Sunlit Riffles and Shadowed Runs: SWTU Member Survey

November 2014 Serving the Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Sunlit Riffles and Shadowed Runs:
Stories of Fly Fishing in America
SWTU Member Survey
Our November 11 Chapter Meeting
Speak your piece and have a chance to win a
guided fishing trip!
Our November Chapter meeting
will feature readings by Kent
Cowgill, author of Sunlit Riffles and
Shadowed Runs: Stories of Fly
Fishing in America.
Over the next several months, the SWTU board will be
engaging in a strategic planning effort (see the
President's Column on page 2 for more information)
that will help the chapter identify and/or reaffirm
chapter priorities over the coming years.
A critical piece of this is hearing from
chapter, and your ideas about it.
Ranging from the riotously comic
to the nostalgic, edgy and
suspenseful, these sixteen stories
draw from the author's own real-life experience as a
fly-fisherman and offer richly developed and engaging
portraits of characters across the spectrum of life.
Please consider taking the online survey that has been
developed by the SWTU board, at
A marriage betrayal on a trout stream in the north
woods, a young boy’s coming of age as a fly
fisherman in the Black Hills of South Dakota, angler
rage on the redfish flats of the Gulf of Mexico, an epic
quest for bullish rainbows in Montana’s celebrated
Bighorn, the quiet mystique of Wisconsin’s Brule
River, the intensity of combat fishing on a salmon pool
in the Pacific Northwest … these are just a few of the
fascinating tales of fly fishing offered in Kent’s book.
The survey should take no more than 10 minutes of
your time. As an incentive, all members who take the
survey and submit their contact information with it will
be entered into a drawing for a guided trout fishing trip
with guide and SWTU member Jim Bartelt of Spring
Creek Specialties. [Please note that while contact
information will be collected for the trip drawing, survey
responses will remain anonymous.]
Kent grew up in a small rural Nebraska town where
multi-tasking meant playing quarterback on the
football team and climbing into the bleachers at
halftime to play saxophone in the high school band.
Now a retired English Professor (Winona State
University), Kent lives in a valley – a coulee – a few
miles outside Winona, where his cottage sits just
above a small brook trout stream.
Please take the survey by Sunday, November 30.
Thank you for your interest and commitment to SWTU.
Who won $100?
Who says joining SWTU doesn’t pay off? Richard
Burnham joined our chapter in February and his
attendance on October 14 netted him a $100 gift
certificate to Fontana Sports Specialties. The drawing
for November 11 is thus reset to $20 and, as always,
you must be present to win!
Cowgill's previous books are a collection of comic
outdoor stories, Raising Hackles On The Hattie's Fork;
The CranberryTrail, a comic novel about a small
college baseball team with characters drawn from
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and a travel memoir
Echoes of a Vanished America in the Heart of France.
Read on for:
- Workday events and photos
- An Update on on Trout Regulations
As usual, the meeting is upstairs at the Coliseum Bar
and Grill on East Olin Avenue at 7 p.m. but please join
us earlier for dinner and a few stories.
- Time to start thinking icebreaker
- The Trout Bums cross state lines
- Rusty tells the tale of a smidge of a midge
The Stream Team needs YOU!!!
Welcome New Members
See the report and pictures on page 5
for a look at the progress we made at
our November workday. We’ll continue
downstream from the same place on
December 6 and would love to see you!
We’re pleased to announce the addition of the
following new members to our ranks.
When: Saturday, December 6 from 9 am to Noon
(Chapter Approved Sawyers please arrive at 8:30.)
We are honored to have you among us. Please join us
for a Chapter meeting, and we will give you FREE
raffle tickets, flies and “an offer you can’t refuse” from
some of our most experienced fisher-folk! Try to get
there at 6 p.m. for dinner and to sit with one of our
board members to learn more about us. If you will be
attending your first meeting, please contact Amy
Klusmeier so we can expect you.
Pete Corby
Nicholas Illgen
Ivan Rayment
Where: The Falk/Wells Sugar River Wildlife Area.
Take Highway 69 south from Verona toward Paoli,
Sunset Rd is the next road after Locust. Just south of
Sunset is a small parking lot where you can park (If
you get to Paoli you have gone too far south). [Map]
Bring: Work gloves, loppers, and hand saws if you
have them; otherwise the chapter has equipment you
can use. Waders are suggested, but not essential.
Sunscreen and mosquito and tick repellent are
Dan Speerschneider
Pete Kane
Tom Eckert
Register Now for the 2015 Women’s
Flyfishing Clinics
Visit the Women’s
Flyfishing Clinic section
of SWTU.ORG to learn
more and register.
Be ready to enjoy: Hot coffee, cocoa, camaraderie,
and perhaps learn some new places to fish from your
fellow workers.
There are also fliers available to review, post or
share [pdf and jpg].
If you can help out, please sign up with Jim
Hess (608-288-8662, [email protected]) so we can
get a volunteer count estimate. If the weather is iffy on
December 6, check for a cancelation note.
Check out Southern Wisconsin Trout
Unlimited on Facebook to connect to
activities, discussions and friends. (You
should be able to view the page without a
facebook account.)
– Jim Hess & Dan Werner
Conservation Committee Co-Chairs
Building a Better Chapter Starts with You
By Matt Krueger, SWTU President
As you may know, SWTU was recognized last month as one of the finest chapters in the country at the TU
Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, NM, where our chapter leaders were on hand to accept the Silver Trout Award.
While it is indeed a badge of honor to have received this award, we're not resting on our laurels, and we
continue to strive to be the best chapter we can be, period. It's for that reason that over the next several
months SWTU will be engaging in a strategic planning process to plan for future successes and challenges.
Climate and conservation are changing, as are resource agencies. Our chapter demographics seem to be
changing, also, with more and more young folks becoming active members of our chapter. Additionally, our
successful Women's Clinics are bringing more women to our meetings and leadership positions.
These changes and others are exciting and potentially challenging, and the SWTU board sees great value in
having intentional discussions about them and about the chapter's future. The first step of our strategic
planning process is a membership survey, where WE WANT YOUR OPINIONS ON SWTU'S FUTURE. If the
bold capital letters didn't underscore it enough, the board very much values your input on this subject, so
much so that anyone who takes the survey (and provides their contact info, as directed) will be entered into a
drawing for a guided trout fishing trip with experienced guide (and chapter member) Jim Bartelt of Spring
Creek Specialties. You can find this survey on page one of this Newscasts.
Thank you in advance for taking time to take the survey and make SWTU a better chapter as a result.
Chapter members can expect to hear more about strategic planning efforts at chapter meetings in the near
Input on New Trout Regulations
The Icebreaker Cometh
After receiving input from chapter members via an
online survey as well as at the October chapter
meeting, the SWTU board has submitted comments to
the Wisconsin DNR Fisheries Bureau on their
proposed changes to the trout regulations.
2015 will be here before you know it,
so it’s not too early to be thinking
about the Icebreaker. A few things to
do now...
The board would like to thank all members who
provided input on this important topic. Nearly all
member comments were in full support of the draft
comments that SWTU board member Topf Wells and
the trout regs subcommittee drafted. Among other
comments submitted, two important provisions the
board commented on to DNR were a) a request for
increased monitoring and creel surveys in light of the
new regulations that likely will increase trout harvest,
and b) a request to explicitly build into the new
regulations the ability for the agency to independently
and rapidly respond to potential negative responses in
trout populations due to the new regulations or other
unforeseen issues.
Save the Date
You know exactly what you’ll be doing
on January 17 … coming to the
Icebreaker! Check out our amazing
speaker and more information on the
back page.
Donate to the Bucket Raffle
We would be pleased to accept
anything from a handcrafted
birdhouse to a guided fishing trip. Or
consider donating rods, reels,
accessories, camping equipment,
overnight lodging and especially sets
of flies for trout or other game
fish. Our vast array of items add a lot
of excitement (and revenue!) to the
event. Please deliver the items or
make a commitment to a member of
our Raffle Team: Carson Hinkley,
Craig Amacker, Tristan Kloss.
We will continue to work and
share information with the
DNR as they move toward
implementing new trout
fishing regulations.
Plan to bring a kid
Tom Parker has made a great effort
to prepare a program for Stream
Explorers. Members are encouraged
to bring their youth (or their neighbor’s
youth) to the Icebreaker. The kids will
enjoy free admission, an enjoyable
program and a chance to win a fly rod
kit or other prize. Also Henry Cyrns
will guide them in fly tying!
Here is something from UW Extension you might
be interested in … the Wisconsin Wildlife
Phenology Calendar. Signal (or indicator) species
for a healthy wetland is this year’s theme. To order,
go to The Learning Store or call the customer
service line: 877-947-7827.
Contact information for Carson, Craig,
Tristan, Tom and others is listed in the
article on the back page. Contact them
with your questions, comments or offers
to help!
We were keyed into this by Mike Miller who
explained… Phenology is the study of annual
re-occurring plant and animal lifecycle events,
e.g. when birds migrate or plants flower.
Examples for Oct.: frogs begin to burrow into
the mud, whitetail bucks begin making
scrapes, wood ducks begin heading south,
redwing blackbirds gather for departure, WI
inland trout anglers begin downward spiral into
depression (OK, I made the last one up).
The Trout Bums Q&A
Edited by Tristan Kloss
This month’s episode: “Going Ioway”
Jordan Konisky has some good advice regarding fly
pattern choices. “A few years ago, former SWTU
President Frank Kosmach introduced me to the Craig
Mathews Zelon crippled midge which has worked well
for me in Iowa during October and November,” he
says. “I have also had pretty steady success in Fall
with an olive or tan improved sparkle dun in size 18-22,
another Mathews pattern. I sometimes alternate the
midge and dun every 30 minutes or so on the same
stretch of water. My Iowa nymph rig normally begins
with a size 14 beaded copper Prince nymph trailed by
a size 16-18 soft hackle sow bug. If not successful, I go
to my box and guess: soft hackles, pheasant tail,
copper John, etc.”
The end of trout season in Wisconsin doesn’t mean
the end of trout fishing. Many anglers make the trip to
the far corners of trout country to get their fix, but one
of the closest and most accessible late-season
fisheries is located in Iowa. This month we asked the
Trout Bums about fishing in Iowa during this time of
"After spending the entire season in Wisconsin and
not getting my fill, I'm now heading down to Iowa to
continue chasing trout. I've never fished Iowa before.
What should I expect, in comparison to fishing in
Wisconsin? How will the late season trout fishing
compare to spring-summer fishing? Any other tips to
make my experience better?"
Some of their responses came back a bit tongue-incheek. “I would tell you to not send anyone to Iowa as
there too many fishermen from Wisconsin, Iowa,
Illinois, Maine, Kansas, Tennessee and everywhere
else,” was Henry Haugley’s concise reply.
I’ll end with a good reminder from Beecher: “Hunting
season is open in the fall too. Don’t be mistaken for a
deer.” (Matt Krueger, an honorary Bum who has had a
dicey experience during the youth hunt, chimed in to
add that you should know all the hunting seasons and
invest in some blaze orange.)
James Beecher and Jim Bartelt both say that fishing
Iowa is similar to Wisconsin, though there are some
special considerations to keep in mind.
Do you have a fishy question to ask the
Trout Bums?
Send it to Tristan Kloss at [email protected], and
we’ll try to get it answered in an upcoming segment
of The Trout Bums Q&A.
“Some of the more notable differences: washboard
gravel roads, less attention to etiquette (someone may
fish right in front of you), there are more spin and bait
fishers,” says Beecher.
“Expect to see bait and spinner fishers, especially on
weekends. Camping is free at stream access points
with the purchase of an Iowa trout stamp. Expect to
see tents and campers in these areas on weekends,”
says Bartelt.
As far as your approach to fishing, the Bums have a
wealth of good advice.
“Fish are most active during the fall between 10 AM
and 4 PM. Small Baetis mayflies hatch almost daily
during October and into November,” Bartelt says. “A
size 20 tan Sparkle Dun, Comparadun or Parachute
will be effective if well presented.” He also cautions:
“Expect to see browns on redds beginning to spawn in
late October and into November. Do not wade in the
redds and disturb the eggs left there by the browns.”
Thanks again to the BFF!!
Pictured below are scenes from our Nov. 1 workday. This hearty and cheery group cleared box elders
and honeysuckle along the Sugar River at the Falk Wells Sugar River Wildlife Area. We also had another
work crew helping the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association to clear a blockage in Badger Mill
Creek, which flows into the Sugar River. Remember, every time you volunteer for a workday, your name
goes in the hat for a grand prize at the end of the season!
The crew pauses for a picture after a good morning’s work.
Chainsaws Given to the Conservation
Badger Fly Fishers (BFF) purchased
equipment to support the efforts of our
Conservation Committee. Pictured
above is Bob Harrison, President of
BFF, presenting this equipment to Jim
Hess, Conservation Committee CoChair. Included in this generous gift were
2 STIHL 16” chainsaws, 2 carrying
cases, 4 replacement chains, 2
protective safety helmets, 2 protective
safety chaps, bar oil, engine oil and
sharpening files with handle.
VROOOOOM … taking the new chainsaws out for a spin.
Bob is also a member of our chapter,
and an active member of the
Conservation Committee and work crew.
In the past, we have always depended
on members to bring their own
chainsaws and personal protective gear,
and the number of sawyers at workdays
would vary. Now with 2 chainsaws in our
inventory we know we will always have
at least two chainsaws, increasing our
productivity. Be sure to support BFF by
attending their 2015 Badger Spring
Opener on February 14 (after attending
our Icebreaker on January 17).
We’d love to see YOU at our next workday
on December 6 … see page 2 for details!
It’s not all power tools … plenty of lopping, dragging and stacking of brush.
Take a moment to view the full photo album.
Photos courtesy: Jim Beecher
Darbee was as generous as he was clever. He gave
eggs in 1954 to Minnesota's Andy Miner, who expanded the color range and greatly improved feather
quality. Darbee described Miner's hackle as "the finest
in the world". Miner never sold a single feather or egg,
but, like Darbee, he gave many away. He gave eggs
to Michigan's Ted Hebert in 1973 and to Pennsylvania's Buck Metz in 1972, who established the first
large hackle business. Metz subdivided the Darbee
flock, yielding a series of lines whose offspring were
more predictably colored. This was an important
advance, as it improved on the "shotgun breeding"
strategies of Darbee.
Fountains of Youth
Classic trout flies that have withstood the test of
time … flies that remain "forever young"
by Rusty Dunn
"Of all feather required for fly dressing, the hackle
is the most important and, unfortunately, the most
difficult to procure." --F.M. Halford, 1886 in Floating Flies and How to Dress Them
How times have changed. If Halford could visit a wellstocked fly shop today, he would be astonished. The
quality and variety of modern dry fly hackle is
extraordinary. Colors that used to be as rare as the
crown jewels are now as common as a knockoff
Rolex. How did it happen? A handful of meticulous
and observant fly tyers raised chickens for decades,
choosing at each generation only birds with the best
hackle for further breeding. Their selective breeding
yielded roosters having long uniform feathers with thin
flexible stems and short, stiff, glassy barbs.
Henry Hoffman was a commercial fly tyer in Warrenton, Oregon. Disappointed with the quality of available
hackle and being raised on a chicken farm, Hoffman
decided to take matters into his own hands. He bought
a pair of bantam Plymouth Rock (grizzly) chickens at a
livestock show in 1965 for five bucks. The birds had
exceptional feathers and founded Hoffman's selective
breeding program. He later added browns and natural
duns to the flock. Within 10-15 years, Hoffman produced the finest hackle ever known, especially his
grizzly. Improvements in feather quality were remarkable. Before Hoffman, rooster saddles were not
suitable for dry flies, but by 1980 Hoffman "Super
Saddles" were legendary. Demand was high, supply
was low, and Hoffman hackle was as scarce as it was
famous. Genetics of both the Darbee/Miner/Hebert
and the Hoffman lines of chickens is now entrusted to
Tom Whiting and other commercial growers, who continue to make improvements that many thought were
Chickens were domesticated over 4,000 years ago
from crosses between at least two different species of
wild Asian jungle fowl. Two separate and independent poultry breeding programs in America produced
today's fly tying elite from more ordinary domestic
stock. One lineage began with Harry Darbee in the
1930s, and the other with Henry Hoffman in the
1960s. Their pioneering work on poultry breeding for
fly tyers lives on today ... literally.
Harry Darbee (1906-1983) was a commercial fly tyer
in the Catskill town of Livingston Manor, NY. Darbee
bred chickens expressly for fly tying from the 1930s
through 1970s. He began with stock obtained from
the famous fly tyer Reuben Cross, but Darbee had the
wisdom to diversify his flock by crossing it with old
European varieties, most notably Blue Andalusian and
English Gamecock. Darbee bred mainly for feather
color, especially the many shades of dun. He spent
decades seeking an elusive "self-blue" variety, which
might yield only natural blue dun offspring. He never
succeeded, but Darbee's many flavors of dun were
treasures of the fly tying world.
When you next hackle a dozen #24 midges or wrap a
feather of uncommon color and beauty, think of the
observant poultry breeders who made it possible.
Harry Darbee's and Henry Hoffman's hands will be all
over your finished flies. Their amazing chickens are
80+ years old and going strong. Indeed, they get better and better every year. We should all age so
gracefully …
Copyright 2014, Rusty Dunn
------------------------------------ Adams Midge -----------------------------------Adams Midges might just satisfy all your midge
needs, but other useful colors are Olive, Cream,
Grizzly and Black Midges. Vary the colors of the
thread, tail fibers, dubbing and hackle as needed.
Dry fly, #20-26
Gray, the smallest available
Grizzly & brown mixed hackle fibers
Gray muskrat, beaver, or silk dubbing
Grizzly & brown mixed
is our biggest
and there are
many ways for
you to help!
One thing that makes our annual Icebreaker so successful is the tremendous generosity of our
members. The time, talents and raffle items volunteered each year help to make it a welcoming,
valuable and special event.
Learn more by contacting the appropriate person: fly tying contact Jim Beecher; lunch contact Pat
Hasburgh; Stream Explorers contact Tom Parker; Fly Fishing 101 contact Amy Klusmeier; general help
contact Jim Beecher.
Your donations needed: The quantity and quality of our bucket raffle items adds a lot of excitement.
These items come from people just like you! Even a dozen of your favorite hand-tied flies can be put to
great use! Also, if you know of a business or individual we should contact to ask about donating an item
or service, please let us know! For contributions, please contact any of these three people: Tristan
Kloss, Craig Amacker or Carson Hinkley. Tell any of them your idea for a donation, ask questions or
arrange to deliver your donation.
Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited Leadership:
Matt Krueger
(608) 852-3020
Vice President
Amy Klusmeier
Tristan Kloss
Kurt Osterby
Past President
Steve Wald
(608) 318-1937
State Council Rep.
Christopher Long
Board Member
Mary Ann Doll
Board Member
Jim Hess
Board Member
Craig Amacker
Board Member
Topf Wells
Board Member
Patrick Hasburgh
Board Member
Michael J. Burda
Newscasts Editor
Drew Kasel
Conservation Committee Chair
Dan Jansen
(608) 846-0710
Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited
P.O. Box 45555
Madison, WI 53744-5555
[email protected]
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[email protected]
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