Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Surprising Trout

On my last excursion to the North Country, I had evenings with both good and bad fishing. For example, a client of mine fished over three large fish on Thursday, and on Saturday the fishing was slow for another pair of clients. On another note, these guys had a good time and they still managed to boat 15 trout or so. We also landed the first Rainbow Trout I have ever seen on the Manistee. Pretty cool experience. It was the first surprising trout of the weekend.

The other was a large Brown Trout that a friend and I heard on Sunday night. It made a sound like a whale breaching the surface of the water. Soon after, I went up to inspect the situation. I suspected the fish rose to a big stonefly, so I tied one on. Fishing the riffle, I skittered the stonefly imitation across and down, hoping for the big splash. It never came.

The next morning, I awoke around 8:30 AM, and decided to go to the same riffle to see if I could entice the big fish to strike. Still using the stonefly imitation I had on the previous night, I drew line out slowly. On the third drift through the riffle, a large shape emerged under my fly, swimming slowly. As the head of the massive trout came up to inspect my fly, I acted too quickly and instinctively pulled the fly right out of the fishes' mouth. Bummer. Alas, this was the second surprising trout of the weekend.

These fish are what keeps us coming back. New things can be seen every time we are out on the river if we pay close enough attention. Just sitting, watching, and listening to a river can improve your fly fishing skills tremendously. Next time you hit the river, use your powers of observation. It could lead to your next surprising trout.

This fish was a surprising trout. It ate a hendrickson at 4 o'clock in the afternoon ABOVE Mio on the Au Sable.

This fish was also a surprising trout. It came from less than a foot of water on a very cold night.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Fishing the Past Month

I know, I know, it has been a severely long time since my last post. I apologize. Fish, work, cabin chores, and graduating from my final college class (at least for a while) has kept me pretty busy. The shift in concentration from Steelhead to trout has already occurred, and I followed accordingly.

For the most part, I should say. Yesterday, I went on a reconnaissance mission for a client up to one of my favorite late-run Steelhead rivers. After receiving more than one inch of run the previous two days, I expected the river to be full of chrome. Instead, I arrived to a gin-clear river that looked as if it hadn't gotten rain in weeks. After walking close to 6 miles and spotting only 4 Steelhead, I think things have pretty well wrapped up there.

As for the trout fishing front, this spring has been truly amazing. Hatches have been heavy, with nice trout coming up to the bugs most nights, depending on weather, temperature, and (of course!) numerous other factors, some known and unknown. We have landed several nice mid-teen fish, and have had shots at some that were much larger.

Streamer fishing last week was somewhat of an enigma. After the first day of great dry fly fishing, the clouds opened and the rain came down. One would have thought that the soaking would have provided great streamer fishing the next couple days. Instead, I was blanked on streamers until Monday, when I lost a whopper at the boat because of a botched net job (it happens sometimes) and landed 2 other teenagers. We rolled A BUNCH of fish.

I love trout fishing. Dry flies and big trout are my passion. Its what I started doing with my dad some 17 odd years ago, its what inspired me to become a guide, and its what I love to put clients on most. There is NOTHING that compares to watching a large snout come up to sip mayflies from the surface film. Just thinking about it puts shivers down my spine.

I have been working on new patterns, perfecting old ones, and researching patterns for the future. I am getting very excited about the hatch fishing this year! For a taste of what I have been up to, I want to share a few photos from some memorable days on the water. They are from my last steelhead trip to a West Michigan river with my dad and a good friend. Enjoy.

Dano with a HUGE dropback female

My dad's first fish on a bobber

This hen put on an INCREDIBLE fight! Just ask my dad...

Super chrome female.