The Drift: September 2023

By Greg Olson

Hi all!  Hope everyone has had a great summer!  From a fishing perspective, it has been pretty good.  Water levels haven’t been too low and I don’t want to jinx it, but we haven’t had any punishing rain events.  We have had some Canadian wildfire smoke and I think the only solution for that will be winter.  Hatches of BWOs, Caddis, Sulphurs, and Tricos have been solid where I have been fishing and I hope you found the same thing.

The effort to remove the dams on the Kinni continues to move in a favorable direction. The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE ) open house on August 15th drew a big crowd, with most in favor of removal of both dams. The ACOE is still working on the feasibility study which they hope to have done this fall with a public review in the winter. Fingers crossed that they deem it a doable project to take on!  

Another environmental issue we have been keeping tabs on is a proposed Ridge Breeze Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) located between the Rush River and Plum Creek. The chapter supported a 6 month to 1-year moratorium on Pierce county CAFO expansion in order for the county to determine if their application process was stringent enough to ensure that the two watersheds would not be negatively impacted by expansion of the herd. Unfortunately, the moratorium was voted down at the land conservation committee level and never made it to the county board.  We are also keeping a watch on what I am calling the “zombie biodigester.” After being shot down in Hammond, Roberts, and just a couple weeks ago New Richmond, word is that it is stumbling and crawling to Ellsworth next. 

On a more positive note, we had a couple of summer BBQ/fishing outings. Our Sulphur Solstice in July at the Ellsworth Rod and Gun Club was well received (it was nice having the air conditioning in the bar that day!). Matt Janquart and Dave Drewski helped organize the event and we enlisted the help of Ben Belt and Ben Topple to help with the food prep and guiding new anglers. In August we held Phil’s Full Moon Fever at Phil Kashian’s home and vacation rental. Phil and his wife Kay were great hosts!  In conjunction with the event, Pat Houlton held a night fishing clinic using streamer and mice patterns and some nice fish were caught!  Pat suggested a euro nymphing clinic for next year, so keep your eyes open for that.  Both outings were a great way to stay in touch with chapter members in the summer months. We offered mentored fishing for individuals wanting some instruction and it resulted in some anglers catching their first trout on a fly!  The River Falls Fly Fishing clinic was another success thanks to yet another year of guidance from Mike Alwin.  We also did a fly casting clinic at the New Richmond library. I’d also like to give a shout out to all the WiseH2O anglers out there who continue to monitor our area streams all summer long, as well as those who helped Kasey with shocking and fish counting!

The upcoming chapter year will be another busy and fun one. We will kick off September with our open house/gear swap at Rush River Brewery starting at 6 pm on September 7th. Be sure to invite a friend!   We will be back at Junior’s on the first Tuesday of the month from October through May. The speaker list is not finalized yet, to talks from Josh Boser on spey casting, Tim Stieber who is the  Resource Management Director for St. Croix County, artist and guide Bob White,  a summary of stream restoration projects  and results of fisheries surveys from Nate and Kasey and the annual banquet. We are also expecting to include a macroinvertebrate update from Kent Johnson and Clarke Garry  to answer if our  perceived diminishing hatches on the Kinni are real or imagined.

There will be plenty of opportunities to pitch in and make a difference this year of course: Randy’s work days, TIC/BIC, Pheasants Forever Youth Day, Stream Girls and  RF Fly Fishing Clinic just to name a few. Be sure to watch for email updates and consider volunteering. You will have fun and make a huge impact!  As always, if you have any questions/comments/concerns please email me at  Looking forward to seeing you at a chapter meeting, volunteer event, and streamside! 

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