Stonefly Search 2013

27 01 2013

A while back I attended the Quiet Water Symposium at the Michigan State Pavilion.  While I was walking around I cam across the Huron River Watershed Council booth.  I took some of their literature along with a map and when I got home I checked out their Facebook page and Website.  One day I received an email stating that they needed help collecting Stone Fly nymphs along the Huron River.  Next thing I know I am sitting at the New Center in Ann Arbor waiting for instructions.  While I waited I read over some of the paperwork involved.  Most important of which was a little guide as to what a Stonefly looks like and where I would be going.


My Cheat Sheet

While I was going through the paperwork I got to meet Rachel who would be tagging along with me today.  Since we were heading down to Flat Rock we were meeting a group of fly fishermen down there to assist with the collections.  Rachel and I were going to be the “Pickers” today, the group we were meeting were going to be the collectors.  After a brief description of what we were expected to do and a poem of what we could encounter we were on our way.

Our first stop was Port Creek near the Huron River.  With the recent cold snap and low water levels I wondered if we would even have any water.  After busting through the ice we found about 6 inches of water.  We took a sample and a couple of scoops but all we found was muck, a few midge larvae and a small darter.  We punched another hole about 100 feet away and got the same results.

Our crew sifting through the sample.

Our crew sifting through the sample.

Our next stop proved to be more productive.  We stopped at the DNR launch along the Huron River just east of Telegraph in Flat Rock.  There was no ice, the water was very clear and there was a lot of gravel.  I handed the net to Ed our collector while Rachel and I got the sample trays ready.  One of the helpers brought over a rock and Rachel went to work trying to locate a nymph.  It didn’t take long when she spotted one and she dropped it in the sample bottle.

Rachel picking.

Rachel picking.

We took a few more samples and eventually filled 2 specimen bottles with about 20 to 30 nymphs in each one.  After we were done we took the samples back to the organizers at the New Center where they will do their studies.  These nymphs are very sensitive to changes in water quality.  If there is an abundant supply that means the river is healthy.  If the bugs are gone, they tend to get a little concerned.  This is one of the reasons why I volunteered to do this.  I like to know what is going on with the rivers I fish.  The Detroit River has cleaned up nicely from when my Dad used to fish it as a kid.  Seeing the Huron healthy is a great comfort for me and a lot of other fishermen.  The Flat Rock area is a great access point for people to possibly catch a steelhead without having to drive to the west side of the state to do it.  The results of what we did today will be used to further influence water use laws and fish stockings by the DNR.  If the river can’t support a forage base for the steelhead, no more plantings.

Our first one of the day.  Tiny little bugger isn't he?

Our first one of the day. Tiny little bugger isn’t he?

New Spoons

13 01 2013

Well this was my only purchase at the Ultimate Fishing Show.  Which pattern do you think will produce the most fish in 2013?  Tune in at the end of the summer to find out.

I actually don't have any in these patterns.

Newest addition to the arsenal.

The Ultimate Fishing Show

6 01 2013

In the words of Mr. Incredible…….”It’s Showtime”.

Winter is a tough time for a soft water walleye fisherman.  Not a whole lot to do except get things ready for the start of the next season.  One of the things I like to do to help pass the time (which seems like forever) is attend fishing shows.  The first one and probably the largest is The Ultimate fishing Show at the Suburban Showplace Center in Novi.  The Downriver Walleye Federation has a booth at this show every year and I volunteer to work the booth on Friday night (1/11/13) with my father every year.  It gives me a chance to catch up with fellow walleye fanatics and people I generally don’t see over the course of the year.  The other advantage to working the booth is that it gives me an opportunity to check out all the new gadgets that have come out.  You know, all those items I never knew existed but now that I have seen them I can’t live with out them.  The last few years I haven’t bought anything new but someone may just come up with the one lure that will work every time.

Yeah right !!

There are a couple of vendors that I do make a point of visiting.  The first one is the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association booth.  As part of their fund raising they sell Spike Spoons.  As I have stated earlier Spike is the only person around that makes and paints spoons suitable for handlining.  These spoons are becoming more and more difficult to find, especially in the style and color I want.  Because of that I make it a point to check out their booth, talk to some of the members and of course, buy some more spoons.  The second vendor I check out is D&B Fishing Products.  They are a local supplier of mostly spoons, blades, blades, more spoons and the occasional custom painted Rapala.  They also carry a few Spikes Spoons and usually in some hard to find patterns.  They also carry a lot of other products for the open water fishermen but for the river handliner all I am interested in is the spoons.

There are a lot of other things to see at this show besides the couple of vendors I talked about.  Fishing tackle, seminars, trips, boats and just about every new little gizmo known to man.  I check it all out when I’m not at the DWF booth talking fishing.  Some years I spend more time there then I do wandering around.  Depends on the crowds and how many volunteers we have.  I think one year it was just my friend and DWF booth Organizer Jerry and myself.  Usually we have more than enough help which gives me more time to wander aimlessly down the aisles.  It helps to fend off the winter blah’s and make plans for the coming season.  It’s not the same as being on the river but it sure helps.