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Outstanding Equipment
Namekagon River 2013 Preface
  • Pypsawa II
  • 29.2
  • 25.3
  • 17.4
  • 12.5
  • 8.4
  • 5.1
  • 3.6
  • Pypsawa II
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio

I watched A River Run's Through it last night – a classic tale of family and fishing. It just happened to be on The Ovation Network before I went to bed. Not real familiar with that one. The network that is, very familiar with the story. Seems a fitting movie to watch as I was preparing my head to recount one of my favorite times of the year, well, that's unfair, it's not one of my favorite times of the year, it's one of the favorite times of my life. Every time I am on the Namekagon River, it is one of the favorite times of my life. While I consider the men who accompany me to the River family, realize this tale will not involve love stories, run in's with the law and old timey flare like Norman Maclean's timeless classic. And it certainly won't involve trout.

Well, unless you love stories about Muskies, Smallmouth Bass, Redhorse and everything that comes with pursing them for eight days straight while luxury adventure camping on Wisconsin's finest River, The Namekagon, then I guess it might involve a little love. Alright, I suppose a bit of family is needed too.

I learned long before social media and other bullshit that documenting the great times we spend in the wild was important. I'll continually cite Chumlie's infamous "HONLTOCH" tapes as the reason I try to keep good record of the things we do in our pursuit of fishing perfection, and someday there will certainly be a full length audio recollection of the Namekagon trips. For now though, I have found that sitting down to recount the amazing things that happen on this journey is almost as fun as doing them the first time.

A little history is needed each time this begins. Assuming yearly recounts of this journey continue to happen, I will try to change it up a bit each year, but the history is a necessary part.

The Namekagon River is a tributary of the St. Croix River that runs through Northwestern Wisconsin until it's confluence with the Parent about ten miles Northeast of Danbury Wisconsin. The Namekagon is about 100 miles long and 100% beautiful. For some reason, my Great Grandparents were lucky enough to have a cabin on The Namekagon until it was naturalized in 1968. I think the cabin remained for a while after that, but the moral of the story is that the United States Government came in and told Norma Cass (my Great Grandmother) to get lost! Merrill, my Great Grandfather, had passed away long before he had to retire his piece of paradise. Well, a few years before anyways.

While I know there is still contention in my family having to sell the Pypsawa (the name of the original cabin) to the Feds, as time has went on and I have seen the influx of people and things to Northwestern Wisconsin, who knows what could have become of the River. I think that the 252 miles that the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway protects might just be the greatest little slice of heaven on Earth. And the great thing is, I think we are the only ones that know it has truly world class fishing! Keep paddling folks. To conclude the history section, James Cass Sr., My Grandfather and son of Merril and Norma Cass passed away this year at the grand age of 85. He was an amazing Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Husband and friend. His and my Grandmother Marilyn's procurement of what we now call the Pypsawa II is why we can still maintain our close relationship with The Namekagon River. The Pypsawa II sits on beautiful Big Casey Lake, less than five miles from the site of the Original Pypsawa. I thought of him much as I traversed The River this year and am grateful for the time I - and everyone who knew him - had while he was here.