When Hurricane Ike steamed up the Ohio Valley a few years back, I got a taste (and so did my roof) of what hurricane force straight line winds are like. Well, I never for once expected that in Northern Wisconsin I might experience a similar thing. But on Friday, July 1st in the north country, we were blasted by a bizarre storm that sent straight line winds above 70 mph roaring down over the sand country.
My brother and myself watched it from the boat house and saw it roll in. Not to sound like a stereotype, but it sounded very much like a freight train. Just a constant roar. As the wind picked up, the trees began to sway.
Then we started hearing branches, and then whole trees, crack. It was surreal. Large branches were flying off trees and soaring 20 or 30 feet past the end of the dock and into the lake. Amazing.
It lasted about an hour and then darkness fell. An 18" oak missed my sister's car by about a foot, and there were about a dozen other trees down around us, but no major damage. We were lucky. In nearby Solon Springs about 20 miles away, the airport suffered massive damage.
Our friend's cabin got hit much worse. Here are some photos my brother took of the devastation.
This is what you get when big trees with shallow roots grow in sand, and meet high winds. They get uprooted, even massive Norway pines three feet across.
The next day was spent chain sawing wood, but we snuck out to do a bit of fishing on the St. Croix River. We snuck down to the Ranger Station near Gordon and here's what we saw:
Fishing was only so-so. Lots of small fish like this St. Croix river sunfish even on my big water Wettering glass fly rod. It was a bit sad knowing I had to return the next day.
There was a tag to this story. I decided at sunset on the last day to try and get some bass to rise to a home-made lure. I waded in chest-deep water and starting fly casting over a brush pile. I was rewarded with a neat 12 inch smallmouth. Then a loon began to pay attention, likely attracted by the fact that I was getting fish to rise. Amazingly, he came closer and closer.
You really haven't lived until a loon swims less than two feet away from you underwater. They are so graceful they look like a penguin underwater.
It was a perfect way to end a fishing trip.
-- Dr. Todd