When I moved to the Midwest I lived in River Falls WI for a short time. It was a perfect place for a fly fisherman to get acclimated to the driftless area. With any luck I'll retire there watching $4 movies at the local theater, evaluating the Chiefs during spring training and sipping coffee at the South Fork Diner every morning before hitting the stream. The Kinnickinnic runs through town which boasts thousands of fish per mile. River Falls is a short drive from several other quality streams; the Rush, Willow and Trimbelle. It's also home to two top notch fly shops/guide services in Lunds Fly Shop and Kinni Creek Lodge and Outfitters. We took a trip there Sunday to walk through Glen Park and check out the water. Here are some photos from the day.
Interesting history...who knew there was once a zoo in River Falls.
The swing bridge was originally built in 1925 for $4,800
Views from the swing bridge.
All four parts of Chasing Waters "River X" from Chasing Waters PRO "Tim, Chris, Jordan, and Eric met up with Brian Sloss and Brian Wise for a trip to "River X" for smallmouth bass on the fly in the middle of winter. If you like the theme song be sure to go to osmrmusic.com and buy the original version "A few Cold Beers" Enjoy!
To finish the fly pull both the thin skin and pearl tinsel over the thorax, tie off, trim and whip finish. Place a drop of your favorite epoxy or head cement over the thorax. The tinsel underbody can be slick so I add thin layer on the underside to keep the wire in place.
Last year we proudly partnered with Project Healing Waters to support the amazing work they do for our service men and women. We had a great response with phenomenal individual and corporate contributions. I’m pleased to announce our 2nd Annual Fundraiser for Project Healing Waters will run the week of Veterans Day (November 10th – 14th). That week we'll auction off donated items through Ebay with 100% of the profits going directly to PHWFF. We'll also provide a link for monetary donations and I’ll kick in free flies to anyone who gives through the site! Be sure to check back for updates as we get closer to the event.
If you or your company would like to donate items for auction, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like last year, we’ll build a sponsor page to highlight your support of Project Healing Waters.
Help me spread the word by using the social icons below! Thanks - Kyle
Here is a really well done film from ArcticSilver Innovation which was chosen to be a part of the IF4 Tour in North America. If you're curious about the touch of product placement in the video you can learn more HERE. Also, be sure to check them out on Vimeo. Enjoy!
We took a family hike today at Spring Lake Park Reserve to take in the colors of fall. No rods made the trip, but I did spend some time scouting the shoreline!
I try to add a new pattern to my YouTube channel each week, but I'll also start providing a pictorial step by step to accompany the video. Let me know what you think!
With winter approaching us fly fisherman will likely have time on our hands normally occupied streamside. We’ll tie flies, read books and watch a DVR full of fishing programs. Two years ago I had the same off season expectations. Somewhere along the line I got a wild hair to start a website. To my surprise the build process was relatively easy and inexpensive. The challenges were in layout, content and delivery. Admittedly I’m still learning, but if you ever thought about building a site or blog maybe I can help get you going.
Content – I started Hammer Creek with fly tying in mind and built out features from there. Initially I wanted a place to showcase patterns and videos outside of YouTube. Honestly the blog, gear review and store weren’t planned initially. Before you start, outline how you want your site to look and the content you want to share. On more than one occasion I needed to rework pages because I didn’t plan appropriately. Here are some formats to consider:
Platform - Gone are the days when you need to be a web developer to create a quality site. Several companies provide hosting and templates to get you started; Wix, Google Sites, SquareSpace, WordPress and Weebly come to mind. While there are differences between them, most provide the same basic features (you can compare them here). I choose Weebly and while it isn’t without glitches it's a very user friendly platform. The basics are free, but they do give you opportunities to spend money. For example if you want a website address without the .weebly.com you’ll need to pay for it. If you already own a domain you can build a site in Weebly, but there is a fee. Also, if you want to host an ecommerce page it costs up to $30/month. If you decide to build with Weebly be sure to use my referral link to get started.
Easily add elements by dragging and dropping
Your Audience –If you take the time to create content and develop a site chances are you want someone to read it right? You can hope your SEO gets people to it, or you can proactively share with folks. Social sites like Twitter and Facebook are great places to introduce readers to your blog.
Also, think about the types of sites you like to read and incorporate those elements into your delivery. For example, I like frequency, whether that’s a post a day, or once a week. Do you like a lot of media? Short articles, long articles etc.
Analytics – I’m an analytics junkie so I like to know what content people read, how long they stay and how they found out about Hammer Creek. If that’s important to you I recommend incorporating Google Analytics into your pages. It isn’t as intuitive as the rest of the build process, but Google and Weebly provide helpful instructions.
Ads – Initially I didn’t advertise and only started to in the last six months. Originally I didn’t want the clutter, but there seemed a sense of legitimacy to the sites that did. Again Weebly makes it easy to add Google Adsense anywhere on your site. Adsense creates advertisements based on your visitor interest/search history, but you can restrict the types of ads displayed. A lot of science goes into placement and size, but Adsense offers plenty of guidance. They also allow direct placement so you don’t need to get bogged down with terms and conditions if you have advertisers already (good article on pricing here). Adsense ads generate revenue per click/per impression. The cost per click ranges from $.10-$1. I wouldn’t bank on getting rich from a casual blog or website, but it may offset your operating cost or even bolster your “gear fund.”
Creating a fly fishing website has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It keeps me connected to the sport when I’m not on the water or behind a vise. I found a vast group of bloggers out there offering great content. The industry also cares how the “independents” think, after all we buy and use their gear. I’m fortunate to occasionally receive free products to review and the more influential your site the more opportunities you'll have. If you build a blog you’ll be amazed by the response from the fly fishing community. These collective conversations, supports everything about our sport, from promoting products, local fly shops, new patterns or conservation efforts. When you have your site up and running be sure to drop me a line or include the web address in the comments section below…looking forward to what you have to share!
I consider myself a cold water angler, but this year warm water species gained considerable momentum. While I enjoyed the balance, it meant less time for trout. It seems the start of the year inspires a race against the inevitable. The season is now officially over and I quickly moved past denial, paused on anger before landing squarely on acceptance. I’m not sure how many times I made it out, but I think we’d all agree it never seems like enough. With acceptance comes reflection on what worked, what didn’t and highlight some of my favorite gear of the year.
I’ve got no complaints about my driftless trout season excepting wanting more of it. I started the official opener with my daughter, visited my brother in CO and fished with a couple new friends along the way. Now I’ll settle in for a quick fall and long winter tying flies and working on the site. Minnesota’s early season opens at the beginning of the year and I’m hopeful Wisconsin DNR changes regulations to do the same. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope for a mild winter!