Does competition bring out the best in fishers? The inaugural Driftless Area Border Battle, co-organized by four university fly fishing clubs, succeeded in bringing out anglers from across Minnesota and Wisconsin for fishing, fundraising, and new connections. Thanks to Anton Pohl, club president of Fly Fishers of UW-Platteville, for sharing a recap below, and let's hope the battles continue in 2018.
Although the blackened clouds and torrential rains attempted to keep the event at bay last Saturday, the first annual Driftless Area Border Battle (D.A.B.B.) not only featured a successful turnout but proceeded to raise over $700 towards TU-Dare and the Boundary Waters Trust. In conjunction with their local Trout Unlimited Chapters, local fly shops, and multitudes of sponsors for gear as prizes and silent auction items, Winona State On the Fly, Fly Fishers of UW-Plattevile, Gustavus Fly Fishing Club, and the UW-Stevens Point Fly Fishing Club brought to life a points-based fly fishing tournament in the surrounding Driftless Area in WI and MN. As part of the TU Costa 5 Rivers program, over 25 individuals were able to fish for the event, as well as connect with others passionate about the sport and the stream conservation associated with it.
Ranging from over 90 to just 2 fish per team, the fishing was decisively more competitive with the weather conditions (as finding a clear, slower moving headwater was key), however it did not prevent anyone from having a good time exploring the vast array of Driftless Area streams cascading to and from one valley to the next. Even so, every single one of the 13 teams walked away with prizes thanks to the generosity of the sponsors and individuals devoted to the cause.
All in all, the clubs would like to extend their thanks to anyone and everyone who helped make this event possible, and are currently working out the details of when another Border Battle might be able to occur, whether it be in the springtime of next year or as an annual fall occurrence!
Location: SLC Atrium @ Winona State University
Costa Del Mar, Trout Unlimited, Cheeky Reels, Sendero Co., RepYourWater, Root River Rod Co., O’Pros, Cabelas, Scheels Outfitters, Postfly, Dead Drift Fly, Driftless Angler