It was a fresh season and the never ending “off” season was finally over. My fishing companions and I had been planning our opening trip for far too long. The location was southwest Wisconsin’s driftless area, which offers endless possibilities of runs, pools, and riffles. We managed to talk my father into letting us use his pop-up camper, which beat the hell out of holding each other close to stay warm in a tent (our only other option due to budget constraints).
Camp was stationed at a spectacular little county park that offered one of the more unique rock formations I’ve ever encountered. For five bucks a night you couldn’t beat it. The nice little lady who converted half of her house into the “campground office,” allowed us to keep a running tab of beer and cigs which escalated quickly. I’m sure she thought we were quite the characters stopping by in our waders before and after our day of fishing to refill the provisions.
We meant business and wanted everyone to know it, including the trout. Now nothing says, “I mean business,” like a thick, handsome mustache. To my surprise one of the fellas showed up lacking a bit of business edict, sporting a casual beard. Fortunately for him we located an old disposable razor, a pair of tying scissors, and some facial soak used to heat the shrimp from our delicious seafood tacos only minutes earlier. Let’s just say he was back in business after the passing of numerous boots. For his efforts we all agreed to tie a fly using the harvest of wiry beard hair which, if mixed with the right amount of ice dub made for an appetizing looking bug. Needless to say we were all finally ready to intimidate some meaty browns.
Kyle Zempel was introduced to the sport of fishing at a very young age by his grandfathers on the numerous lakes of the region of Wisconsin he still calls home. His passion for photography and fly fishing simultaneously and through them, Kyle has developed a unique talent for capturing images that place a primary focus on the fisherman. Today, Kyle is a professional wedding, fashion and outdoor photographer. To view more of his work, visit .