Alright Russ, you've thrown the gauntlet. I know that challenge wasn't crafted with me in mind, but it sure feels like it. I don't know if you could have hit closer to home. So Russ, I'm taking you to Big Spring near Fennimore, WI.
Big Spring is, surprise, a spring fed creek. It roars out of the side of a Wisconsin dell and tumbles through a small valley on its way to the Blue River. The spring is a short hike from Big Spring Road. The spring itself is made even more spectacular by the cascade below it that connects it to the creek below. What makes Big Spring so special is that it is full of beautiful brook trout.
Spend the morning catching trout on a fly rod and enjoying the last throws of summer, which comes in late September this far north. It is classic Wisconsin trout fishing making your way through broken patches of farmland and tree stands and in the fall months being surrounded by changing leaves and drying corn.
For wine lovers the highlight of this little valley is Spurgeon Winery. Located at the intersection of Big Spring Road and Pine Tree Road, Spurgeon is exactly what you would expect of a Wisconsin winery. Supported almost 100% by tourists, the winery caters to a more casual wine drinker with a healthy selection of sweeter wines made from offbeat more hearty varietals.
After a visit to the winery it is time to celebrate the end of trout season with a shot at a final brook trout on a dry fly. Fishing over rising trout in the evening is a beautiful way to end the day, and it would call for a bottle of 2005 Montelena Chardonnay shared with a fishing buddy as the sun starts to dip over the western hills. The Montelena is young enough to still display the bright acidity and since it doesn't undergo malolactic, it would make for a nice bright crisp reminder that it is indeed still summer time, if only for a couple more days.
When it is all over, reflect on the day with a nice bottle of wine back in Fennimore at the Eagle Creek Inn, which boasts a fantastic wine list and an unbeatable dinner menu.