DownloadedFile On January 1, 2014, I pupped out. Our group all pupped out. Sometimes decisions have to be made. On this day, at negative 23 degrees there would be no peer pressure for pupping out.

A number of you have been looking for a report on fishing in Southeast Minnesota. You have to read through this first.

“Pupped Out”!

This is a phrase that was used often in my youth.The meaning is derived from the behaviors that one might observe from a young dog, a puppy. Behaviors like fear, submissiveness, uncertainty or just plain stubbornness.  Pupping out can be regrettable. Like the time you decided not to go fishing because it was supposed to rain all day. Turned out it didn’t, and all your buddies had the outing of their lives. Giant trout on every cast. Meanwhile you tripped on the stairs, fractured your knee cap and broke the wrist of your casting hand. Or, it could be a wise idea to pup out. Mainly the word puppy and its forms were used in a challenging manner. This phrase was most often used when someone in our group was about to do something stupid, dangerous or illegal and wanted the others to suffer the same injuries or consequences associated with their hair brained idea. Either you were in, or you were a puppy.

Please remember, the following scenario is complete fiction. The names have been changed to protect those who are now in prison or dead:) It is just important that you understand the meaning of “pupping out” the next time you use it.

One sunny afternoon Jim, John, Jeff, Randy and myself curiously played in the schoolyard. Our eyes were fixed on a maintenance crew replacing one of the broken windows of the kindergarden classroom. Teenagers had thrown rocks at the window. The safety glass with the wire mesh running through it had kept out the rocks and the perpetrators, replacement was necessary. Shortly after the crew had loaded its tools up and driven off, we decided to go and inspect their work.  As we looked at the shinny new glass we decided finger prints, nose prints and lip prints would dress up the new pane nicely for the kindergardeners. As we marked up the window(a harmless childish prank) with our snot and such, Jeff”s elbow slid across the edge of the sill.  On it, was a soft clump of pliable putty. Only a week before,  our art teacher, Mrs Frankart, had encouraged us to explore our creativity with a clay substance just like the goop on Jeff’s sleeve.  After removing a large quantity of the putty, leaving just enough to hold the window in place, the game was on. For the next hour we formed trucks and fish and turds. We threw it at each other, smeared it all over our hands and clothes and even tasted it. What a blast!

At this point, one of my friends decided the newly tooled glazing compound, fresh and soft, would be perfect for filling every key hole in every door at school. By performing this simple act, no one would be able to enter the school the next day. Poof, no school! At the time it seemed like a good idea. We were having more fun building forts, catching frogs, fishing and discovering new play accessories anyhow. One less day of school was to our liking. We had no idea the compound would dry hard as a rock by morning. Really!

The plan was to systematically go from door to door as a group, each taking turns filling the key holes with putty. Instantly, I could tell there was uncertainty about the merits of the idea among some of the group. In my childhood, we were allowed to play for hours on end without adult supervision. Leaders and followers developed and changed over time. Followers were allowed to choose, but most likely there were consequences for not following the leader, mostly just peer pressure by verbal tongue lashing. Jim was the first to pipe up. “I don’t think this is a good idea, we could get in big trouble.” I remember Jeff saying something like “You can’t run with the big dogs if you always piss like a puppy Jimmy.” I think Jeff picked up this rhetoric  from his uncle who was a Hells Angel, Hippy type, leather wearing, bartender. Jeff spent more time with his uncle than his parents who both worked a lot. Jeff thought his uncle was the bomb. We all thought his uncle was friggin scary interesting. Anyhow, I could see the tears welling up in Jim’s eyes. He was overcome with emotion. Without a word, he took off at full sprint and ran home. Jeff filled the first key hole, and the second. Fear and anxiety began to rear its head. John made up some cockamamy story about being late for a dentist appointment or something. He was out. Randy filled the next hole. It was my turn. I refused. Jeff and I were rotating leaders in the group and he reprimanded me by saying I was pupping out. I told him that was exactly what I was doing. I could handle the tongue lashing, but we both knew it was a stupid idea in the first place. Jeff just wanted the title of bad boy, supreme hellion, danger seeker. Jeff again took his lead role seriously and filled the next two holes. I went home. I watched them fill the last keyholes from the front yard of my house which was located across the street from the school. You could tell they were a bit jumpy. Randy was now acting as look-out since this side of the school was most exposed to auto and foot traffic. Jeff was doing an ultra poor job of acting nonchalant while finishing the job. In total there were 18 door key holes filled with the compound.

I remember watching the scuttlebutt the next morning.  It was a big deal. Cops, maintenance trucks, principals, janitors, teachers. No one could get into the school. The leader of the day was right. School was cancelled.  We heard two days later what had happened. A janitor was finally able to get into the school through a roof access door. This information would be used by Jeff for a later adventure. A locksmith was able to clear the putty from the locks and school resumed the next day. Jeff was eventually caught for this fictional prank. His demise was probably through his boastful comments to some of the other kids. He took all the blame. He never implicated the rest of us. This was just how he rolled.


IMG_5300Last Sunday at 37 degrees we fished Hay Creek. The grasses were tall making for difficult casting in the narrow channel. The snow was walkable and the river was clear. The cows and horses were content to watch us without too much interjection. Fish were caught in the deep slow pools and in sections where deepish water flowed at medium speed through rocky man made channels. Hands and knees were a must. Trout would spook if you were close and upright. Successful patterns included bead head bloody princes, zebra midge, fire midge and small copper Johns. A few risers were spotted, none were taken. It was great to see the water and go on walkabout. After pupping out on the opener, it was just what I needed.

IMG_5301Reports have come in from all over the Southeast. Anglers are catching trout(and suckers). Leave the shack nasties behind and get out there!