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This morning we had lingering clouds and some fog and it was a “balmy” thirty-six degrees. With that in mind, and knowing that Gary is from the Deep South, I suggested that we wait a while before we hit the water. The forecast was for the skies to start clearing around noon with highs in the lower fifties. Not my favorite forecast for fishing these post frontal conditions, but this was Gary’s last day of fishing, so we had to give it one last shot. As forecast, the clouds departed and the skies cleared as we made our way upstream against the strong current of the Chippewa with my eighty horse power Mercury Jet. I arrived at the confluence of the Chippewa and Flambeau rivers to see that the Flambeau had risen over a foot since yesterday and was running hard. My original intention was to fish the Flambeau, but with the current conditions I decided the Chippewa was the better play. We started fishing at a spot we call “High Banks”. This can be a particularly good place to fish in the fall as the migrating smallies tend to hole up in this spot because it is one of the deeper areas in this section of the river. By now there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the wind was starting to pick up speed from the northwest. I have seen these situations many times before and I wasn’t surprised when we couldn’t buy a bite for the first couple of hours of fishing. In my experience, river smallies tend to get over the shock of these post frontal conditions quicker than their brethren in lakes, so I was hopeful that they would start turning on later in the afternoon. That is indeed what appeared to happen as the smallmouth bite slowly came to life as the afternoon wore on. We did find a downed tree along the north side of the river that had some active fish. Right next to that tree, Gary managed to catch the biggest smallmouth of his life. It was just shy of nineteen inches and came in right at four pounds even. That tree produced five other nice smalllies. We finished the day with me catching a nice smallie that was identical in length and weight to Gary’s four pound smallie. The only apparent difference between these two fish was that mine was almost black in color compared to Gary’s which was brown with beautiful bars along its sides. This is not unusual due to the smallmouth’s ability to change its color to match its surroundings from the “chameleon effect”. The picture of Gary hoisting those hefty smallies are included with this report. Regardless of the challenging conditions, Gary said he had a great time and was looking forward to next years trip. I know he meant it which reminded me that the most important thing is not always the fishing and the catching. It’s about quality time spent on the water sharing the experience with friends and family.