The Alley, Part II

11 12 2017

Definitely an anti-social type…..

Oddball, Kelly’s Heroes, 1970

Fishing in a Winter Wonderland


This past Saturday (12/9) I was headed east, back to The Alley.  Originally this was supposed to be a weekend trip for about seven other fellow steelheaders.  Unfortunately people backed out because of various reasons.  One other person was supposed to meet me in the morning but some last minutes issues with the lights for his boat trailer prevented that.  Therefore it was just me, driving down the 80/90 interstate at 6:00am.  No big deal, I’m definitely an anti-social type anyways.

A lack of rain the last few weeks was going to limit the number of rivers that I could swing a fly on.  As it would turn out, icy slush was going to prove to be a bigger problem throughout the day.  Just about every place I stopped it was the same story, lots of slushy ice flowing downstream.  I started upstream at one access point and worked my way downstream all day long.  Most of the time I never saw another angler, the places I did it was the same scenario.  Thirty casts for every one that was a decent drift.  Not exactly the most productive way to catch a fish.  Still I trudged on and made the best of it.  I did manage to mark a lot of access points on my phone for future reference.  That is one of the great things about the rivers along The Alley, ease of access.  The rivers run through a lot of metro parks so all one has to do is find them, park and start fishing.  Some are right on the river, others require a bit of a hike.  Those are the ones I was looking for since I am a bit of an anti-social type when it comes to fishing.  Even then there is no guarantee that I will be alone.  I’m not the only die-hard out there.

Though I didn’t catch any fish I did find some some really scenic areas.  One spot in particular was really surprising.  I was standing at a viewing area overlooking a large marsh.  I was just thinking to myself how it would be a great area to sit and snipe a deer or coyote, providing it was legal.  I’m sure the home owners across the street would frown on that.  As I stood there takingin the view I happened to catch some movement in the cat tails and out walked this large coyote.  He wasn’t more than 200 yards from a major road and homes but there he was, trotting along like he didn’t care.

After that stop I checked out one more area which I had already planned on making my last stop of the day.  I just figured it would be around 5 pm, not 2.  I got out to check it out but it was more of the same, low water and slush.  I talked to one other steelheader (bagger) and he said he got one but he had been at it all morning and trying to get a decent drift in between all the ice flows was damn near impossible.  After I finished checking out the area I stripped off my waders, put on some jeans and headed back home.  I’ll try another day.

Next up, The AuSable.



A Year in a Life – April

7 04 2014
Lake St. Clair Ice as of 4/6.  A good East wind and some rain should push that downstream.

Lake St. Clair Ice as of 4/6. A good East wind and some rain should push that downstream.












It’s getting closer…..

This is the worst time of the year for an open water walleye fisherman. Actually, any open water fisherman who lives in a northern state, especially after this winter. The ice is finally breaking up and open water is more of the norm. Granted there is still a lot of ice farther north but in my little part of the world the end is in sight. I can now safely start to make plans on when I can go out without having to worry about a stray ice berg pushing me down to Cleveland.

Now that the weather is warm enough I have more of a desire to go in the garage and get the boat ready. I am going to have a Coast Guard auxiliary perform a safety inspection so I have to make sure I have everything. I always do but I don’t want to waste his time if the boat isn’t ready. Have to make a minor wiring repair and get the electronics put back in. Need to check the flares to make sure they haven’t expired and put my signaling device (A Big Whistle) back in arms reach. Life jackets, cushions, paddle, license, registration, first aid kit and the tool kit all need to go back in their usual place. Once that is done my numerous boxes of stick baits will go next. Of course I have already inspected them and replaced all the broken lips and bad hooks (Yeah Right). After that it’s on to the trailer lights and greasing the hubs. If all goes well this shouldn’t take too long. It is supposed to get up in to the 60’s later this week so hopefully I can get it all done in one evening. As much as I want to get out I know it’s still early. Water temps are still in the mid 30’s and the fish that are in the river are pretty lethargic. For me the old saying “A Bad Day Fishing is Still Better Then a Good Day at Work” may be true but I don’t want to spend my day off freezing my butt off to catch nothing. I’m shooting for Easter weekend. A fair number of boats have been out but their success has been sporadic. A few fish here and there, nothing to get excited about though this is the time to get that wall hanger. Glad I got over that.

Soon my life will be back to normal. My days at work will be spent completing tax forms and checking weather reports to see what night will be best to go. Weekends will no longer be for sleeping in. Alarm clocks will go off at 5:00 am so I can get out before the other 1,000 boats do. Evening fishing trips will be well after work when everyone else will be coming in, unless of course east winds have muddied things up. If that happens it will be a strictly daytime fishing scenario. Thankfully I have a lot of vacation time. Unfortunately I will be in San Antonio Texas for the last week of April. Doesn’t matter though, the end is near. I will have the next 6 or 7 months to fill my freezer as much as I want. I just need to get through these last couple of weeks.