An Evening In El Paso


No, I didn’t drive to Texas. Or fly to Texas. It’s a tiny, tiny town in Wisconsin on the Rush River. It’s also one of my favorite places to catch fish. On a summer night after the sun disappears behind the steep valley walls and a fog hangs in the air, there are few places I’d rather be.

This stretch of the river is known to hold big fish. Talk to anyone who has fished in the area for more than 10 years and they’ll tell you about the monsters they’ve reeled in. Some have photos, others have stories. Either way, it’s impressive to know what’s hiding in one of my favorite hiding spots.

I’m not one to chase a trophy. Some guys live and die by the tape measure. I live and die by my time on the water–fish or not. The big fish in the area grow to their size because they’re not easily tempted by dry flies in water that gets a lot of pressure. And that’s OK with me. I’m content with a four-inch brook trout. On this night, some bigger fish decided to rise. Nothing trophy-worthy, but bigger than I typically see with my #18 caddis.


It was one of those nights when the water erupts. In that last 30 minutes of light, before the moon is your only hope of finding the trail back to the car, bugs were flying and fish were rising. It seemed like I could have thrown anything and it would have yielded a fish. Not saying I tested this theory–I played it safe by throwing what was hatching–but everything in the fly box was fair play.

I’ll be back again soon to enjoy the last light on the river, ignore the trophies, and fish with everything in my fly box.