The Drift: March 2023

We are in the middle of our fundraising auction You can read more about it here.

Here we go!!!  I love this time of year, we have so much going on in the chapter! Randy and our brushing volunteers have been battling the snow storms and winning on Cady Creek.  Now is the home stretch to get the project done before the snow is gone and everything dries out. Please lend a hand if you can! 

As far as fundraising goes, we sold out of Cunningham painting and Norling rod tickets in a hurry! Thank you! Be sure to check out our online Auction, there is something for everyone and every budget – from $20 to $5000, with over 80 items! The number and quality of the guided trips and fly boxes is truly impressive. 

Thanks to all that came out to R4F to cheer on Gary Horvath as he received Fly Fisherman magazine’s Conservationist of the Year award.  Simm’s also donated $10K to the chapter in conjunction with the award. That donation has been pledged to be added to the ACOE feasibility study on the Kinni dam removal. Special thanks to the R4F folks for allowing Gary to be honored at their event – it was perfect!

Back to volunteering, we are going to need your help. We are going to need volunteers for Bugs in the Classroom, ECO Day, Earth Day, Trout in the Classroom releases, and others!  Watch for emails to sign up, once we have the dates firmed up in April and May.

Finally, I love this time of year because the BWOs will be returning!  Looking forward to moving from #24 midges to #18 BWOs!

Chance Drawings

We are kicking off our Chance Drawings!

This event combined with the Auction and Hap Lutter Appeal are where most of the chapters funding comes from for the entire year!  From a Trout in the Classroom chiller to a ton of rock needed for a stream restoration, we use the proceeds to help fund the chapters yearly activities.  

The Auction will start on March 10th and continue until March 21st.  More details later.  Let me just say the trips, experiences, and items on the auction are better than ever!  The 2 X 100 chance drawings will start now, with the winners drawn on March 21st.

The first item, a beautiful painting by our 2022 Silver Trout Award artist, Joshua Cunningham! 

12″ x 16″ oil on linen painting titled “Stonehammer.”   A stretch of the Rush River painted in very early spring that should be recognizable to most anglers in our chapter.  If not, you should seek it out (just not when I am fishing there)!

In Joshua’s words:  

“Stonehammer”, was painted on the Rush River in the quiet spring of 2020. The shelter in place orders were loosened, allowing us to fish, hike, and plein air paint…as long as we were outside we were okay, which is a good rule of thumb regardless. 

I was captivated by the way the shadow of the cliff rolled across the bottom of the crystal clear river while connecting and contrasting the foreground and background of the scene. It was very challenging. I abandoned the first attempt, wiping the canvas and painting a different stretch of the river. But the scene wouldn’t leave me, so I went back, to try again.

This is the second attempt, and even then I had to make a couple more visits. With each visit I would layer the brush strokes to adequately express the light filtering through innumerable buds and branches, while having enough interest and reflected light in the shadow side of a cliff without undermining the integrity of the light effect. It had rained between visits, and the waters had muddied a bit, but all around me spring was pushing through. Trout lilies were blooming, goslings were paddling along the far shore, the water would sparkle along the ripple of a rising fish. Despite the challenges …I couldn’t have been more please that I had stayed with it, and even more so know, knowing that a few years later, my work can contribute to the excellent work of KIAP-TU-WISH.

Only 100 tickets will be sold at $20 a ticket.  You know you want (or is it “need”) this original painting of one the most iconic fishing spots in state!  Get your ticket(s) NOW!!!

The second item is a beautiful Norling bamboo rod!  

The rod is a 5-wt, 7′ 6″ rod with two tips, agate guides, rod sock & brushed aluminum travel tube with brass cap by renowned rod makers Dave Norling Sr. and Dave Norling Jr.   

Only 100 tickets will be sold at $20 a ticket.  You know you want (or is it “need”) this heirloom quality rod!  Get your ticket(s) NOW!!!

To purchase tickets, email Greg Olson at  I will let you know if we have tickets remaining (I will be sending mailchimp updates once a week).  You can either send me a check made out to KIAP-TU-WISH or pay on-line via our website, specifying which drawing your donation is for (but email me first to make sure we have tickets left!).  I will also have both items at our February and March chapter meetings, selling tickets at Juniors, if any tickets are left.   


The Drift – Jan 2023

Hello chapter members, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with your family and friends. This year ended with a bang for us as we were named the winner a Silver Trout Award “Chapter the Year” by the Wisconsin State Council of Trout Unlimited. The award will be presented at the Council’s annual meeting that will be held in February of 2023. The new year will began in much the same way we ended it in 2022, with the announcement of another major award. This time, long-time KIAP-TU-Wish member and current vice president Gary Horvath, received Fly Fisherman Magazine’s 2023 Conservationist of the Year award. 

In our chapter’s 50th year (2022), we won the Wisconsin TU Chapter of the Year Silver Trout Award!  Michele Bevis and Missie Hanson wrote the submission letter for the award. Thanks to them for doing such an awesome job. This award goes out to all of our members. You are the reason this chapter has been going strong for 50 years and will continue to do so. We are a chapter of do’ers. You keep showing up for Randy’s work days ensuring that our past projects remain accessible and assisting the DNR with pre and post work on new restoration projects. We are a watchdog in our chapter’s watershed, keeping tabs on dams, biodigesters, manure spills, and crazy racetrack/housing developments. We monitor the area streams for temperature/nitrate levels and assist the DNR with fish counts. You continue to educate the next generation about the importance of cold water conservation, helping out with Trout and Bugs in the Classroom, Rocky Branch ECO Day, River Falls Fly Fishing Clinic, and Stream Girls to name a few. You keep showing up for meetings either in person or on-line and keep supporting the chapter’s two major fund-raisers, the Hap Lutter appeal and the on-line auction. I could go on and on. Take a bow KIAP-TU-WISH members, you deserve it!!!

The Drift – Nov 2022

The Drift: Nov2022

Good news!  We will be having a holiday gathering at Junior’s for our December meeting!  After not having our banquet at the Lake Elmo Inn for the past couple of years due to Covid, I’m really looking forward to it and hope to see you all there.  See the article in this issue for more information.

We will also have chapter awards at the December meeting. Without the banquet, we did awards two years ago during our on/line February fundraiser. Not handing out the awards in person, didn’t feel right, so last year we had awards at our May meeting at Rush River Brewing.  That was better, but having me standing on a picnic table, yelling at the top of my lungs to be heard, again left something to be desired.  Getting back to our December format will be much better.

Speaking of chapter awards, we have so many great volunteers in our chapter. I hear from many other chapter presidents how impressed they are with how much KIAP-TU-WISH accomplishes.  That is all due to our membership and I want to thank all of you for your time and money.  We have such hard-working and passionate members.  If you haven’t gotten involved in a chapter volunteer activity – why not? There is something for everyone – brushing, Trout in the Classroom, youth days, Stream Girls, grant writing, and stream monitoring to name a few.  Tell me what your interests are and I will plug you in with a group.  You will have a lot of fun!  Trust me!  KIAP’s reputation is that of a “doer”.  A group that isn’t afraid to get their boots wet or hands dirty – let’s keep it that way! 

The Drift Aug 2022

Greetings! Hope you all have been getting out and enjoying some of our areas awesome trout streams this summer. I have been fishing here and got in a bit of fishing on a family trip out West. This summer we headed out to Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks. First off, I will not be planning a summer trip out West in advance anymore. Nowadays for popular national parks, reservations to stay in the park must be made a year in advance. Our Yosemite reservations were cancelled the two previous years due to Covid and were almost cancelled this year due to fire. A week before we left, they opened the park entrance that we needed. Too stressful! From now on, a week before heading out, we will get out a map, see what areas of the West are not burning, under 100 degrees for day- time highs, and what rivers still have water in them.

I’ve often said, I fish out West not for the fishing (hard to beat up to 8000 fish per mile around here), but for the change in scenery. On my hike to the Merced River one morning a bear sauntered past not 25 yards away. A few minutes later a couple of mule deer and I played a game of “chicken” on the trail. I won when they ceded the trail when we got within five yards of each other. While casting I missed a few strikes when distracted by the sunlight lighting up Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Focusing on task at hand, I did manage to catch a few nice fish. Midges were on only thing on the menu and only in the slow water. Luckily, if you can catch fish in our neck of the woods, you can catch them anywhere, and lessons learned on midging trout in the Kinni, applied to the Merced as well. BTW, if you go out to this area for fishing in August, I would concentrate on the Kings River, the other streams and lakes were getting pretty low and warm.

There have been lots of things going on this summer. Read about the proposed biodigester in Roberts, racetrack in River Falls, the possibility of the Junction Falls dam coming out much sooner than we thought, and about our September meeting /gear swap! Hope to see you there and we can catch up and swap fish tales!

The Drift – May 2022

RipRap has undergone a lot of changes in the recent past. After we lost our free printing and with the rising cost of postage, we decided to end the paper copy and email it to all members. The work of editing and layout is a laborious process, so we moved to publishing bimonthly. With the longer lead times, RipRap could no longer be easily used to update members on chapter events. RipRap will now enter a new phase. It will consist of brief emailed updates of chapter events, reports, and stories, with links to the full-length offerings on our web page. I’m a bit sad to see the old RipRap go, but excited for this new format that will allow us to be unshackled from page restraints, allowing for more words, photos, and now videos!

Our May 4th chapter meeting was at Rush River Brewing and featured our chapter awards. In case you missed our meeting, I want to give you a recap.

Randy Arnold singled out seven work-day volunteers who tallied at least 10 outings; during this past winter, most of those were under adverse conditions — see Randy’s article on page 3. Thanks so much to these seven and all the others who participated in our work days. We heard at the April chapter meeting how much the DNR appreciates your efforts, as does my backcast.

John Kaplan was awarded the Silver Trout award by the chapter. John and I joined the KIAP board at the same time nine years ago. My first memory of John was when we showed up at a stream monitoring workshop given by Kent Johnson. I got to know John as we carpooled to the Trimbelle and back to Glen Park for the training. John really took that training to heart and has been Kent’s right hand man ever since, installing and maintaining loggers, downloading the data, and championing the use of the WiseH2O app that is now being adopted by all of TU. I also got to know John on those cold January mornings when we would leave at 5 am, often in a snow storm, on our “spawning run.” Picking up eggs at the 7 Pines Hatchery in Frederic, delivering them to all the TIC classrooms, and giving a presentation at each one. I couldn’t have done it without my “co-pilot.”

Tom Schnadt was awarded the Gold Trout award. Tom has been a long-time board member and recent past president of KIAP. I got to know
Tom as a board member when he was president. Tom gave you the freedom to find your passion in the chapter and then did everything he could to help you nurture that passion. He was so supportive of Trout in the Classroom and later Bugs in the Classroom when we first started up. He has been a huge advocate of youth education, starting up our inclusion in the Pheasants Forever Youth Day and Rocky Branch ECO Day. He seems to be just as involved in the chapter after “retirement” and I am afraid that I lean on him too much. When Covid struck, Tom was instrumental in allowing us to pivot to an on-line auction when we did not have the banquet as an option. He has headed up the 4×100 raffle and been crucial for our presence at the Fly Fishing Expo. He still volunteers for TIC, BIC, ECO Day, Randy’s workdays, and whatever else we come up with. He is great at getting others to volunteer as well. After all, who can say “no” to Tom?

I want to point out, in case you did not see in the latest issue of WI Trout, that our ex-offico president/board member, Scott Wagner, was given the Leadership award by the Wisconsin State Council. This award was well deserved. As I try to fill his big shoes, one could not have a better mentor as president. He is always there for me and willing to pick me up every time I stumble. I couldn’t do this job without him. Thanks, Scott!