St. Mary’s River

14 11 2017

Weekend number 2 of my quest found me back up at the St. Mary’s River in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Canada.  Last week I got a message from Rod Trudel, owner of the On The Fly Fishing Company,  telling me that the Steelhead were in.  I made plans to arrive Saturday morning (11/11) and of course the weather took a turn on me.  Temps in the teens and snow were what was waiting for me on my arrival.  As I pulled into the parking lot Saturday morning I was surprised to see that no one else was there.  Again I wondered if there was something going on that I did not know about.  I suited  up and about 20 minutes later I was headed to the water.  Once I got there I soon found out why I was the only one there.  The wind was straight out of the south and in my face.  It never even occurred to check the wind direction.  I never really checked to see which way the river ran either.  I just figured that with it coming out of Lake Superior and into Lake Huron that the river ran from north to south.  Actually, the bridge does but the river itself runs from west to east.  That meant the 15 mph from the South was coming off the water and in my face.  Needless to say casting into this wind was pointless.  My forward cast would end up in a big ball 10 feet out in front of me.  Even though I was casting a 600 grain Skagit head with a 13-6 Sage rod I just couldn’t muscle it through.  The gates were still open as well so wading across was pretty much out of the question for me.  Around 11 am I just gave up and headed for the hotel room.  The wind was supposed to die down to nothing over night so I would try again in the morning.  The highlight of my morning was another otter that swam by me and stood up on a rock and stared at me for a bit.  Of course I didn’t have enough sense to take a picture until after he dove back in.

The following morning I awoke to no wind a a fresh dusting of snow.  This time when I arrived at the parking lot I was not alone and when I got to the river 4 pinners were already camped out on the berm and fishing the area I was hoping I could fish.  No such luck.  They pretty much covered that whole side of the rapids.  I sometimes wonder if they have GPS trackers in their floats for the amount of distance they let them travel.  I stayed on the other side and worked a few seams and holes but it was to no avail.  I watched them hook up about half a dozen times and land a few fish.  All I managed to do was wash a few flies.  At least my casting is getting a lot better.

After a few hours I packed it in and headed for home.  I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me and my nephew’s birthday was at 4:00 pm.  Not that he would really notice if I was there but the rest of the family would.  I hate family obligation pressure.

Next up, back to The Huron River, or maybe the Detroit River since my Mom told me she is out of walleye again.

My Fly Drying rack and not my Fly that caught a fish rack.

The otter swimming away instead of the otter standing on the rock picture.

 

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An Observation

22 03 2015

Tug is the Drug

I spent the better part of this past weekend helping my friends out at their gun show.  Dean and Barry have been putting on this show a couple times a year for quite some time now.  I usually sit at the front and collect the fees and check the firearms coming in that people are trying to sell.  It can be fun but it can also be a drain.  Sitting there for 7 hours and answering the same question over and over can really wear on you.  Once the show ended at 5 I thought I would go down to the lower Huron river and practice my swing casting some more.  I am heading up to Oscoda next weekend to work on my boat and get a little steelhead time in.  I wasn’t expecting to catch anything, I just needed to practice and de-compress a bit.

I walked around for a bit before I got set up and checked the water levels and to see if anyone was catching anything.  I wanted to try a specific spot so I walked there first.  On my way I saw another fly fisherman in the stream spey casting as well.  I watched for a bit, checking to see how he was handling the faster current.  After a few minutes I continued on and saw the spot I wanted to fish was open so I went back to get rigged up.

I put on my Orvis waders and Simms boots.  Next I rigged up my Ross Reach Rod and Ross Reel.  Now this may look like a shameless plug but I need to mention this so I can make my point.  I pulled one fly out of my box and made my way back downstream.  As I was walking by I was getting peculiar looks from the people fishing.  The same people that paid no attention to me before were now staring at me.

What changed?

I thought for a second and then realized what it was.  I had transformed into the embodiment of something I swore I would never become.  A walking billboard for Orvis and everything that I thought was wrong with fly fishing.  Fishermen that are more concerned with appearance than actually fishing.  I hadn’t changed but now I was on the other end of the stares.  I remember my first time ever steelhead fishing on the lower Huron 30 years ago.  I was the kid with the spinning rod not knowing what he was doing, being judged by the “pro’s” that knew what they were doing.  I remember looking at those guys with contempt as they fished with all their “fancy” gear while all I had was my Ugly Stick.  Now 30 years later it is the other way around.  I’m the “fancy snob” and they were the every day Joe fisherman.  Again, what changed?  I’m still the same person but because I wasn’t fishing the same way everyone else was I was now that walking billboard I swore I would never become.  I blew it off and went about my business.  I waded in and started my casting.  The current was faster than what I have been on so far but I was able to figure it out and actually get some distance with my roll casts.  I also learned a few things about reading the water and getting the drift right.  After about half an hour I was headed back to my car.  Again I got the stares and they were probably thinking, “Oh look, Mister Big Shot with his fancy rod didn’t get anything either”.  Whatever.

Before I left I walked upstream towards the dam to check things out.  There was one guy floating spawn so I asked him if he caught anything.  I got a resounding “NO”.  What the hell?  Do I have a big sign on me that says I’m a jerk, don’t talk to me?  When did it get like this?  When did fishing become so divided.  It’s fishing, a common bond amongst sportsmen and women.  I just don’t get it.  Granted you are going to have undesirable people in every type of outdoor activity but why here?  Fishing was supposed to be a common ground for all people.  We are all after the same thing, to feel that tug and watch that fish run.  It shouldn’t matter how we catch one whether it be by floating spawn, drifting a jig, back trolling a plug or swinging a fly.  It’s fishing, PERIOD.  I don’t know why it is like this and unfortunately I don’t know how to change it.  I know posting the cartoon doesn’t help the situation but I thought it was funny.  It helped to prove my point though.  People out there actually think this way.  People can fish any way they want as long as it is legal.  End of Story.

Off my soapbox now.

Back to the vise, sculpin patterns today.