Picture 003Think of yourself at age 75 or 80 for just a moment………….. Will you still be hiking and fishing your favorite rivers?

My favorite rewards for taking annual trips to the Brule River in Northwestern Wisconsin is the chance encounters with elder anglers. These anglers have popped out of the woods or are standing in the favorite pools almost every time I fish on the Brule. I relish the opportunity to greet, meet and converse with these anglers. Over the years they have provided me with the most remarkable insight regarding the rivers history, their techniques and the stories of those characters who no longer stalk the shores of the Brule. For me, their demeanor has been inviting and I have yet to encountered the old curmudgeon who refuses to acknowledge my presence. These gentlemen have not scoffed at the fly tackle I use even though they are armed with gear different than mine. Their short rods, spawn bags, helgramites and flat fish have served them well over the years and they see no reason for change. We all can learn from this behavior and I have made it a point to reciprocate respect to angler, and not judge character by technique. I am hopeful that as I push  into my senior years I am still able to respond to the call of the Brule or any of my fly fishing haunts for that matter.

On my last trip to the Brule last year I was let in on one of her secrets. The old timer I ran into was a fly angler and he gave me this piece of advice.  He said, “Son, when I fish the Brule in the fall, the colors of my flies match the colors of the leaves on the trees that surround me.” I’ll let you read between the lines on that one.