After 28 years of guiding fly-fishers on his beloved Brule River, fishing guide Damian Wilmot has decided to cut back pretty seriously. He will also give up most of his grouse and woodcock guiding in the fall.
"I'm going to cut back a lot, literally doing two to three trips a month," said Wilmot, 50, of Superior. "I'm still debating whether to do any hunting (guiding) at all. I have some great dogs, and the amount I get to hunt behind them is pretty small. I want to do a lot more of that."
He will turn to full-time work at the machine shop in Superior where he has worked part-time during his guiding career.
He has been guiding 100 to 120 days a year, he said. The guiding life also required him to spend many winter weekends at fly-fishing expos in the Upper Midwest.
His feelings about the Brule River run deep.
"It really offers a wilderness - kind of timeless - experience," Wilmot said. "You go down that river, and you think, 'I'll bet this is how the river looked 200 years ago when the fur traders were coming down here, at least in sections of it.'"
At one point, he had seriously considered guiding on Western rivers.
"What it came down to, for me, is that my home is the Brule River," he said. "It was not about being a guide, but being a Brule River guide, that was important to me."