Last week I had the pleasure of guiding three generations of fly anglers on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin. The trip was the result of a donation I made to the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, an organization dedicated to protecting all life that exists in this incredible watershed. Sheldon, Greg and Niklas represented three generations of fly anglers from the same family that had come to stalk the wild trout of the Kinni.
Most of my day was spent with Niklas, the youngest of the three. We talked of sport and girls and fishing, of course. Nik was polite and a good listener, all traits learned from his elders I’m sure. Many times on the Kinni, your catch rate will relate directly to your desire to listen. The Kinni does not always give up her fish easily and not listening to your guide only makes catching harder. Nik caught many trout.
The “fish bowl” as it was named that day, is a large bend pool and was the last stop of the day. The pool, littered with limestone boulders that long ago fell from the bluff towering above it, held more than 100 trout that we could clearly see as we stood on the overlooking hillside. The chance to watch the behavior of this many trout at one time is rare.
In a Gallery format, each angler took a turn at casting to and catching these trout while the others looked on. Nik was up first and took full advantage of his chance to show his father, grandfather and his guide that he had learned the lessons they had taught him about fly fishing. Every detail of the drift, the take and the fight was viewed and discussed. They each rotated through numerous rounds, catching about a dozen fish in all from the fish bowl. The day ended with laughs and smiles and lessons learned.
Fly fishing, as with many disciplines, takes great pride in its tradition of passing knowledge and experience down through family generations. This chance to see all three of them fish together was a treat. It was as it should be. Judging from the skills and lessons that had been learned, the legacy of fly fishing will run long and deep in this family.
Thanks guys, for letting me be part of it.