As my journey in fly fishing began, my dad played a big part and pushed us both in to a casting lesson together. It was actually him who had the great idea of fly fishing and thought it would be a great way for us to spend some time together. We'd often golf, but I had really become interested in bass fishing and he thought this could our thing. So we began a journey together, that quickly became an obsession for me, but remained an interest, for my dad. We still spend a lot of time together and the time we have on the water, I covet a bit more than some of the other.
When my dad and I are on the water, when it's just he and I, often times I'm helping him battle knots, work on his casting, help him select flies and in general, kind of play guide. It's one of my favorite things to do. He's helped me so much over the years that it's great to return the favor sometimes. But this can bother him a bit, feeling that he's taking me away from fishing. So as we continued to learn new water, he asked if we could get a guide on water I knew pretty well. I chuckled at the idea and said we shouldn't waste our money. In just the way a dad can, he let me know that he needed a bit more help than I could provide and any extra bit of knowledge of some close to home water, wouldn't be a bad thing.
Knowing the fly shop in town offered guiding services, I reached out and asked who might be available. They said they'd take care of everything, just meet up at the shop. I wasn't sure of things, but we showed up and choosing to get a guide that day introduced me to a guy I think is one of the best in the Driftless. And one of the most knowledgeable and fishy guys around.
Nick Volk has been a man of many shops and it seems every time I run in to him or talk to him, he's smiling and wanting to know what I've been up to. Nick was working out of what is now defunct, On the Creek Outfitters in Cross Plains, WI and then spent some time as the Fishing Manager at the Orvis here Lombard, out in the burbs. He's since headed back up with Wisconsin and committed himself to catching every type of fish he can here in the Midwest, from musky to trout and everything in between. He's started up Streamside Fly Fishing Co. and invited me out to great little local stream to chase brownies and catch up recently. Our paths seem to cross a couple times a year and we always talk about spending a day on the water, and thought one of these last weekends might be a great weekend to get out.
I'll let the pictures do the talking. But in what seems to be my continued curse in Wisconsin, we spent another wet day chasing brownies and had some good success. We broke in the Yomogi with a nice 14" brown and seemed to catch every 3" fish in the stream. We traded off fishing different the different holes, delicately laying out flies in between branches in the brush, and chucking big streamers in to the heads of pools hoping for an eat somewhere before it reached the end. All while we had intermittent heavy rains and a nice steady rain from pretty much walking in to walking out.
It's always good to catch up with someone like Nick. Not only do I seem to learn a ton every time we hang out, he's just an all around nice guy. If you're looking for some help finding your way around the Driftless area, give him a call. It'll be a decision you won't regret.