Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today we had a rough start. My dad got back from Istanbul, Turkey yesterday. He’s not as good a traveler as he once was and he accidentally shut off the alarm while he was checking it……jet lag. So we got up an hour late!!!

We jumped out of bed and ran out of the house, floored the FlyFishNation Truck and got coffee on the run! We made up 20 minutes driving to Waukesha to pick up my Dad’s friend, Huy. Yesterday we got a good rain so we thought that the Menomonee would be a great river to start on…….well, it was a good place to start but not the right place. The water hadn’t bumped like we thought it would so we left the fish we saw there in search of bigger, better and more fishy water.
We got the Milwaukee about an hour after sunrise. Huy got the first fish, then Dad! Both were Cohos…..Most of the fish in the river were older Kings. We didn’t fish to those because most of the Kings were just a little better looking then this one.

The Coho were a little better. We got on a good run and fished the Coho’s below the Spawning Kings. Dad said to fish to the tails of the Kings and drift our eggs and flash flies below. We were trying for the steelhead and browns but we didn’t land any. Dad hooked a steelhead that danced down river for about 4 seconds and then he lost his fly.

We spent most of the morning catching Coho after Coho from a run below Estabrook Park. The fishing was tough; the male Coho’s were very aggressive and were smacking red flash flies. The females were hitting a hot pink egg. Everyone hooked up and Dad caught the most. Dad was catching all of his Cohos’ on this flash fly. The red collar was the ticket, plus the flash made it irresistible to the Cohos.

After we were done fishing we headed to the favorite post fishing haunting ground of the Fly Fish Nation……Q-Doba. Do you think a Mexican Burrito place would be willing to be a sponsor of the Nation? I know we could probably eat them out of business. I’m a classic steak burrito, black beans and mild sauce kid! Yummmmmm!!! Q-Doba is the lunch of champions..............

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FISH ON!!!!!!

Check out the water flows on the ROOT!!!!

We're Fishing Thursday thru Sunday.....

Get your Rod, Reel and Flies and head to the water!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Racine's Root River.......water levels are at 6.6 cfs......that's LOW!!! Here's the riffle above the Colonial Park Bridge.
It's official....

The state of Wisconsin in their infinite wisdom just allowed the FLY TRIBE a retail business license! NO KIDDING!!! Our beautiful office manager and business consultant ( wife) got all the paperwork in and we've been granted approval!!

The is now an officially licensed retail business.

A REAL FLY SHOP!!! We can't wait!

The heathens and I have been working the business Plan....Discussing the strategy and trying to decide what to invest in and where to put all the money! Ha, Ha.

The Business will open 2011.
We'll run a local shop in Burlington, WI. Local hours of operation are yet to be established. We have a great on-line company to promote our on-line store. The store will be coming on line as soon as we lock down merchants and generate a little more cash.........

The guide service was supposed to re-invest all of the Fall profits but unfortunately the SE Wisconsin area is in the midst of an "unseasonable" Drought!! So much of the business plan!
Since we're in a drought I thought I'd let you all know about the fishing on the rivers. It's very slow. Waters are VERY LOW! I mean most of the fish could walk up the river faster. Pray for Rain!

Until then......Buy flies! Dutton's been tying like a fiend. We'll have the Fly Fish Nation Truck at the Racine Steelhead Facility weir this Sunday. Come by and say hi!
Dutton and I will be there with the lawn chairs and fly displays.

We might even break down cook some brats and have a couple of cold "DR. PEPPERS"! Here's a sample of Dutton's work. This is his salmon box. There are a lot more like this.

See you on the water.................

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The weekend bordered on SUCKY! Actually, the weather sucked. The lack of rain sucked....and this whole fall run is shaping up to suck. BUT Wait.....there is a slim chance of Rain in the forecast.
We had some Family friends that came up for the run. Well actually, they came up to spend some time with us and we did a little fishing. Honestly it was a very little fishing. We went out early on Saturday. The weather was perfect but the flows......well.....they weren't. We hooked a couple and I broke off landing a large hen a little after sunrise. We fished the Milwaukee, we were the only ones there until 715ish. KT had a football game in the am, so I needed to get off the water around 9am. We drove to Brookfield to see the Burlington Spiders beat the Brookfield Lancers.

After that we went to the Salmon Unlimited open house in Racine at the Root! Great program and well run. My Kudos to the salmon unlimited folks for doing a great job. They had a fly casting area, a cast area, they were giving tours of the weir and had some information boths set up. Not only that...but they had Salmon soup, smoked salmon and hot dogs! It was a great afternoon.
We went upriver to see if any of the processed kings would venture up.....
Well it was a good idea. At least, we got to spend some time together with what little water is in the Root. Only one Salmon made it up to us.......We had pity on it and let it rest in the pool next to us. They've moved 91 Kings upriver this weekend. Not what I would call a "Banner" Fall run!

While waiting for the fish to show up, I did get an opportunity to snap some new photos. Here's some new pattern's is selling. Check out these beauties.

We were out Sunday morning again and caught some kings early. They're in the deeper runs....which really aren't that deep. Look for them to be near the riffles and in the current.
Don't throw big!!!
We've thrown them everything and the best has been to find the Alpha pair (the salmon that are actually doing the motions) and throw to the Beta fish below them. Use size 7mm naked eggs. On the Milwaukee the color of choice was a red and orange.

Just the pom-pom and hook. Plain 'ol. Plain 'ol.

The fishing is best right at sunrise. Unfortunately there's not a lot of time to get settled so you need to be in the water with plenty of time to spare. Look for the fish and target the Betas. If you can't find any look for the deeper runs and fish your egg patterns deep. The fishing will be good until the sun hits the water. It's like the scene in Raider's of the Lost Ark, when Indiana Jones is in the temple with the staff of Ra. The sunrise goes over the city model......well imagine that scene only the sun is peaking over the tree tops and the sun light is shining on the water. Today the sunlight hit the water about 2hours and 15 minutes after sunrise. As soon as the sunlight touched the area the salmon were holding in......POOF! The fish pulled a Houdini and finished.

We had BIG AL out today. He was a Dutton guide this morning. Al landed a nice male. Note the time of morning....early. We still had to have the flash on the Camera. Great looking fish, and it was a good fight for him. It's his first Salmon. One more weekend down........

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ewww Dead, Moldy Salmon!!!

It's October in SE Wisconsin ...............

That means every salmon that's come and gone up the river system is DEAD!!!
...actually it's more like they are cooked as the warm water, temps and lack of rain have made for a STINKO run! Truly every river has dead, moldy, STINKY Salmon carcasses everywhere.
Literally, we've been fishing in tiny runs and bath tub size pools. Actually the DUKE and I are doing a lot of fly tying, less time on the water in the streams here in WI and conserving our energy for the rain that we know is coming!

BUT never fail....We are catching some fish. We've had to go early and get off the water early. Fishing is really good after the sunrise and right after sunset. The photo period wakes up all the giant kings and they start moving and getting aggressive. Look for these monsters to slip into the currents about an hour before the sunsets and up to an hour after sunrise. If you're lucky and you're in a shaded area.....lots of these on the Milwaukee river, you can stretch your fishing for another hour to an hour and a half!!! Yahoo! At least we've got some fish here. Not a lot of room and it's not the "ideal" conditions, but it's still better than working!

Pray for Rain......we need it!

FAT and Duke

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dutton's First Blog Post

Hi this is Dutton. This is my first web blog. I have included some of my dad's fishing photos from 2003. Notice to the public I was very young in the posted photo. I was only 5 years old. I'm much bigger now. I hope you enjoy these photos.

My Dad with a Chain of Lakes Muskie. He caught on a fly.

A "FAT" Trip to Canada to find Atlantic Salmon. Notice the Fat Mobile and how little my big sister is.
yumm two nice trout after a good day of fishing

This is Kramer my older and supposedly more mature brother.

This is my dad the fishing fat man with a nice king salmon

Monday, August 16, 2010


Unbelievable.....I'm a freakin Fisherman...not MP!! I hate website development!

Today is the first day of the "FLY FISH Nation"....too much to do and no time.

We're now at

Dutton and I spent most of the night looking through old FishinFatman photos and files. We walked down memory lane. We saw lots of great old photos. Some were very funny....some really scary.

Hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane. Dutton and I will continue to get the site up and running. We're working on Fly photos today. We'll try to find some more old photos. Maybe we'll do a couple of blogs on some of the past trips. Should be fun as we get them. Here's a favorite of mine..........Looking for different Salmon river's we ended up on an old logging trail......NOT the best place to be in a down pour towing the FAT Trailer!! Good thing it was the Fat Mobile and we were prepared!!

Tomorrow we'll upload the fly tying and Fly Shop photos!

Sunday, August 15, 2010



Some in the Midwest would say that this is a “dead” topic. Much of the Lake Michigan Tributary fishing is just not conducive to traditional fly fishing etiquette. It’s hard to stay out of someone else’s fishing space when anglers are stacked on top of each other.

On a weekend it’s not hard to find anglers every fifty feet. I’ve fished with many people where we were fishing a rod length apart. When conditions are like this it’s best to learn to fish with some common sense and basic manners.

Let’s face it, if it was common sense I wouldn’t be writing about it, but it’s about as common as good weather and good fishing.

FATMAN’s River Basics:
It was really interesting to have a gentlemen pull into the river parking lot at about fifteen minutes after my clients and I arrived. We were rigged up and talking about some strategies when he came up to us, ready to fish, and asked where were planning to fish. He said he didn’t want to take our spot because we had gotten there first. I was amazed. Not only could I hardly believe he was asking us where we were headed so he wouldn’t crowd us, he was genuinely decent at 5:00AM. He used some basic manners and common sense and set up a precendence I think is important. He yielded the river to the first angler.

Not only this did this angler yield the river access to us, he also asked us about how fishing conditions were, what we were going to fly, how the water conditions were and if fish were present. Very smart. He got a head start on the day just by talking with us and was curtious and polite.

Sometimes this is very hard during a tributary run. Anglers line up side by side and fish right on top of eachother. If this is something that would make you crazy, my best suggestion would be to move to a less angler populated spot. However, if you have some patience, can talk with other anglers and can handle fishing right next to someone, fishing in a crowd can be rewarding. You can meet some excellent people and you can “share” the fish.

Iowa Fly Fishing Schools

In the good 'OL Fishin FATMAN Days, our guide service ran an outing to Iowa once a month. I miss those days and the opportunity to help new and experienced anglers share the great trout fishery that IOWA is! We're starting these classes up again and can't wait to share the North East Iowa experience with you.


This class is designed to teach a novice everything needed to begin the sport of fly-fishing. Small class sizes ensure personal attention and excellent interaction between students and instructor.

In this course you will learn the “BASICS” of fly fishing. Our goal of this class is to take the mystery out of fly-fishing and make it accessible to anyone interested. As a class participate, you will learn the differences between fly fishing equipment and conventional gear. You will be instructed in fly-casting technique and will learn to cast a fly line. Finally, you’ll learn how to combine the equipment, casting techniques and fly selection into a success outing. In the class you learn fly-fishing strategies that will help you become a more successful fly-fishing angler. Finally, after completing the “Introduction to Fly Fishing” class you’ll have the opportunity to try your newly learned skill on the water with our class instructor.

Session I Intro To Fly Fishing
1. Explanation of Fly Lines:
2. The Tapered Leader
3. Explanation of Fly Rods:
4. Explanation of Fly Reels:
5. Vest, Gadgets and Other critical tools
6. Fly fishing Knots
Session II Getting Ready for the Water
1. Basic Principles of Casting
2. The CUBE casting principle
3. Forward Cast and Shooting line
4. Roll Casting
5. Stream Etiquette
1. Entomology and Hatches
2. Fly Selection and Discussion
3. Approaching the Stream
4. FATMAN’s Fly Fishing DOCTRINE:
a. Water Flow
b. Water Clarity
c. Weather
5. WiLLFuL Presentation Techniques:
a. Weight & Presentation Speed
b. Leader Length
c. Line Color & Size
d. Fly Presentation
e. Location
6. PLAN “B” - What to do now you’re on the water?

EGG Patterns

HOOK Small Egg (4 to 8)
THREAD 6/0 and Complimentary
Body Large Chenile
Dressing Salmon Yarn or Matched Hackle
For the Chenile Egg and the Yarn “Nuke” egg you can start with the hook in the vise.

Tie on the Chenile with the color of thread to compliment the chenille color.

Wrap the chenille into a ball. HINT: Wrap a two wraps for a foundation and then a single wrap over the two bottom wraps. This will make a nice ball. Depending on the desired egg size you can vary the amount of wraps.
Dress the front of the egg pattern with a small piece of Salmon Yarn. This will provide an additional color key for spawning fish. Lay the yarn in length-wise and tie in the middle. Fold over and smooth out across the egg.
Whip finish and then glue the head of the egg to ensure thread doesn’t come unwrapped.FISH ON!!!

HOOK Small Egg (4 to 8)
THREAD 6/0 and Complimentary
Body 7mm Pom-Pom
Dressing Salmon Yarn or Matched Hackle
Find the center of the pom-pom, and “string” the Pom-pom on the hook first.
Dress the front of the egg pattern with a small piece of Salmon Yarn. This will provide an additional color key for spawning fish. Lay the yarn in length-wise and tie in the middle. Fold over and smooth out across the egg.
Whip finish and then glue the head of the egg to ensure thread doesn’t come unwrapped.FISH ON!!!

HOOK Small Egg (4 to 8)
THREAD 6/0 and Complimentary
Body Salmon Yarn
Dressing Salmon Yarn or Matched Hackle

For the Chenile Egg and the Yarn “Nuke” egg you can start with the hook in the vise.
Tie on the Salmon yarn so the Yarn goes over the hook eye. Wrap the thread back to the hook shank.

Pull the Yarn back over the hook shank making and nice elongated ball. Tie in the middle of the yarn.

STEP 4: Whip finish and then glue the head of the egg to ensure thread doesn’t come unwrapped.FISH ON!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's Called CATCHING

It’s called “CATCHING”

Sitting on the ice gives me an opportunity to look back on my life. I know, it’s a scary thought. First of all, I’ve got a moment to think and worse …..I’m actually THINKING!!!! My college professors would be proud!

While on the ice contemplating life, my first thought was ……damn, what happened to this year. 2009…GONE!!! That thought led into - When did I get so old?
What happened to my youth? Wow, I’ve got four kids!
I’ve been married almost 20 years!!!!
My daughter started HIGH SCHOOL!!!!

I jigged pondering those complex thoughts. I also had time to brood over less important things. For Instance….

Why do you park in a driveway?
Why do we drive on Parkways?

While enjoying the Wisconsin winter chill, I contemplated one of the truly puzzling things in our English language………….why is it called FISHING?

Seriously, they don’t call “sales” something like “shopping ”. We fishermen should lobby to change our chosen past-time to something more indicative and respectful. Instead of “fishing” we should all go “catching”!!

As you’ve noticed, spending too much time on the ice watching your rod tip for a slight bounce or staring at the bright, white ice background waiting to see an orange flag has rendered me a little goofy.

This New Year’s Eve my wife gave us a challenge. She gathered us all in the living room and told us at the stroke of mid-night to have three goals for the coming New Year! Awesome! I love goals. I’m a goal-oriented, highly motivated kind-a-guy. Goals are what I need to succeed in 2010! Due to my time on the ice lately …..pondering, thinking, considering, day-dreaming, brooding, and contemplating about all things one can think of while trying to catch stinking pan fish and Northern coming up with goals was no problem.

1. Spend more time with the Family.
2. Spend more time Fishing….(I mean Catching)
3. Spend more time volunteering at Church and helping my Community.

These are simple goals nothing fancy.

At the end of January, I’m doing well on 1 and 2. Goal number 3 is a challenge but I’m doing much better. It’s the scout in me, I’m trying to be more of a good example in the community.

I’ve been on the ice almost every day possible. During my time off over the holidays and weekends, we’ve spent a lot of family time together (especially the Tribe) and I’m realizing how important family time is. Primarily we are fishing our local lake and the boys and I have been focusing a lot of energy on tip-up fishing for Northern! To say the least, we’ve done very well. Everyday, we got lots of snakes and at least one or two good Northern (a good on is any thing over 25 inches). We’ve even caught a couple Walleye!!

There is something very satisfying about rigging a tip up the right way, at the right depth, with the right bait and catching a fish. We’ve done a lot of trial and error on our lake. We tend to set up a couple of tip-ups with a good method and then we search for new ways to catch more and bigger fish. Through the years, we’ve got a pretty good system worked out. The key to us catching fish is in the leaders. You need to have an invisible leader. I prefer to attach a large weight to the tip-up line and a swivel snap. This allows for easy leader changes on the ice. If your leader get twisted or kinked you should replace it.

The next step is the key and requires some at home customization and preparation. In order to stay “invisible” we use an invisa-leader. These are light seven strand leaders in low pound test. I like a lighter leader…..usually below 20 pounds. The invisa-leader has a snap attached at the end. With a little persuasion this snap comes off, giving you access to the wire leader. I like to add a couple of red or brightly colored beads and a small, silver blade to the wire. Just like a spinner bait.. This color and flash combination, along with a lively shiner drives the Pike crazy! We set our shiners about a foot above the tallest weed and……….

“TIP-UP”………….and that’s called “catching”