Fly Fishing with Frank on the Upper St. Croix

Good friends don’t come a dime a dozen; not in my world. For 30+ years I have preached to high school kids that you don’t need everyone to be your BFF; but you do need a couple of high quality friends that will be there for you in times of need. For me, Frank is that guy. You have seen Frank in other videos and even have probably read other pieces whereby I spoke of him. I can sum it up quickly … he is a man of high integrity and that is the part I admire the most.

When Frank and his wife Kay decided to come north to visit/camp with us in Wisconsin … I wanted to make sure that Frank would be able to take a day with me on the upper St. Croix river and was just hoping that the water and weather would cooperate. We worked it out with the girls and they dropped off one truck and then escorted us upstream three miles to County Road T and dropped us off. Our plan was to work the river thoroughly and take our time, eventually winding up some three miles later at Schoen Park.

The reason we were only doing three miles was simple, the water was very low. I knew we would have to negotiate the many rapids and boulder fields located along this stretch and that it would take longer than usual to do so. By having a vehicle located at our take out, we didn’t have to hurry and could fish and visit all along the way.
Frank and Jeff on the St. Croix river
Before we had left sight of the bridge I hooked and landed a gorgeous 18 inch smallmouth that really put up a great fight. I was casting my Rio Sink tip (F/1) fly line with a tippet of 16 pounds, tied to one of my own hand tied, reverse tied buck tail flies in white and grey. I concentrated on the slow eddies just below the runs or white water and in particular I like to look at the foam; where the foam is collecting you can be assured the smallmouth are lurking below.

It took a while for Frank to get grounded and that is the best part of being to fly fish together. I little explanation went a long way and by the middle of mile 2 Frank was up and running and catching quality fish. The water in this part of the country is very different than what we have in Indiana or frankly … any of the streams south of the great lakes. The color would best be described at tea-colored and this tannic water can actually give off a very dark look to it. Don’t be confused … it is still very clear but the tannins just give the water such a different look. I like white or light colored flies simply from the standpoint that they work and I can see the fly readily from a long distance away; when the fly disappears I usually set the hook!

All in all we had an incredible day and the three miles just flew by. Once we hit the takeout we actually backtracked upstream a bit and fish for a while longer. It was a great day for two good friends to share. If you have any questions about this video or the St. Croix you can contact me in the comment section below or by emailing me at

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