One Last Crack

11 06 2018

A few days before Memorial Day weekend a friend of mine contacted me to tell me the Steelhead had just started moving into the St. Mary’s Rapid’s.  Of course he wanted me to come up then but family obligations prevented that.  He told me they should still be around well into June so I had time.  That would work because I was invited to a wedding at Carp Lake, MI on June 8th so I figured I could make the hour drive the next day while everyone else was sleeping off hangovers and doing the tourist thing at Mackinac City.

The next morning I was headed north at 4:30 am.  As expected the roads were empty, there wasn’t even any traffic on either of the bridges and I think I woke up the customs guard in Canada.  A little after 6:00 am I was suiting up and heading to the river.  As I drove over the bridge I could see that the water level was down and there was only one other person fishing.  So far so good.  I waded across and noticed the shadows of a few fish taking off in front of me.  I was feeling very optimistic at first but I soon realized that all of the shadows I was seeing were suckers, hundred’s of them.  My heart sank but I gave it my best shot anyways.  I swung flies for the next few hours without even so much as a bump.  At one point I though I had a take but when I brought the fly in I could see a small scale on the hook and figured I just scraped a sucker.  Around 10:00 am I put away the streamers and broke out one of my burnt orange carp flies.  By now there were about a dozen nymphers and pinners out drifting beads and egg flies.  I did see one nympher catch a bright skipper on an egg fly so I figured what the hell.  About 20 minutes later I saw a bow start in my line and I figured I was snagged.  I pulled in the line and lifted the rod and felt a strange shake.  Sure enough, I had a sucker on.  It didn’t take long for me to get him in, he didn’t have much of a chance against a 13 1/2 foot 8wt Spey rod.  I took a quick pic and then let him go.

Whistletrout

Shortly after that I headed in and just as I was about to climb out I spotted about 1/2 a dozen very dark Steelhead sitting on the end of a run.  I immediately started casting but they showed zero interest in what I was offering.

Story of my life.

After about 30 minutes I gave up.  I saw another fish caught by a pinner as I was walking out.  A dark male that hardly fought.  I took that as a sign that the fish didn’t care either.  I just chalked it up as another learning experience.  Four trips here and still no steelhead.  One of these days I will time it right and actually catch one.  Until then there is always Alaska.  As a matter of fact, 2 months from today will be the last day of my week long trip.  Better days are ahead.

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Walleye Relocation Excercise 5/9/14

11 05 2014

After the storms blew through I thought it would be considerate of me to relocate 5 walleye from their current location to my freezer. I figure that with the annual fish that shall not be named (hence forth known as them, they or any other disparaging remark I can think of) invasion starting up that there might be some walleye that want to get out while the gettin’s good.

Now let me start out by saying that I had no business being out on the river Friday night. I thought I could get a few hours in before the storms and I was wrong. I arrived at the ramp around 8:30 pm and the thunderstorms were just rolling in. I decided to wait it out and I spent time talking to another fisherman waiting out the rain. The rain didn’t last long but the south wind never quit. Around 10 we both headed out and that was a big mistake. Knowing the wind was coming out of the south and with it being so dark I had no idea just how rough it was and it was rough. I was getting bounced around a lot and I should have just turned around and went back in. My motives were sound, or so I thought. I figured with the unmentionables moving in and having to go out of town to help my parents I figured this was my only chance for a while. Let me just say that no walleye is worth my own safety, especially when fishing alone. Even though I stuck to the west side of the river to try and keep out of the SW wind it was poor judgment on my part to continue. If I had a line get wrapped in the prop and lose power I would have drifted right into the rough water and then I would have been in big trouble. Like I said, poor judgment. Lesson learned, I made it home ok but from now on I will use better judgment.

Ok, no more preaching. By just sticking to the west side of the river and staying out of the wind I was able to pick up 5 walleye. Because those other things are in I ran chrome pencil plugs to help keep those unintentional catches to a minimum.  It worked, only caught about 10 of them and managed to catch my limit of walleye. There are a lot of nice fish still in the river, we just have to contend with the silver invasion.

Be safe out there, we have a long season. No sense getting crazy.

5-9-14 TC