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It’s that time of the year again when I make my annual pilgrimage to Wisconsin to fish for those fat fall smallies on the Flambeau and Chippewa Rivers. Most river fishing is subject to the whims of Mother Nature especially when it comes to rain. Over the past two fall trips I have arrived to this fishing destination to be greeted with high water. I knew the rivers were going to be high upon my arrival, but smallies can still be caught under those less than ideal conditions. This year would be no different. Just a week before my arrival the Flambeau and the Chippewa were in great shape. But as luck would have it just a couple days before I appeared on the scene the watersheds of both rivers received several inches of poorly timed rain.¬†For the third year in a row, I was greeted with high water. Not to be deterred by this unwelcome change, most of the fishing is done by casting tight to the banks. If fishing the banks were not productive we would back off the banks twenty to fifty feet and find the ¬†fish holding in the stronger current in two to three feet of water. This type of behavior was exhibited on days when it was bright and sunny or about an hour before sundown on any given day as the fish pulled off the banks to feed. I was fishing the Flambeau just a stones throw from County Highway E when a pickup pulled over to the side of the road. As the passenger side window was rolling down I was surprised to see the familiar face of Bobby. I say surprised because I had a conversation with him the previous night at Flater’s Resort when he told me that he was going to be traveling to the Lake of the Woods to fish for muskies. He said that the weather conditions were going to be nasty with strong winds and snow in the forecast, so he and his fishing buddy decided to cancel the trip. Bobby and I have bumped into each other at various resorts in the area over the past few years and shared fish stories over a few cold ones, but have never fished together. Usually I have someone fishing with me, but today I was going solo and he asked if I needed a partner. Without hesitation I said “jump in” and we proceeded to catch thirty-three smallmouths over the next several hours of fishing. The majority of the fish were in the fifteen to seventeen inch range. I told him that I had recently fished the Jump River and because its watershed had very little rain that it was currently low and stable. I caught a small muskie on one of those trips and got cut off several times while fishing for smallies and asked him if he would be interested in a taking trip to the Jump tomorrow to fish for muskies. He is an avid muskie fisherman so I was not surprised when he accepted my invitation. I really enjoyed watching Bobby catch those hefty smallies that the Flambeau is known for and look forward to our muskie fishing adventure on the Jump.

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