Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Springtime in the Mitt

Hey there folks,

I have been very busy around here the past couple months. Work, fishing, and watching little Jack grow up have pretty much consumed every waking moment for me lately, though it hasn't been at all bad ; ) In fact, it's been quite good.

Fishing has been VERY good. I can't remember ever having a steelhead run like this year. Maybe I'm just too young to remember the "good old days," but the numbers of fish have been impressive to say the least. Last week, the Pere Marquette looked to be in the peak of the salmon run, which, for those of you in the know, means INSANE numbers of fish. Only this time, they were STEELHEAD!

Though the hookup to landing ratio hasn't been great with hot spring fish, hookups have been plentiful and many have been giving us a full aerial display.

On the West side of the state, the steelhead run is winding down, but the East side is just heating up. I'll bet there will be fish around into June over there. I can only hope that the West side was only a precursor for what the East side has to offer this year.

I CAN'T WAIT for trout season this year! With all of the water in rivers across the state, the Brownies will be fat, sassy, and STRONG this spring. The first good dry fly day is something I look forward to every new year. There is nothing like watching a solid brown sipping a bug off the surface...

Whether it is steelhead, trout, Walleye, smallies, or muskies, our state has a ton to offer in the way of fishing. Pick your poison, and get after em', because there is no better place on earth for a fisherman than Michigan in springtime!

I see a reflection...

Chrome Hen

Ken with a nice Buck

Yours truly with a bruiser

Nice fish Paddy

EB Brown

Mike M. works a slot

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Singing in the Rain, Fishing in the Snow

The river had been frozen completely across for the past 2 months. It took two days of higher-than-normal flows to blow the ice out. The ice chunks thrown on shore by the increase in water were a solid 3-4 inches thick, and rather mean-looking when stacked three feet high.

As Dane and I made our way to the river I said that we'd "be heroes or zeroes," not knowing at the time whether there was ice on top of the river. When we made our way around the corner and saw open, flowing stream, we each let out a small gasp of excitement and made our way down.

No footprints on the bank, but fisherman were present at our honey hole. We moved upstream and hit the producer. A bend that starts as a shallow riffle and then dives into a fast run of medium depth, it ends with a deep, froggy-water lie, perfect for drifting a bobber through. Soon, it starts to snow.

Knowing the bucket, I worked out line, imagining what I would do when the fish took the fly. On the second cast a stick snags my fly, oh, wait, THE STICK IS MOVING, fish on! Here we go, keep the line tight. Fight her down through a heavy riffle only to have Dane tail the beautiful girl on the inside of the next downstream bend. Seven pounds of chrome. Nothing better.

Awhile longer, and we move again. The snow is really falling now. Up to an inch of snow covers Dane and I, and golfball sized snowflakes are dropping all around us. Dane catches a nice brown...

We arrive at another popular spot, which Dane always claims is the "best spot on the river." He proves it. Hooking a nice hen, he fights it through the rapids at the bottom of the run. Keep it tight. KEEP IT TIGHT, I'm thinking, watching Dane play the fish expertly into the shallows were I tail her. We get the obligatory hero shots, and send the lil' lady on her way. "I love watching as they swim off," Dane says.

It's snowing even harder now, and seven inches of the white stuff covers what was formerly bare-earth when we had started the day. Good fishing in a snowstorm. What an incredible thing! Ended up landing those two adults and one skip, with a nice little brownie thrown in between the both of us. The weather, however, is what we'll remember about this day...

Frozen river 2/18/11

Open river 2/20/11

My steely

Fighting a fish in the snow 101

Happy guy

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Had the chance to take good a good friend and fisherman "P," out this past weekend. New to the fly rod/steelhead game, but not new to fishing, we set out to hook (and hopefully land) his first steelhead. We accomplished the goal...twice. I also threw one in the mix and overall we had a very good day.

I just may get more satisfaction out of watching a person hook/land their first steelhead. The king of freshwater. The standout part of the day was when P hooked into a dime bright steelhead. It took him for a nice ride and soon parted ways, but it left an indelible impression on both of us. Very cool moment.

For those of you more experienced steelheaders, try and take someone out who is newer to the game. Challenge yourself. The results can be even more rewarding than hooking the fish yourself.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Long Winter

As I write this, I am looking out the window at one and a half feet plus of snow. There certainly is no lacking in the white stuff this year. No lacking in the cold department either. It has made things tough on the open water fisherman. Many of my favorite stretches of stream are frozen this time of year.

Icefishing "scratches the itch," but it certainly does not do the justice to cabin fever that a dancing steelhead will. This year has been slow on the hardwater front as well, with chub fattened Walleye that are reluctant to eat. We are catching dinks, but keepers are few and far between. Underwater camera pics show their presence but an overabundance of shad in Saginaw Bay this year has them fat and sassy.

Every "warm up," in the weather has harkened me back to the stream. On the west side of the state, we have been managing about 3 tangles with chrome a day. The east side rivers are frozen (some of the west side rivers are too).

Went fishing with new friends Matt and Paul this past Sunday. New to the PM, but not new to steelhead fishing, these guys are good fisherman. They approach a day of fishing like a puzzle to solve. Each drift can give you another piece to the puzzle.

Matt wraps some sweet rods. You can check em' out here. These really are some of the nicest looking rods I have ever seen. The guy wraps a great looking bug too...

Paul is a west coast fisherman. Not Michigan's west coast, the real west coast, Western Washington to be exact. Paul has the confidence and steelhead sense to be successful anywhere he fishes.

All three of us landed fish yesterday, going 3 for 4 total on chrome with about a half dozen trout thrown in. Not too shabby for a 32 degree day. We didn't even get to fish some of the more consistant producing spots as there were quite a number of folks out there as well.

This time of year can hold surprises. Pockets around heavily fished holes start holding fish as they disperse because of the commotion fishermen bring. Finding these spots can make or break your day.

Close Up

Headshot, Matt's fish

Matt with chromer 2/6/11

Cold fishing 1/9/11

Hooked up in the slush 1/9/11

Doing the "Steelhead stab"

Paul's fish


Yours truly with a double stripe buck

Beat up buckeroo from December

Streamers designed to piss off a steelhead! (hopefully)

23 inch Wally

A rod that Matt wrapped, check em' out here