Nohr Chapter “Fish with a Friend Trip”

Jim Brown

I had the opportunity to connect with Todd Templen, president of the Nohr Chapter of TU, on a Saturday in June for a day of guided fishing and a tour of Grant County Wisconsin streams. The Nohr and EDTU chapters have a long legacy of collaboration. Jim Coursey organized the “Fish with a Friend” program with the Nohr Chapter many years ago. Each year four members of the Nohr Chapter donate a guided fishing trip for the EDTU Holiday fundraiser. At the 2013 Fundraiser I bid on and won a guided trip with Todd.

Todd and I met in Montfort, Wisconsin, a small town that is near many of the area Trout streams. I had not fished this area of Wisconsin in over 10 years, so Todd started out the day giving me a tour of the Blue River, Big Spring and Six Mile Creek watersheds. He showed me much of the work that the Nohr Chapter and the DNR have completed over the past few years and sections of streams targeted for future work projects. It was amazing to see the contrast between the sections of streams where improvement work had been done and the unimproved sections, particularly after the 14 inch rain event that took place in June 2013. The improved sections of the streams held up well during the flooding and in most cases mitigated destructive erosion. One benefit that came out of the flooding is that many area landowners, seeing how restored streams held up during the flooding, have since approached TU and the DNR asking that improvement work be done on their property. The WDNR has a new easement process that has created some unexpected challenges, which the department, land owners and Nohr Chapter continue to work through.

After touring the area streams, we stopped on Six Mile Creek to fish. Todd is an excellent guide – his flies catch fish and he knows the territory (Rumor has it that Todd also makes a mean on-stream Mint Julep, with Kentucky Bourbon and wild Wisconsin Mint). Todd switched flies a few times and then quickly dialed in to a two-fly rig that the Trout were looking for (Pass Lake Caddis and Caddis Emerger). The Brookies also slammed streamers in the deeper holes. I had the opportunity to christen my new 3 weight rod with a nice Brook Trout. We caught many fish, including several Browns in the 14 to 16 inch range. We moved to Big Spring later in the afternoon. The fishing was much more technical and we caught fewer fish, but the experience was enjoyable just the same. It was truly one of the best fishing days I have had in the Driftless.
I was surprised to discover that the Nohr Chapter is fairly small. The chapter is made up of a few dedicated volunteers that have a strong passion for stream restoration. The chapter pulls in members from Dubuque to Milwaukee. I had the opportunity to meet Don (Jake) Pleumer, the Nohr Chapter project coordinator. Jake manages the contractors and coordinates most of the stream restoration projects. Jake is one of the more passionate conservationists I have met.
The relationship between the Nohr and EDTU chapters is special. The Nohr Chapter has organized and coordinated many stream improvement projects, while the EDTU Chapter has assisted with funding and manpower for work days. Both the EDTU and Nohr Chapters were instrumental in the founding of TUDARE. Many good friendships have been made over the years. Our relationship with the Nohr Chapter is a terrific alliance and one that we should continue to build.