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LHarris

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LHarris last won the day on September 17 2016

LHarris had the most liked content!

About LHarris

  • Rank
    Sr HSOList.com Family
  • Birthday 06/01/1957

Profile Information

  • Name:
    Len Harris
  • Location:
    wisconsin
  • Interests:
    fishing
  • Gender:
    Not Telling
  1. Wisconsin Driftless Report 2017

    14 to hand this morning in an hour
  2. This One Time

    Looked at my log books and could not nail down the exact day or year. There was only one photo referenced and I gave it away. Here is the story about the one Polaroid photo given away. One of my fishing friends did an internship with the DNR one summer to help with shocking surveys in the driftless. This was about 25 years ago if I remember correctly. My bud contacted me after a shocking survey. I think he contacted me just to torture me. The stretch they shocked was way off the road and owned by a curmudgeon that was one of those angry landowners that didn't even allow his relatives on his land to fish. It had lots of beaver dams and was hard to shock. The giant trout the team shocked was more than my bud could bear to keep secret. He had to tell me. The landowner was along when they shocked. My buddy was sure the owner was going to go after the trout the next day even. I drove by the area the next morning at first light and I saw the landowner walking out into his pasture with a five gallon bucket. I figured the monster female brown would be on the guy's grill later that day. I later learned that my bud had told other people about the huge trout and many went to ask the landowner if they could fish. The owner knew the word had gotten out about the giant female brown on his 650 acre stretch. He was not letting anyone on there and even barked at a couple people that asked and said: "My land my fish!" It was a running joke in my hometown about the crazy landowner and his pursuit of the mythical brown. The season passed and the word on stream was the guy could not catch the trout. The word was also that the landowner became even more aggressive towards anglers that asked permission to pursue it. The new season was almost upon me and I decided I was going to ask the landowner if I could fish on his property. The farmer met me part way in his driveway. He was shouting before I even got out of my vehicle. All I heard was "NO" you can't fish on my property and get off my land and never come back. I heard him shout as I left: "I caught the darn thing last year anyway!" Opening day came and I drove by his stretch out of curiosity. There he was in the distance walking through his field with that five gallon bucket again. This meant he had not caught the big fish the year prior like he said. I drove by again later. It was late May and there was a beaten down path in the weeds where the owner crawled over his fence to go out after the giant brown. I smirked as I drove by and decided to let the maniac catch his "Moby Dick." It was the fourth of July celebration in my hometown and I was at the local watering hole talking with friends. The next thing I knew I was being tapped on my shoulder and there was the aggressive landowner standing there and he was all in a huff. He had heard me talking about the big trout and the persistent landowner that kept striking out. The landowner was enraged that I had been dissing him at the bar and he asked if I had sent people to fish his land because he had chased away numerous anglers trying to steal his big trout. I had not fished the stretch after the trout and was taking his NO I couldn't fish there at face value but got pissed at the guy for being aggressive towards me in front of my friends and the entire community. I was in law enforcement at the time and knew the wading rules very well. I had never had to wade before because I could typically soften up landowners and get on fish. I was about to make an exception to my standard policy to not wade due to the ranting maniac landowner. I took three days off to chase this trout. I figured I would go in downstream of his land and wade up to where I thought it was located. Little did I know the landowner had talked to the neighboring landowners into NOT allowing anglers on their property either. It was going to be a crazy long wade to get to the area. I had taken three days off and I decided I was going to do it. I hit the stream at one hour before light and waded past many good looking holes to get on the maniac's land to get a chance at the big brown. It was obvious when I came to his line fence. The ten strand barb wire fence went from stream level to a good eight feet up with a no trespassing sign centered on the top strand. It looked like a prison camp fence. I heard a tractor in the distance. The sound got louder. I thought I had been stealthy and there was no way he could see me. The farmer was doing some weird driving. I saw him drive across the stream in four places and purposely rev up his tractor as he went across to go across fast each time. He did this a dozen times at least. He was muddying the stream and trying to disrupt any potential anglers from fishing. This guy had become unhinged. He didn't see me and he was doing this out of pure madness. I waited for him to leave and fished through. Nothing was going to bite after all this nonsense and I fished through quickly. I did notice a beaten down area alongside the stream with a five gallon pale there. This was his battle station for the trout. His driving across the water like a crazy man was just above and below the area and told me where to look. He couldn't catch the trout so no one was going to. He made an error. He had shown me where the big fish lived. I gave the stream a rest the next day and went after the big brown the third day. I started two hours before first light and got to his line fence before first light. I was crouching down as I came close to the hole to keep my profile low. I was about to cast and out of the bushes the maniac came with a giant rock in his hand. He tossed it in the middle of the hole. He had waited for me to get up on the hole before he threw the boulder. He was ranting and saying he had seen my vehicle way down stream two days ago and he was ready for me. He had been there the day prior waiting for me too. He knew I was in law enforcement and left quickly and did not get in my face. He said in parting he was going to keep a close eye on "HIS" trout and no one was going to catch it. He preferred it die of old age before he let anyone catch it. I went to my mother's home after and told her about the kook. She knew him only a little. She told me she knew him from church every Saturday night. He came every Saturday for decades she said. I smiled and made my battle plan. I parked my vehicle at the end point and had my wife drop me off downstream. I waded upstream like my tail was on fire. After all this nonsense I caught the big trout on the third cast. I took one Polaroid photo of it. I quickly waded to my vehicle and drove past the land owner's farm. I slowed down before I got there. He was still at church. I wrote "Thank You" on the bottom of the Polaroid photo and put it in his mailbox and put the flag up and drove away.
  3. Wisconsin Driftless Report 2017

    tip to a couple good friends Len, Thank you for the stream recommendation, Len! I love the layout of this stream. Fished it from 3pm until 6:30pm. My brother threw panther 9s and I threw 6s. We scored a brookie/brown/bow trifecta.
  4. Guide Daze

    Ex-Fishing Guide Daze I quit guiding nine years ago. I did it for five years and met quite a few characters and curmudgeons during those guiding dazes. Come take a journey with me through the years. Typically I would ask clients prior to taking them out their skill level. Most under reported their casting prowess but quite a few exaggerated. I would also ask them their personal best brook and brown trout. I also got a handle on what their best numbers day was. My goal was to put them on more trout and bigger trout than they had ever caught. I would say 70 percent of the time they caught more than had ever caught and 60 percent of the time they would leave with their personal best as far as size. The best brown trout during the time period was twenty seven inches. The longest brook trout was sixteen and three quarters. I am particularly proud of my three tiger trout morning in 2005 on a tiny secluded stream in Crawford County. I have a fond memory of a father son tandem. It was the son's first exposure to trout fishing. It was a golden trip. This new to trout fishing beginner was hooked for life on trout fishing. His dad was as proud as a peacock of his son. He told me that his son was hooked for life and profusely thanked me for the outstanding outing. The father and son team are still chasing trout to this day together. They have expanded their horizons and fish in other places. At least once a year I get a post card from some exotic location. Their streams are in Germany and Italy and as far away as New Zealand, The post card has a trout or a stream on the front. The only thing on the message part of the post card each time was two words. Thank you I one time had a guy catch his personal best brook and brown but he told me at the end of the outing that he was disappointed and was not tipping me and would give me a bad review if I didn't give him another FREE outing because He had not caught a giant. He told me my page was false advertising because he had not caught a 23 inch plus brown. A long story short...I never took him again and no tip. I had a well known angler once refuse to ride in my vehicle because I had the wrong presidential candidate bumper sticker. My vehicles through those years had many muddy boots and wet waders in them. I ran into a couple on vacation once that had matching Wisconsin Badger sweatshirts on. We talked because of our Wisconsin roots. Come to find I had given a presentation at their son’s school and he now wanted to be a fishing guide as a profession when he grew up. The odds of running into this couple in Florida were astronomical. Once I had a guy contact me. He told me he had a disabled son and he wanted some easy places to take him. Me being gullible I gave him a couple good places. I later found out this guy was a guide and he lied to me and was looking for easy places to take clients. I once donated a trip to a VFW for an injured Gulf War veteran. I ended up taking that vet and his father fishing. The son was severely handicapped and took many accommodations to make it back out on the water. The smile on his face when he caught a decent trout will forever be etched in my memory. I presented at a couple nursing homes also. The audience was much smaller typically but very rewarding. Many of the residents were died in the wool outdoors people and had not been able to be “out there” for decades and the photos and my tales took them back to their younger years. I sat in on a couple auctions of trips I donated to cancer research and other charities. I even presented to one of these charities to get the bidding started. It gave me a great feeling of self satisfaction to see my guided trip bring $8,000 dollars for cancer research. Other donations had totaled $5,000 dollars at other events prior. Anglers have huge hearts and it was quite obvious at these events and it made me feel very proud to be a part of making money to fight cancer. I believed in showing clients a good time. I was new to guiding and really humped to turn clients on to good fish and numbers. My success made the long time established guides in the area look lazy and inept. I had 2 of them say I was padding my numbers and lengths of trout. One time a client liked the stretch so well that we fished he went back the next day and tried to buy the land from the owner. I knew the owner well and he was thinking about selling but the guy wanted to post the land and especially not let me back on there. The land owner declined to sell. Once a fly shop owner told me I was going to do a FREE presentation at his shop. He didn't ask. He told me I would do it or he was going to spread lies about me and ruin my guide reputation. I didn't do the presentation. Karma has a way of repaying back deceitful folks. The shop owner lost his shop shortly thereafter and went to work for a large fishing chain store and later fell off the edge of the trout world. I was befriended by a long time guide from the area when I first started guiding. We fished a couple of my better areas with the promise from him he would never take clients back to my favorite spots. Two days later I found him there with three car loads of people. I rolled up on him just exiting his vehicle. I asked him what was up? He explained to me he was keeping his promise. The four other anglers with him were not clients but “guides” from other states. I had a client that would only use crawlers and he didn't ever keep any trout but refused to go barbless and to set the hook on the first bite. He typically waited for the second or third nibble. The trout were very hard to get the hook out and I felt bad for them. One season I was hired to be a long time retired Green Bay Packer's exclusive guide for the year trout fishing. He matched my year prior's total. He only went out with me 10 times that year. I got to wear his Super Bowl One and Two rings at the same time. He told the same story almost every time we went out. It was about the iconic quarterback sneak in the Ice Bowl. I got the in the huddle story prior to the frigid play that only the center and quarterback knew of the last second. My packer friend introduced me to a legend of the college basketball coaching world. This man was quite a gentleman and a character. He will forever be known for his throwing of a chair onto the court during a game. He told me about his mindset before and after the incident. During my 5 years of guiding I donated over 40 guided outings to charity and non-profits. One of my donated guided trips was with a couple school teachers and they were new to trout angling. They had a wonderful outing. Trout fishing is a male dominated pursuit but I would put this female principal and science teacher up against any male anglers. I presented at over 50 schools through the years for free. It was very fulfilling watching the children’s faces. I mixed in spiders and snapping turtles into my photo show. Along with the creepy crawlers and snakes I mixed in flowers and breathtaking scenery photos. My only mission I had at each school presentation was to plant the seed and leave that school knowing I had turned those kids on to the wonders of the outdoors. I once had a contract from Field and Stream to do a 12 photo layout and feature story for them on a famous angler/hunter I took out regularly. I told the guy a couple weeks prior to our outing and he oked it. He showed up on the day of the trip at 10:45am and we fished for an hour and he then went turkey hunting. He didn't like any of the photos and refused to let me use them. The story and photos were to get me a $2,000 pay day and notoriety. I took the guy for FREE each time to say I guided him and to use photos in articles. I also had him ask me when I was going to pay him for fishing with me. He typically got 80,000 dollars an hour for speaking. The same guy let out seven different swear words in one sentence when I failed to clear his back cast for him and he caught a tree. He also had an aversion to losing flies. He would go under water and crawl out in tree limbs to retrieve flies. This angler grew to be too high maintenance for me and I handed him off to a friend to entertain. During the guide daze I learned how secretive trout anglers are. I swear they would give you their first born child before they would give you information on a stream. A Midwest Flyfishing Magazine article I had written even caused an angler to knock on my front door to talk to me to voice his frustration with me publicizing “his” streams. I had a featured article in American Angler magazine. The editor told me that good articles typically received at least 6-7 angry emails from anglers because of giving too much attention to "their" fishing area. The editor contacted me later and said I got 13 hate emails. I once had a client do so well he didn't have enough money with him to tip me adequately and he was a former employee of Gerber Knife company and he gave me eight high end knives he had new in their boxes as a tip. I once had three rich guys fish with me all at once. They were talking about buying a medical supply company. The company was on the market for 750,000 dollars. They split the price in threes. Four years later they fished with me again and bragged they had just sold the company for 23 million. The majority of anglers I guided were excellent anglers and stand up good citizens. They were mostly from the Midwest. A couple came from other places in the states and as far away as Germany and Italy. The regulations in other countries are baffling I learned from my foreign clients. No one ever got skunked when they went with me. I have had my glasses and cap ripped off by clients numerous times by clients in a hurry. I have been hooked in the hand, arm, ear, face and head. When you guide you must watch and not fish yourself. It felt like going to a gold mine without a shovel. In the last four years I have had four knee surgeries and one back fusion. I still get out on the water as often as my body allows. It is a chapter of my life I would not have omitted from my journey. Guiding was fulfilling but it took its toll on my body and my soul. I love the outdoors and would not have missed a second of wading and talking and learning on the streams of rural Wisconsin. Len Harris trout fishing guide 2003-2008.
  5. Are You Hungry Now?

    in crock pot on low.
  6. One More Cast

    One More Cast Photo by: Roger Abraham If any of you out there are regular readers of my tales, you have followed my recent struggles with back and knees. I can’t put a name to this drive I have to be on the stream as of late. It borders on obsession. I guess in my mind if I am healthy enough to fish the world is right with me and I am not getting old and feeble. Today I was a witness to that I am not the only one. Lots of anglers and hunters live to go out into the outdoors. . It is what drives them. It makes them feel alive. It is their passion. I told my fishing buddy Abe today my thoughts. I told him how I was feeling a little old. I guess my 60th birthday coming up next month makes me feel mortal. Abe laughed and said I was a young buck compared to him. Abe turns 76 this year. Abe told me tales about catching big trout in tiny streams in Wisconsin and out west. The twinkle in his eye when he reminisced I had seen before in many trout anglers. We fished a stretch for 2 hours. I sat down and rested often. Abe kept on fishing. He got hung up in a box elder branch and lost a lure. Abe told me box elders trees were his nemesis when he fished. He asked me which tree was my kryptonite. I told him, "ones with branches." We both had a chuckle and continued fishing. I thought to myself this guy is really driven. I hope I am like him at 76. We got to the vehicle and Abe wanted to continue fishing. Abe’s waders sprang a leak earlier and he fell in the water a couple times. He was quite wet. He wanted to change in to dry clothes before we continue. Abe peeled off his wet shirt and there were two things stuck to his chest. He could tell by my questioning look he needed to tell me what was up. Abe told me he had been having heart problems lately and he was supposed to be wearing a heart monitor. He left it in the car because he was afraid of getting the electronics wet. Here I have been whining about being old and the guy I was fishing with left his heart monitor in his vehicle. Abe reassured me that he was in no danger and he could continue fishing. I started brainstorming on a place to fish where it was not so hard walking. Now that I knew he was not as healthy as he looked I wanted an easy place to fish. I knew the place and it was upstream 5 miles. We arrived at the well manicured field. It looked like a golf green. I picked the area because the farmer kept sheep and goats on the land and the weeds and brush were gone because of the goats. We walked and fished. Abe told tales of the old days and of fish lost and landed. I walked a little forward to fish and looked back to check up on Abe. What I saw when I looked back scared me and I immediately asked Abe if he was ok. Abe was laying flat on the ground face down. I thought the worst and he could tell by my face. He told me to calm down. His back was acting up and he needed to straight it out and that was the best way to do it. We fished a little bit more and he took a photo of me. He liked the lighting. He told me it captured the essence of trout fishing. He did not have a camera. I let him use mine. He was not camera savvy and needed an impromptu lesson on how to use it. We drove to his car and we talked about our love of the outdoors. We shook hands and headed our separate ways and promised to fish again soon. As I drove home I smiled and thought about how I am going to be when I am 76. I hope I am like Abe and my eyes still twinkle when I talk of chasing trout and I am still driven to make one more cast.
  7. Wisconsin Driftless Report 2017

    4 Net Morning Went out for 2 hours this morning. It looked like rain in the forecast and I looked at my favorite water and it was a little dirty. Thought I better get out there before it was too dirty to fish. Second cast Put my LDH Net to good use. 5 minutes later. Used my LDH Net again Used my LDH Net again was happy to use my net again. At full arm stretch I could not get entire trout in photo. Not a great numbers day but made it up with size. Thought it was time to go home.
  8. Wisconsin Driftless Report 2017

  9. Murphy's Law

    Murphy’s Law I went out this afternoon trout fishing. I questioned the wisdom of fishing on a robin’s egg blue sky day. Trout shun sunlight. I went outside to check the weather. The warmth of the afternoon coaxed me out of the house. I fished a stretch I have done well on in the past. I knew because of the bright sun I would more than likely not do well on big trout this outing. Trout do not have eye lids and shun bright sun. When I got to the stream the outdoor temperature was 58 degrees. I took the water temperature and it was almost 50 degrees. That is well within a good temperature range to score some trout. I hit the water at 2:45pm. The sun was high in the sky and not a single cloud was in the sky. I knew from experience that days like these I typically fished the shaded side of the stream. There was no shaded side of the stream. The fishing was tough. I had lots of follows and flashes at my lure. None seemed to want to commit. I decided to look for cover for the trout. I decided anything to throw a little shade on the trout would make them feel comfortable. The trout had lock jaw. I decided to target broken water so the trout would feel secure and come out in the bright light. They still were bashful. I decided another trick was in order. I was going to throw in the biggest snarly messes and let the lure drop to the bottom and give it a tweak to start the blade going. Bang bang and I was in business. This only worked in deep runs and i lost a few lures throwing into the mess. I ended the outing with 24 brown trout to hand. The biggest was about 16 inches. It was 5:30pm. I usually get out at a bridge and today was nothing different. I stood on the bridge looking upstream. There was a sweet log jam just upstream of the bridge and it was in shadows. I decided i was going to go just upstream in the shadows and cast a few more times. I was still on the bridge looking upstream. I looked at my reel and there was a loop on the spool. This loop needed to be cast out if I was going to continue fishing. I decided the bridge afforded the best angle and no trees in the way to cast out the loop in my spool. I cast off the bridge. The loop caught and dropped my cast about 15 yards upstream. It nearly didn't land in the water. It hit tight to the bank and I had a big snarl in my reel. I looked down and saw my panther martin was barely in the water. I decided to pull off some line and get this snarl out. I made even a bigger mess. I sat down on the bridge rail and started to mess with my giant snarl. I again looked at my lure and it was barely in the water. I was worried about losing the lure because of the snarl. It was safe and barely dangling in the water. I really made a mess with the reel. I was cussing it and trying to untangle it. I lost focus on my lure in the water. I was peering over my glasses and really putting all my attention on this mess and I heard a splash sound. I looked upstream and saw nothing. I looked back at the reel. I heard a louder splash and looked over the bridge at my lure suspended in the water. My mouth dropped open wide and I stared in disbelief. Me messing with the line caused the lure to jig up and down in the water. This attracted a predator. Not 2 inches from my lure was a giant trout suspended and staring at the size 9 gold panther martin deluxe waiting for it to move again. My reel was still messed up so there was no battling this huge female trout on my reel if it decided to quit dancing with my panther martin and eat it. The bridge was at least 15 feet off the water and the idea of battling a monster trout from above was not appealing. I worked frantically on the snarl. It got even more messed up. My fighting with this reel and keeping one eye on the giant female was nerve racking. She still was very interested in my lure. She circled it like a shark. It was more than I could stand. I decided if I hooked up with her with this less than optimal circumstances I would lose her and maybe kill her because of the bridge nonsense. I decided to try to catch her another day. The reel was non functional and i grabbed the line and lifted the lure out of the water. What happened next is going to be relived in my dreams for the rest of my life. The monstrous female brown bum rushed the lure as I lifted it out of the water. It launched itself out of the water snapping at the spinner. It was a swing and a miss. I got my wits back together and thought about cutting out the snarl and trying for her. I decided a return trip was on the agenda. As I write this recollection I smile and cuss my circumstances.