The Back 40

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The Back 40

Diving For Trout By John A. Hallock

Posted on June 22, 2015 at 8:10 PM

    It happened a long time ago, right after we got married and moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin. That would be about 33 years ago, give or take. I was already an avid trout fisherman. The La Crosse area has many beautiful trout streams crisscrossing what they call the Coulee Region and most with public access.

   I was going to a stream I had discovered the week before in a place called Timber Coulee. It is know for the clear water, high banks, and big fish. My wife Lori was coming along. I could hardly wait … really. I thought it was great she wanted to learn how to trout fish … really. I could teach her a technique or two. I explained a few, the Squat Trot Technique and the Bow and Arrow Technique and others.

   We drove the road along the stream until we found a designated fence crossing. We parked the car and crossed over 100 yards of cow pasture and neared the edge of an 8 foot sand bank along the stream. It was a beautiful day out in the countryside. There was chirping birds, blue sky, a few fluffy white clouds, and a high sun. And best of all, there were no other fishermen in sight. This was a wonderful place to fish.

   At first we were careful not to get too close and let our shadows cross over the water and spook the fish. It was lesson number one. We spoke in hushed tones, even whispers and when we were finally rigged we began to move ever so carefully, step by step, toward the edge. There are no sudden moves in trout fishing. This was important and something I should tell her before she busted some kind of fast move and spooked the fish. To a real trout fisherman there is NO excuse for fast moves.

   I stopped short to say something but she didn’t, stop I mean, and ran right into me. And since I was walking so carefully I may have been a little off balance as she knocked me ahead two full steps. Unfortunately the bank edge was only one step away and I plunged “ass over tea kettle” down into the stream, rod, reel, creel, new boots, and special fishing hat with hand tied flies stuck into it for good luck.

   One second I’m high and dry showing off my adept sports agility, and the next I’m sitting in a cold stream sputtering, splashing, and swearing. When I looked up at her I figured she’d be concerned. But she was laughing, and laughing, and laughing.

   “Hey,” she hollered down at me. “How is that not spooking the fish? Or is that what you call, ‘The Diving For Trout’ Technique?”

   Really …

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