Your Membership has Expired

Your Membership has Expired

Did you get my message? It’s time to renew your TU membership. With your support, TU will continue working tirelessly to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain America’s trout and salmon habitat. Make your $35 contribution today and you’ll receive a new TU car decal and $30 off your next purchase of $100 or more at

Oh, I got the message.

This one along with the other 20 or so I’ve got in the last two months through both snail mail and email.

No, I will not be renewing my membership. The primary reason being that there are no trout in Illinois and I don’t travel to try to catch them. I did make an effort to pursue trout over a decade ago in a couple of trips to Wisconsin. I quickly learned that the pursuit of trout bores me to tears.

But I kept renewing my membership.

Over the years I like to think I’ve done quite a bit to protect, reconnect and restore some of the rivers and creeks here in the northeast corner of Illinois. Why not support a group that is attempting to do that nationwide, if not worldwide.

Then a few years ago my interest in anything outside of my limited world here in the Fox Valley began to wane. I’m now officially not a member of anything. No groups, no clubs, no organizations. No more board seats for local organizations. Over the last two years I’ve let my guiding service die. No more fishing classes and just last year I turned down a handful of opportunities to speak to groups or clubs about fishing.

This self imposed isolation is twofold.

First, my spare time has become very limited and what little I have is extremely precious to me.

Second, I put this at the end of a recent post:

And with this, I am done with my Blackberry Creek Dam Removal Updates.

There will be no more.

I’m sure I will go fishing on the creek come March, I’m sure I’ll catch some fish, I’m sure I’ll take some pictures and I’m sure I’ll write something up about the fishing trip.

But I will no longer mention the creek by name. There will be no recognizable photos of the creek posted. As far as anyone else is concerned, it’s just another one of the seven or so creeks I fish that happen to feed into the Fox River.

This is going to be done for purely selfish reasons.

The interest level in fishing the Fox River and it’s creeks, at least in the areas I like to fish, has dropped off considerably over the past eight years.

I run into practically no one while out there fishing.

And I want to keep it that way.

I was going to expand on this a bit, it’s all in my head, but I’m going to leave it there.

I think that pretty much explains everything.

I will give it to you though TU, you almost had me. You almost had me renew my subscription and it wasn’t anything you did directly.

In a recent issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal, there was a photo essay. A couple of guys in Minnesota that went out trout fishing in the middle of winter on a small stream and they were using light spinning gear.

I don’t recall any derogatory remarks about their choice of equipment. A shot was included of a small floating Rapala. More shots of a beautiful little stream being walked by a couple of guys, with spinning gear. Mention was made of numerous trout caught.

There was even a shot of one of them lighting up what appeared to be a damn fine cigar.

I thought, there’s hope for these trout guys yet!

But it didn’t work. It didn’t win me over.

Instead, this year I’ll be out somewhere in the Fox Valley in pursuit of smallmouth bass during one of my 70 or so fishing trips. With spinning gear. Only, if anyone bothers to read what I’ll be writing, you’ll know I’m in the Fox Valley somewhere, but where?

You won’t even realize I’m out there fishing and observing and extolling the virtues of my surroundings and I don’t even have a fly rod in my hand. It’s an inefficient tool for accomplishing a simple goal, to catch a fish, so why bother with it and why even bother mentioning what’s being used?

As a tip of my hat to the world of trout though, I just might include some shots of me lighting up a…

Who am I kidding, I don’t smoke damn fine cigars.

As the wife calls them… your little shit sticks.


Welcome to my world.

15 thoughts on “Your Membership has Expired

  1. Ed

    Viscerally honest. I can tell you’re getting to that passive aggressive stage of bugginess though. Supposed to be 31 tomorrow, go check out the WWTO.

    1. Ken G Post author

      That would be aggressive aggressive Ed and yeah, climbing the walls. I can’t seem to get my butt out the door in this weather, at least not to go hop in the river. It’s been tempting to go get another pair of neoprenes, but I wonder if that would really solve the problem.

  2. Richard Velders

    I have to wait till I sell my 02 GMC cause I have the TU sticker on the back. I do hope to get back up to the driftless area in WI and IA when my wife no longer needs my home care. Dick

    1. Richard Velders

      I definitely have to continue more spin fishing on the Fox and creeks. It’s been fun doing new stuff and it’s about time since I’ve lived on the river for 14 years. Your photos are very enticing. Dick

    2. Ken G Post author

      I probably will go back to the driftless area some day Dick, but no fly rods. I’ve looked over maps of Iowa and they look really interesting. I think I have one more year before things stabilize enough to travel again, then I’ll have to give it some serious thought. There are still a lot of little waters not that far west of us that need to be checked out. May do that this year, we’ll see.

  3. walt

    I’ll agree that TU’s bureaucratic aces waste a lot of time and paper mailing redundant expiration forms, but I still support the work ethic involved with preservation and restoration of streams. I admire your tenacity in the fun pursuit of smallmouth bass with spinning equipment and your write up of personal experiences, which I’ll always look forward to reading. Predictably, though, I’ll defend the act of chasing wild trout with a fly rod, even though this isn’t really my place to do so. If Jesus had lived to be a couple hundred years old, he might have seen Macedonian shepherds flailing the waters successfully with a willow rod and an artificial fly. It’s possible they even thought the act enjoyable and efficient.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Walt, after so many years of trying to get the word out about local waters, I’m burned out. I’ve always had a top down approach to everything I do, so I will always pay attention to things out there that are adversely affecting the local waters, but the middlemen will be skipped and those in charge will hear from me directly. It’s that time shortage thing again. The middle sucks up too much time.

      I’ve been told I fish my spinning gear like a fly rod. It’s all in the presentation after all.

  4. bob

    Perhaps there is something in the water, like fluoride, that had an immediate purpose, but over time brought about other actions and reactions not observed, or not quite explainable. Whether these are bad actions and reactions or not is up to the individual, or moot. I dunno’.

    As much as I love fly fishing, and tend to prefer it over other fun and effective methods, I am finding that I am referring to myself less and less as a fly fishermen, and more and more as a fisherman. I say fly fishermen if asked, “what do you use?”, but mainly I leave it at “fisherman.” As I’ve gotten older, the distinctions are not as important to me. I’ve also become quite suspect of all of the things that come up in the mind – good or bad, positive or negative – of the person I say “fly fisherman” too, and really don’t quite care to approve or disapprove of their assessment of me based upon those two words .

    I do however, love to say “I’m a Tenkara Fisherman,” if for no other reason than the confused look on the faces of the people who hear this. As is the case with most things, most have no idea what I mean, but, not wishing to appear uninformed, either say nothing or nod with a faint impression of knowingness about it. A few know exactly what I mean, but other than a genuine smile, they tend to keep their mouths shut as though it is our dirty, little, secret society secret. That appeals to me. I once had a 13 year old kid from Indiana know exactly what I was doing when I was Tenkara fishing in Monroe Harbor, in from of Buckingham Foundation down along Lake Shore Drive. He said it in a quite snotty fashion, and I noticed he looked a little like Ted Bundy, but I think he was being a know it all ass wipe to irritate his pushy mother and little brother, than with a “so what else is new, old man,” attitude (although she was rather milfy – so many of these Moms are nowadays – so I was willing to put up with a certain degree of pushiness while talking to her).. At least I hope so. I’d hate to think my beloved Tenkara is on the “life list of things to do while killing people” of future little Narcissistic Sociopaths like Ted Bundy.

    If none of this makes sense, well chalk it up to…. age, ennui, boredom, SAD, or encroaching dementia without the violence part.

    1. Ken G Post author

      Your thoughts always make sense to me Bob. Not quite sure what that says about either one of us, but at least we get it.

      I’ve honed how I fish to such a bare minimum I can’t imagine doing anything else. The first time I have to make a back cast, I would be done. Too much effort, wasted energy. I won’t carry two rods around and I can’t imagine going out there with just a Tenkara rod and then be stuck using it for a few hours. But I will play with one if you bring one along. Close in presentations, I think I know a little about those.

  5. Feather Chucker

    I think TU is a noble operation in general. It’s too bad my area doesn’t have more “cold water” with trout in it. The constant reminder membership emails do get annoying. Especially the “we’ve just extended the donation match deal.” If I didn’t donate before why would I give a crap that you extended it? It’s obviously just a ploy to get more money and insulting to think people wouldn’t get that.

    1. Ken G Post author

      My goal at one time was to travel a bit more and actually see about fishing for trout in the lands where they live. That never happened.

      Then, I just got tired of all these organizations with their hands out. Especially ones where you can trace money back to corporations that help keep them going. They don’t need any more from me.

      There are some shelters near me that do a really good job of taking care of people and getting them back on their feet. I think my $35 will be much better spent there.

  6. Matt

    You don’t stand elbow to elbow and yank stocked trout out of the big lake at Silver Springs in early April?

    Yeah, me neither.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I’d rather go buy them from WalMart Matt.

      That being said, I used to go to Quarry Lake in DuPage before it would get ice and fish for trout there. In the southeast corner is a limestone flat you can walk out on if you have waders on. I didn’t know that wasn’t allowed and got shagged back to shore. Of course, the next time I had to wade out there again. It was just too irresistible.

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