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Another Incredible Visit to the Upper Midwest

Warmwater Wonders

After fishing all over the country, I can safely say that the pursuit of native, “warm water” fish is my favorite angling endeavor. Smallmouth bass, musky, pike, walleye – I love them all. We have incredible populations of all these fish here in the gin clear waters of the Buffalo Niagara Region and fishing for them in that clear stuff is a blast. However, pursuing them in tannic water is different – something special to me. So much so that I make it a point to get my tannic fix every autumn.

Although I love fall fishing here in Buffalo Niagara (that’s eastern Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and southwestern Lake Ontario), the tannic waters of Algonquin Provincial Park, the St Lawrence Region, Michigan, and Wisconsin, call me when the leaves start changing (after this trip – Minnesota is now on the list). It’s endlessly captivating…you just never know what’s in that deep, greasy water – often times it’s something massive.

It’s not just the dark water that distinguishes these fisheries from Buffalo Niagara, the topography is also different. Large boulders break up the flow and create interesting currents. Maples, oaks, ash, and birch trees cast hues of red, orange, and gold all around you. Seeing those leaves, freshly fallen on that tannic water gets me excited every time. Once on the water, hell, even on your way to the launch, you’ll rarely see another soul. You feel remote, isolated, like you’re fishing to creatures that don’t see humans all that often. You get it – I love it – enough said.

This trip

Although fishing is incredible in Buffalo Niagara every fall, I make it a point to visit the aforementioned tannic waters and my bros who guide them every September. This year was no different. I stay in touch with a few of these guys throughout the year. Earlier this summer, I was checking in on Chris Willen and it just so happened that Brian Porter was with him when I called. At the time, I hadn’t committed to where I was going to go in September but after talking to both of them, it didn’t take much to convince me to visit those guys. Especially since I hadn’t seen Brian in a few years and I had yet to fish Minnesota. I booked the flights the next day.

It was a successful trip – shocker – that region never disappoints. Mike Trifiletti joined me and he got a healthy dose what that area has to offer. We fished Wisconsin for 2 days and Minnesota for 1 – a quick banger for sure but a fruitful one nonetheless. I’ll let the pictures tell it.

I fished flies and Mike fished gear. I’m not a fly purist by any stretch – but I have far more experience than Mike casting the big stuff on the fly so we opted to give the fish a range of offerings. Shockingly, the fly far out produced gear. However, Mike landed the big one of the trip

DB84E83F C075 441C 83CB 28C22F407648 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints A14E76FD AE29 40D7 9E0D 5F54C4F51721 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints 51ACB6F2 0B2E 4141 9B15 F51719E39182 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints E1CA78AE 41A4 469A 8507 B5A541548F15 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints 07468C16 4BCD 40C3 9824 7E8652E1193E scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints AC684460 D9C1 41E5 B1A6 763B4272D0DD scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints AD2E66F8 8249 42D3 9F47 E6128943D1CF scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints B0BDEC0D 8C38 4210 94E7 F0863DC7EBC5 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints E9187730 2756 4F31 B011 6EE097222D24 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints 4E67D608 5D9D 4C9B 9541 88CB7686F4EB scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints C73D13F7 0889 4AF0 9D91 D7BE552FA56D scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints E9F7F6B0 CCED 47DF 852F 2D077999A0E9 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints 34C0DEA1 5380 4188 B94C 7F9D6DD34D4F scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints D97506FF 7C11 46F6 8571 F62CCC5879A3 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints 0335F421 5BFC 4803 A2C3 202330381AA9 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints DA631E0D DBE9 4E82 B7AD D86534CAF0F7 scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints AC2FD49D 5AC1 4809 AF95 F4C7873E139F scaled - Tannic Water in Autumn - it Never Disappoints

Conclusion

It was great seeing those guys and filling my tank with a healthy dose of sun, fall foliage, tannic water, and toothy critters. That first day in Wisconsin with Chris was ridiculous – we boated 3 muskies and made contact with 6 more! Mississippi was one of the most interesting and unique places I’ve ever fished – I’ve never seen anything like it. Huge sand bluffs, countless greasy bend pools, down timber everywhere – it just feels like a monster can appear at any time. Brian has an awesome fishery at his doorstep. If you feel the way I do about warm water angling and the tannic waters surrounding the Great Lakes region, visiting these guys should rank high on your bucket list. Both are true professionals and a blast to spend time with on the water. Here’s where you can find them:

Chris Willen:  Chris Willen Guide Service

Brian “Lucky” Porter: Wisconsin and Minnesota Fly Fishing – Far Out Fly Fishing