefully some fishing. I'll be in western Wisconsin for the early trout season opener and if these temps stick around, it'll be a lot of bank-sitting and coffee drinking and not as much fishing.  Hopefully we get some warm weather and don't have to deal with too much slush and ice.  Either way, it will be great to be out again on the spring creeks... The scuds and midges have been waiting patiently in my boxes!


2/11 report

I had to take advantage of the last of the "warm" days before we get an arctic blast this weekend. When I left the house, the sun was out, the winds were down and it felt like it was going to be a perfect day.  Of course, it never works out that way.  When I got to the river, the sun was gone, flurries were starting and the winds were really starting to rip.  I packed a bottle of water and some granola bars, knowing that I was going to be walking a long ways.  The shelf ice along the banks made the walking easy.  It was like walking a sidewalk with a couple inches of snow on it, cutting my walk time at least in half.  I fished four specific spots hard, swinging through them twice with different flies.  I did have a couple small plucks on one swing, but they did not feel like a larger steelhead or lake-run brown.  Most likely a planted trout from the TU stocking last spring.  By the time I decided to call it a day, my guides were completely frozen solid and my waders were a layer of ice from the waist-down.  I love that.  You can look at it from two perspectives; On the one hand, I walked three miles, got wind burned, didn't hook a single fish, lost three flies, twisted my knee when I broke through a layer of ice, burned a quarter-tank of gas and lost feeling in my fingertips.  On the other hand, I got some fresh air, got some practice casting, exercised, enjoyed the bird sightings and at least gave myself a chance at catching a fish.  That's what winter fishing the Great Lakes tribs is all about.  You can't go into the day expecting to catch fish and marking it as a failure if you don't do so.



Just a note...

I'll be giving a presentation on fly fishing for muskies at TroutFest on February 28th in Winneconne, WI.  This is a free event hosted by Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited.  For more info, click here

I will also be presenting "Badger State Steelhead" on February 23rd to the Badger Fly Fishers in Madison, WI.  For info on the Badger Fly Fishers and their venue, click here.

Both the Badger Fly Fishers and Central Wisconsin TU have great groups and their meetings are always a treat.  Many of their members are long-time customers of ours and I look forward to joining them for their monthly meetings.  Both of these presentations are open to the public... The more the merrier.  What else is there to do in February?


new look

This summer will mark my ninth season guiding for Tight Lines Fly Fishing.  We've moved locations once.  Employees have come and gone.  Families have expanded.  Business has grown.  The one thing that had remained constant was our Tight Lines logo.  A company's logo definitely becomes it's trademark... It's image.  It's what people think of when they hear your name. Our logo was awesome, but Timmy took a chance and is going to roll with a new one for this year. And I dig it!  Shop friend (and creative genius) Eric came up with the design and Tim emailed it to all of us to see what we thought.  The response was unanimous... Let's do it.  It's a fresh new look and I'm looking forward to rocking it in 2015.


the countdown continues

31 more days...


carp... the other whitefish

Super excited to get back out carp fishing this summer. I really wish I had more time to spend on the flats of DC.  I've said it before... When carp are feeding on the flats, there may not be a more fun fish to pursue.  The visual aspect, the strength of the fish, the setting and the understated beauty of the fish makes them one of my favorites.


spot the eagle

Last summer, my clients and I were floating down a side channel and just as we were about to pass under a (severely) tipping pine tree, my client whispered to me that there was "a big bird right over us".  I looked up and there was a juvenile bald eagle, not more than forty feet overhead.  I managed a couple quick shots before she got nervous and bailed.  Ditch the motor and it's amazing what you can see... And how close you can get.


dam removals

This is a really interesting site that shows the dam removals across the country.  Great to see the entire state of Wisconsin covered in check marks... I can think of a handful of deadbeat dams I'd like to see come down.  Several of these could potentially allow trout and salmon smolt to migrate upstream to waters that are cool enough to allow them to survive.  --American Rivers Link--

Also, this marks the 500th post for this site and 8th year in existence.  Thanks for following along and all the kind words.  It's amazing to go to TU meetings and fly fishing shows and hear that people are actually keeping up with this site and reading along.  Much appreciated...



Reminder to get your tickets for the Fly Fishing Film Tour... Once again, we're holding the event at the Meyer Theater in Green Bay on the night of March 5th (Thursday).  St. Brendan's Inn, which is just down the block, will be home to the pre and post-film festivities.  Click on this link for more info or call the shop at (920) 336-4106.


eat a peach

We had the pleasure of hosting guest tyer Dave Pinczkowski this past weekend and Tim filmed and edited this little clip of Dave tying his "Eat a Peach Leech".  If you don't know this fly, you should. It's ridiculously easy to tie, cheap to tie, and it's durable.  The color combos are endless, although Dave has this particular scheme pretty dialed in.  Swing them for steelhead or strip them for smallmouth and browns... Can't go wrong!


should've read the user reviews

Pictures to come... Tomorrow afternoon?  Last year I made the switch to a card reader as my means of transferring images onto my computer.  I had been using a cord that went from my Canon to my USB port, which was slow and prone to "unexpected transfer interruption" when I was uploading. When I got to my local electronics place, there was only one card reader left in stock and it was a whopping $14.99.  I bought it and should've researched them a bit more.  Turns out that the one I got only scored 1.5 stars out of 5 because, in most cases, "it just stopped working".  Well, that's exactly what mine has done.  Time for a new one I guess.

I did get some nice shots yesterday though... It was a beautiful morning on the local river.  Slightly overcast, warm, low winds and only one other angler.  That one other angler did just happen to be right where Bart, Charlie and myself wanted to fish.  So, we did what any other anglers in that situation would've done... Sat on the tailgates, had a couple beers and told fishing stories.  When the fisherman did leave, we headed down and started casting away.  Streamers and sink-tips went out again and again, with little notice from the fish.  I did see one fish boil in the middle of the river, but I could not tell what species it was from my vantage point.  It had all the ingredients to a perfect day, that is until the hometown team absolutely crushed the souls of their adoring fans in a true heartbreaker.  In the words of Forrest Gump, "and that's all I have to say about that".


dawn patrol

Heading out with Charlie and Bart to see if we can work some pre-game miracles.  Streamer session for big lake-run browns and steelhead before the NFC Championship game!  I'm a Russell Wilson fan, but I'd like to see my team destroy the Hawks!  Go Pack!  Pictures (hopefully with a fish or two) of the morning outing coming this afternoon...


kick the winter blues

When I first started fly fishing, the only fly fishing-specific movies were "A River Runs Through It" and some instructional movies that were about as exciting as a college biology video on mitosis. Now there exists a plethora of fly fishing movies that are part Warren Miller, part Wes Anderson and just a little (tiny bit) informative.  The one common bond that they all share is that they're fun to watch, which is a big change from past movies.  They catch your eye and appeal to your senses with drone shots, underwater footage, edgy side-stories and things that all of us enjoy, like beer, music and big fish.  With so many films currently available of this same mold, I get asked all the time which ones are my favorite.  Here's my list.  These are here because I appreciate the story, the fisheries, the editing, the characters and most importantly, the originality (at it's respective time).  I'm leaving out the instructional-type movies.  I know there are some excellent ones, but I feel that that's a whole other genre.  If you live in the upper-Midwest, these can be lifesavers on those wondrous twenty seven-below-zero nights...

- Feeding Time by "The Drake" Magazine - One of the first of it's kind.  Available here... 

- Trout Bum Diaries: Vol I - The first of the TBD films, this one is shot in the Patagonia region of South America and chronicles the crew sleeping in the dirt, dealing with vehicle malfunctions, and of course - catching big brookies, browns and sea-run trout.  Still one of my favorites.

- Running Down the Man by Felt Soul Media - Short flick about chasing rooster fish in Baja.  Fast moving and original. Wish it was a bit longer, but knowing a little about that type of fishing, it happens in the blink of an eye and I can see the challenge in making it an hour-long movie.

- Once in a Blue Moon - Super rad movie about the bizarre mouse migration in New Zealand. Unknown numbers of mice migrate across the landscape and unfortunately (for them) have to cross rivers full of big, hungry brown trout.  Absolutely top-notch editing and footage, one of the few that's as informative as it is beautiful.  Available in HD in the iTunes store.

Off the Grid by RA Beattie - I'm partial to this one because, yes, we are in it.  It also was the first time I got to witness how these films are actually made.  The foresight and planning that goes into the shots, the work it takes to edit and put together these films and just the sheer amount of time that goes into them is astonishing.  Hours of shooting for a three minute segment... Dedication.

Hustle and Fish - As funny as it is original.  A follow up to Fishizzle, a movie that, because of it's title, I avoided for years.  Once I watched it, I realized it's humor.  From trout to salmon to salmon sharks, this little gem is not meant to be serious or informative.  It is, however, fun.

The Drift by Confluence Films - Watch it for the John Hazel segment if you dig two-handed rods. Watch it for the Charlie Smith piece if you like and appreciate fishing in the salt.  A must-have on everyone's shelf.


the countdown

The Wisconsin early trout season opens Saturday, March 7th this year.  That leaves 51 days to go. Someone told me this past weekend that the "experts" are calling for a prolonged winter and a cold, wet, nasty spring.  Fine by me, as long as we're fishing.  There's a new streamer stick in the quiver for this year... Can't wait to break it out.



Great time at the Indianapolis Fly Fishing Expo this past weekend... Great vendors, speakers, outfitters and friends!  The weather made getting there sketchy as our 6.5 hour estimated time of travel turned into almost nine hours of windshield time.  Things cleared out Sunday earlier than normal with an impending ice-storm and the playoffs, but overall it was a well attended show.  I haven't seen that many people all collectively interested in the warmwater game in one place... Ever. The show season is just kicking off for us - Here's a quick list of the shows we have on deck:
- Saturday, January 24th - Cabin Fever Days in Appleton
- Saturday, February 14th - Badger Opener in Madison
- Saturday, February 28th - Trout Fest in Winneconne
- Saturday, March 14th - Tight Lines Open House

Our guest tier Saturdays are also starting up this weekend... Great lineup again this year!  Remember, these are free events for all, so come on over and watch some of the best local talent spin up their specialties.  For a list of the guest tiers, click on this link for more details.

Booth, packed with merch and smallie flies galore!
Night out with the Simms family
Timmy helping some youngsters pick out flies.  Lots of young kids at this show, which is great to see.
Sapporo and sake... Why not?


simms goodness for '15

Just a handful of some of my new favorite Simms pieces for this season.  Some of this stuff I've put through the wringer already and it's come out shining.  I'm still waiting on the packs, but I have handled samples of them and they're going to be bomb-proof!

Simms Dry Creek Z Daypack - Bomb-proof design, totally waterproof.  This will be my new camera/gear/everything pack.
Simms Dry Creek Z Hip Pack - Same material and concept as the Daypack, just in a hip pack format.  Great for steelheaders and deep waders.  Never worry about wet gear in your hip pack again.

Simms Axis Hoody - I wear this as a layer and as a stand-alone piece and it's been awesome.  I've literally beat the hell out of this hoody and it still looks new.  This will be one of those "I own one of each color" pieces for me... It's that good.

Simms Kinetic Jacket - Warm, stretchy, lightweight, packable and tough.  Need I say more?  I love the new material around the sleeve cuffs as this was always a high-wear area and this has stood up much better.  Shockingly warm for it's weight.

Simms ProDry Gloves - 3 in 1 glove system with a removable liner glove.  Can be worn as just the liner, just the shell or all together for the ultimate in warmth and waterproofness.  GoreTex.  Order a size big, they seem to run a bit snug.

Simms Vapor Boot - For those of you that love to hike, this is your boot.  Super lightweight, great traction on all surfaces and tough design.  I love the mini D-loop for hooking your gravel guards to.  I'm looking forward to wet-wading with these!


indiana fly fishing expo v1.0

Tim and I will be in Indianapolis for the first ever Indiana Fly Fishing Expo.  Click here for more info on times, venue, exhibitors and presenters.  It should be a great show with basically every Midwest quide, shop, rep and club in attendance.  The only bummer is that we'll have to watch the Packer playoff game on the iPad on Sunday.  Other than that, I'm stoked to see everyone and catch up, have a couple beers and attend some great talks.  See you in Indy!



Monday, my kids had a late start at school.  Today, there is no school.  It's not snowing... It's just that cold.  Brutal cold.  My German Shorthaired Pointer is enjoying the fact that we put a crate downstairs where it's nice and toasty.  I can't imagine that any mammals (other than polar bears and fur seals) could enjoy this kind of weather.  That said, we fly anglers pass these months by dreaming about open water, watching fishing movies and tying flies.  If you're into tying flies, you have to check this page out.  I stumbled on it while searching for a musky hook that ended up being really hard to find. Tons of great videos, stills and tutorials.  --Click here to visit the FrankenFly site--