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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Christmas Wish List

18 12 2013

From what I have been told I am impossible to shop for.  How difficult can it be?  I am an outdoorsman, there should be plenty of options out there.  Problem is I am not a “mainstream” sportsman.  My whole life does not revolve around Whitetails or Largemouth Bass and it seems that all products are geared towards those two species.  Just turn on the TV to the Sportsman channels and you will get  steady diet of deer and bass.  My needs are a little more speciaialized and I am very particular about the equipment I use. 

Item #1

Now those who know me would probably expect this to be a butt load of Rapala’s.  Thruth is those that know me know I already have a butt load of Rapala’s and I really don’t need anymore (yeah right).  Actually, what I need is something to get me through those winter months when the ramps are iced up and I can’t launch my boat.  This year I am going to try Steelhead fishing.  Yeah you read that right, Steelhead.  I already have all the accessories, all I need is a rod.  This of course will have to be left up to me because no one in my family has any clue as to what the difference is bewteen one fishing rod or another.  I can already picture my sister in law picking out an Ugly Stick and a Zebco 404 reel to go with it. Not even close.  After the Christmas rush is over I’ll take a drive up to Andy’s Tackle and pick out one to my liking. 

Item #2

This isn’t something I really don’t need but it would be nice to have.  Problem is once you buy one it is already obsolete and the newer version is already in production.  I could really use a new Depthfinder/GPS for my boat.  Something in color of course and it doesn’t have to be in HD though I’m sure if I cave in and buy one I will go all out.  My current graph is an old B/W Eagle and while it works I never really know if that grey blob is a fish or just junk.  A color one will help.  Then again I wonder what the point is, I always fish the same areas and if I don’t catch fish in one area I move on to the next.  If I was fishing the lake a lot I would already have one but my river spots don’t change much.

Item #3

Speaking of river spots its time to re-visit my Canadian ones.  Last summer in the Channel was rough and they were hammering away at the walleye in Amherstburg like thay always seem to do.  I didn’t buy a CDN license in 2013 because I did so well in 2012 in US waters that I didn’t feel the need.  Big Mistake!!

Item #4

Last but not least I have one more item I want and it isn’t fishing related.  I want a new .22 rifle for squirrel hunting.  Though there is nothing wrong with my old Marlin Model 60 I am seeing the need for a clip fed rifle and a more powerful scope.  My eyes aren’t what they used to be and trying to put the crosshairs on the noggin of a squirrel is getting to be more and more difficult.  Granted getting a new scope would be a cheaper alternative but I want a rifle that can shoot squirrles out to 50 yards and shoot any type of .22 ammo I feed it.  My current rifle is a tube fed semi-auto and while it is fun to shoot it can be tempermental.  I may not be able to squeeze off many quick shots with a bolt action but I will be able to shoot all the boxes of sub sonic .22 ammo that I have right now.  With the current shortages of ammo, having a rifle that can shoot just about anything I can find is a definite plus. 

Well there it is, my wish list for this Christmas.  What’s on your list this year?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Mark Schaller





River Scout Part One

5 08 2013

 

Several months back I received an email from the Huron River Watership Council.  They were looking for volunteers for a new program they were starting up, River Scouts.  The council members are trying to collect data on the hundreds of miles of creeks and tributaries that feed into the Huron River.  Since funds are tight for this kind of field work they need volunteers.  I volunteered.

I had to attend a training meeting to find out what this was all about.  I was going to be part of a 5 person team (I have to say person because I was the only male, sometimes it’s good to be me) that was assigned to Wood Creek.  This little stream is located in Lower Huron Metro Park.  My team and I would be making 3 visits throughout the summer to take readings, pictures, clean up garbage and record any observations concerning wildlife or any aquatic critters.  Seems simple right?  Oh was I in for a surprise.

Since we are all volunteers we are doing this out of the kindness of our hearts.  If other things come up then our volunteer work will have to wait.  Such is the case with this.  Trying to schedule a time when all five of us would be available was next to impossible.  Throw in the fact that the June of 2013 received almost twice as much rain as we normally do and you can see what I was up against.  Eventually I just said to heck with everyone’s schedule and just picked a date.  July 4th.

I sent out the email stating the date and only one person showed up, Erin.  That’s okay, for what we needed to do I figured one person would be enough.  I was more worried about the water levels anyway.  The prior weekend the levels were about 4 feet above normal and made wading the stream hazardous.  I had stopped by on July 2nd to see what the level was like and it had dropped some.  My fingers were crossed that a few more days and no rain would finally allow me to do the initial testing.  Erin arrived shortly after I did and we packed up the gear and headed to the stream.  The water level was back down to normal so we waded in.  After one step I remembered that I never fixed the leak in my hip boots.  Erin just waded in with what she was wearing.  She soon found out that all natural insect repellant doesn’t work worth a damn.  They attacked her in swarms.  For some strange reason they left me alone, not that I was complaining.

Part of our work is to take temperature and water conductivity readings.  The meter they gave me takes both temperatures and measures the ions in the stream.  Anything under a reading of 2 means the water is clean and healthy.  We had to take a reading every 30 feet and mark it with GPS coordinates as well.  All of our reading were around 20 degrees Celsius (or 68 Degrees Fahrenheit) and a conductivity reading of .80.  All seems good.  The stream itself had a gravel bottom the whole length we checked.  A good sign for all those Steelheaders.  A member of the HRWC told me that they have had reports of steelhead fingerlings this far up the Huron so this may be a viable spawning area for them.

Another part of our job was to take pictures of the surrounding vegetation and make notes of any aquatic or land based wildlife.  Didn’t see any critters but I did see lots of baitfish in the stream.  As far as insects go there were a lot of damsel flies and of course about a gazillion mosquitoes. Because of this and the total failure of Erin’s all natural repellant we hurried through our sampling and got off the stream in a hurry.  She was a little annoyed that I never got bit.  Like I said before, sometimes it’s good to be me.  She was a good sport about it thought and offered to enter all our data in to the spreadsheet we were given.  I told her I would go through the pictures and add them alter when she was done.

Mission Accomplished, now all I had to do was try and schedule future visits with the rest of the team.

I’m not too optimistic about this.

Up Next, Creek Walk #2 and my Advanced Warning System.

Wood Creek (1) Wood Creek (2)