Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Out on the River

This is what we were after today, out on the hard water. It was a late bite today, from about a quarter to five till dusk. A good buddy of mine and I managed to land around 15 walleye, however they were all too small for the fryer. The pic above was taken earlier this year, had a good fish fry the next night ; ) Why is it that the most "thrown together" rig always manages to bag the most fish? I have a borderline panfish rod with a tiny reel on it (with virtually no drag) and yet today I could drop it down almost any hole and get bit. My more expensive rigs, with proven jigheads and lures on them, fell flat today. Tommy and I were lamenting about this before the bite turned on, and sure enough it turned out to be true for the both of us today. Just remember this the next time you "throw something together" I guess...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two important figures...

Two very important figures in flytying passed on in the last month. Jack Gartside and Rusty Gates will be remembered fondly and their ideas will be used in tying flies for years to come. Rusty and Jack were major stewards of the resource they used. In the following blog I will outline two of Jack Gartsides fly patterns, the very effective "Gartside Gurgler," and the "Gartside Sparrow."

The Gartside Sparrow is a nymph/streamer. Its easy to tie, and even easier to fish. I have caught steelhead, salmon, and trout on this fly, and I bet you could catch a lot more species of fish with it as well. Swing it, dead drift it, strip it, it works pretty much however you fish it. Here's a pic.

The tail is grizzly marabou, the body is olive dubbing, the collar is pheasant rump, the the head is aftershaft feather. You can change the colors and experiment with different materials too.

Next is the Gartside Gurgler. Jack tied it in other materials, but this pattern is as good as any. I use this for bass, trout, panfish, and it was originally tied for stripers and other saltwater fish. As with the sparrow, there are a million different ways to fish it, so experiment with it when on the water.

The tail is marabou, the body is ice chenille with black hackle. Before you tie the body on, tie on a thick piece of thick foam then pull it over the body when tied. Create a lip with the foam over the eye of the hook so the fly "gurgles."

Jack Gartside will be remembered as one of the great modern fly tiers. His patterns still catch a lot of fish, and they will produce for you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blizzard Fishing

The past week has been interesting for me. Wintertime fishing. Fishing in sub-zero temperatures means rod guides freezing, ice everywhere actually. Everything from tying knots to walking to the fishing spot takes longer. A week ago I spent an afternoon on a West Michigan river with a friend. We managed to have a great day of fishing on a day that topped out at 31 degrees. Yesterday I fished with my dad, and we managed a couple trout and a steelie, with the snow falling most of the time we were out. Today fishing was a bit tougher, with only one fish being hooked that did the "alligator roll" to evade the net. I've never seen them do this in warm water, but its a good tactic nonetheless. Here's some pics...

You gotta love wintertime fishin'

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Small Stream Salmon!

This was in mid-September with a good friend named Ken Mers. Sorry for the chaotic nature of the video midway through, Kenny had a little trouble holding a camera and netting a fish at the same time. Of course, I don't know who wouldn't! This fish was hooked on a bead head hares ear fished under an indicator, one of my favorite methods for fall salmon.

Phil's Dish on Fish - The Introduction

Hey Folks,

Welcome to my web site. This site has been a long time coming because I have been busy, well, fishing. This site is dedicated to helping beginning anglers delve deeper into the sport, for novice anglers to understand why learning how to fish is a never ending process, and for expert anglers to compare notes. I will also be posting guide specials as well as interesting stories and insight as to fishing and all its wonders.

In particular, the species I target and guide for include large predatory brown trout, steelhead, brook and rainbow trout. I also fish and run guide trips for salmon and walleye as well. In general, I love to fish, whether it be for walleye through the ice or brown trout on mouse flies in the middle of the night. I grew up spending a large part of the summer, including most of May, June, and August, at our family's cabin on a prime section of the famed Au Sable in Northern Michigan. I still spend most of my summer there, running guide trips and fishing for my own personal enjoyment. I learned to night fish on the Au Sable at the impressionable age 9 and was "hooked". I caught my first Hex trout at age 10, and my first 20-incher at age 12. During these years I also learned to steelhead and salmon fish with my uncle on the Pere Marquette, or "PM" as it is affectionately known among flyfishers. He taught me the ways of "chuck & duck," and I learned to indicator fish shortly thereafter.

Simply put, I love fishing and guiding, and this is why I put up this site. So, make yourself at ease, check out my recent reports and pictures, look at my "how to" pages, and contact me at if you have any questions.

Thank You,
Phil Cook