Father’s Day Mixed Bag Weekend.

22 06 2020

It’s not like I need a holiday for an excuse to go fishing.  I can pretty much go whenever I want, wherever I want.  I didn’t have anything planned with the kids anyways so off I went.

Knowing that the levels on The Huron River were still going to be low I decided to try out Pte. Mouille.  It had been awhile since I was out there last.  I took my 6 wt and 8 wt rods, the 6 wt was set up with an SA Sonar sink tip line and a Mini Game Changer fly.  The 8 wt was rigged with my standard carp fishing set up, floating line and one of my burnt orange OCD flies.  I made the journey out to my usual fishing spot along a very dry and dusty road.  That didn’t help my asthma much but at least it wasn’t windy.  Just unbearably hot and humid.  Water clarity was good up close but I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet out past the rocks.  These same rocks were covered in that slimy green moss and and weeds growing up in between them.  About 20 yards further out were even more weeds.  This would prove to be my undoing today.

As I worked my way along the road I would stop and make a couple of casts here and there with the game changer.  On my first stop I hooked a fish and to my surprise it was a bluegill.  I was not expecting this.  Maybe some smaller bass but not a gill.  They aren’t exactly known to chase down and grab 4 inch streamers.

As I worked my way down I spotted a pair of bowfin in close.  They were just lying about so I dropped my carp fly near them to see what would happen.  They really didn’t seem to care so I just moved on.  A few minutes later I spotted another one feeding so I snuck up and dropped the fly next to him.  I could see him move suddenly towards the fly so I lifted up and he was on.  I let him run and that was my first mistake.  Into the taller weeds he went and I couldn’t get him out of there.  Eventually he came off.  This scenario would repeat itself throughout the day.  I had two choices.  Fight the fish close among the rocks and hope the leader doesn’t get frayed and break or let him run and try and keep him out of the taller weeds.  Throughout the course of the day I would go through this 3 more times.  Twice on the carp fly and twice with the game changer.  I have to admit that watching a bowfin charge a streamer from 5 feet away and inhale it is pretty cool.  Watching him keep on going and into the weeds is not.

For the next few hours I continued to catch bass and even a small pike, my first for this area.

Eventually I started to head back but at a slower pace.  I was determined to land a bowfin so I was taking my time and watching for any movement.  Eventually I spotted the tail of another feeding bowfin.  I worked my way down to the shoreline and laid the fly on the downward slope of a rock he was feeding next to.  As the fly slid down he saw it and came up and grabbed it.  This time I kept the fish close and hoped for the best.  A few minutes later I was able to get a hold of him for a pic and then sent him on his way.

I must have see two dozen of these today, the most I had ever seen here.  I don’t know if they were in close to spawn or because the habitat is so weedy they prefer to be there now.  I’ll go back in a few weeks and find out.

The next morning I decided to stay close.  I probably logged about 4 or 5 miles the day before and I was still a little tired.  I headed back to The Huron and as expected, levels were still low and clear.  I saw carp at the first few spots but I couldn’t get any of them to cooperate.  The next place was more of the same.  Low clear water and no fish, at first.  Eventually I found them, multiple fish in the middle of the river casually feeding on the gravel.  I tried casting several different flies at them but they ignored everything.  While I was taking a break Jesse, from Schultz Outfitter’s (My local fly shop), showed up as well.  He was getting a few hours in before he had to go to work.  He started casting to the same carp I was seeing but to no avail.  While we talked I saw one moving in closer to shore.  I pointed him out to Jesse and let him take a crack at it.  A few minutes later I spotted another one moving in and he started feeding in the nearby shade of a tree.  I worked my way in, laid the fly down to his left and he spun around and ate it.  I set the hook and off he went.  With the tree in the way I jumped into the water to keep him under control.  I worked my way upstream where I could beach him and without hesitation Jesse waded in and landed him for me.  I quick pic later and he was on his way.

While Jesse and I talked another fish moved in and Jesse laid his fly out in front of him.  I watched the carp swim up and take it and Jesse drove the hook home.  I worked my way back into the water to return the favor but the leader busted before I ever got a chance to help out.  After that I told Jesse good luck, wished him a happy Father’s Day and headed home.  I had chores to get too and fresh waffles that my daughter was making for me.





Memorial Weekend Fishing.

26 05 2020

Two weeks ago we had snow and overnight freeze warnings.  This weekend we were flirting with record breaking highs.  On top of that central Michigan had a 500 year rain event (though no one knew Michigan existed except for the current residents back then and I doubt any of them had calendars) that caused several dam failures.  Lake front homes now became mud front homes and the lakes are gone.  My local river flooded out as well and several fields were still underwater.  With all that in mind I made my plans and went fishing.

Saturday

Knowing that the river was still blown out I decided to take a walk down to Pte. Mouille and try that area out.  I left early figuring there would be a fair amount of people.  I didn’t leave early enough, by the time I got there (around 7) the parking lot was practically full.  I grabbed my gear and started walking.  I took my G Loomis 6 wt and my Helios 2 7 wt.  The Loomis was rigged up with a floating line and a small nymph for gills.  The 7 had a Pearl Chenille Game Changer tied onto a Sinking line.  I figured I could cast for some Gills with one and Bass with the other.  If I saw any feeding carp I could quickly swap out flies.  Turns out I would never have too.  The water was so dark I couldn’t see any carp, just the occasional small bluegill or bass near the edge.  I made the best of it though and stuck to the game changer fly and blind casted here and there.  I managed a few Bass, no monsters but enough to keep me interested.  It was cool to cast that big white fly and then watch it disappear as a bass hit it.

After a few hours I headed back home checking out the sights and trying not to step on anything.

Lots of these guys around today.

Almost stepped on this little guy.

Around 7:30 pm I packed up the boat and headed to the Detroit River.  The fish that shall not be named had moved in so I took my fly rod along to play with before it got dark.  I used the same Game Changer fly and ended up catching about 30 of them before dark.  Around 9:30 pm I put the fly rod down and broke out the Rapalas.  An hour later I had 6 more walleye in the boat and I was headed for home.

Sunday

Knowing that Pte. Mouille was to dark to see I figured I go and check out The Huron and see just how much the water had gone down.  Water levels had receded some but a few fields were still flooded.  As I was walking along one of them I could see nervous water and signs of life.  Sure enough, several smaller carp were in the field cruising around and looking for breakfast.  I carefully waded in and waited until one got close enough to present my fly.  Eventually one did but I missed the hook set.  That sent him off back to the river along with the few he passed along the way.  I worked my way into the shadows of the trees and waited for another fish to come by.  I figured I could keep myself hidden better in the shade but it also proved to be my downfall.  I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and saw a carp swimming right at me along the bushes.  I carefully dropped the fly a few feet in front of him, waited for him to get close, gave it a twitch and once he picked it up I set the hook. He immediately took off through the bushes and back out into the river.  The leader snapped and that was that.  Now there is a carp swimming somewhere in The Huron River with my fly stuck in his mouth.  After that I left that area and went on to check a local pond.  I had never fished it before but I was curious to see if there were any carp in it.  When I arrived there were a few other people fishing and a lot of walkers and joggers.  I just grabbed the carp rod and starting walking the perimeter.  Much to my delight I started seeing carp cruising just out of range.  I made a few attempts but it was obvious these fish were on high alert from all the foot traffic.  I headed for home and decided I would come back the next morning ahead of the crowds.

Monday

I got up early and headed to the pond first thing.  As I hoped for no one else was there.  I grabbed the Loomis rod and worked my way to the edge of the pond.  I quickly spotted a silt cloud, something I haven’t seen it what has seemed like forever.  I waited until I could figure out which way he was headed.  Once I saw which way he was going I cast my fly past him by about 20 feet and then stripped the fly to his left by about a foot.  As it dropped into his field of view he moved on it and sucked it up.  I set the hook and off he went.  Since this was a pond and no trees or bushes to worry about I just let him run.  He wasn’t a big fish but it was my first one of they year so I was going to enjoy this.  After about 5 minutes I got him into shore, took a quick pic and sent him on his way.

First carp of the year and the first fish on my G Loomis X Pro.

After that I walked the perimeter of the pond again, saw a few fish, spooked most of them, didn’t catch anymore.  They look like they are getting ready to go into spawn mode.  After about an hour I headed back to the car.  I was going to just go home but it was still early so I figured I would head back The Huron and take another crack at that flooded field.  Much to my dismay the water had receded some more and that section of the field wasn’t holding as much water or any fish.  I moved on to another area that I figured might be flooded and sure enough, there were carp swimming around.  Once again I carefully waded in, spotted a lone carp, presented my fly, missed the hook set and sent him back to the river, along with the rest of the fish that were there.  Once they all spooked I walked towards the drainage ditch where they were coming in from.  I leaned up against a tree on the shaded side and waited.  I figured one would coming cruising back in soon.  With all the worms I saw on the paved trails I figured the carp were in the field feeding on them.  I switched flies to a black hybrid carp fly with a red chenille tail.  About 5 minutes later one lone fish came cruising in.  I placed the fly in his path and once he got close I gave it a twitch.  He figured he had an easy meal and pounced on it.  I set the hook and quickly cut off his escape route to the river.  He turned and headed out towards the field where I could keep him under control.  It was really something to see him speeding through the shallows, throwing a wake as he swam by. After a few minutes of chasing him down I was able to corral him and take a picture.  He swam back the way he came, no worse for wear.

After that I pretty much trashed the whole area so I just packed up and headed for home.  I wasn’t going to complain.  After almost two months of unpredictable weather I finally caught a few carp.  I got all summer to catch more.