Monday, November 14, 2011

Michigan Steel!!

Last weekend, Dad and I made our annual fall trip to northwestern Michigan tribs.  Western Michigan received significant rain fall at the beginning of last week and we didn't know whether the rain would be beneficial or a problem - the rain was beneficial.  The river we fished looked beautiful.

We went into the weekend set on swinging up some fresh steelhead that came in with the higher flows. Saturday morning the water looked great but seemed cold.  Saturday morning marked the end of a brief cold front.  And like the temperatures, the fishing needed some time to heat up.  Nevertheless, we persevered and picked up a great buck and a hooked another.  Also, we got a couple of nice brown trout,one which was caught on the swing.  However, despite the favorable looking water conditions, we had to deal with lots of people and, in the afternoon, high, warm, blue-bird skies - not your best steelhead conditions.

To our benefit, Saturday night stayed warm.  On Sunday, we got to the water well before sunrise (still weren't the first boat at the launch) and started to hit the swinging runs.  The air and water temperatures were warm (the water ticked up a couple degrees over night).  Thankfully, the skies were overcast - conditions seemed promising.  Then, as my juicy leech pattern started swinging through a sweet little run I felt a bump, followed by another, then a weighty pull.  I waited to set the hook (unlike usual) and when I lifted the rod and a big dime bright-hen freaked out.  My personal best on the swing (see below).

Dad followed suit with another beautiful hen and decided why stop there? A hole or two later - wham! A hot buck crushed him on the swing and took off down stream causing all of us to give chase.

That Sunday we went 3 for 3 on the swing.  On that river you can't expect much more and with steelies the hook/land ratio is more than can be expected.

As always, Jeff Hubbard of Outfitters North worked hard for us, put us on fish (in less than favorable conditions at times) and taught us a few things that made us better fishermen.  I, being relatively new to the spey game, am totally captivated by the casting (and the flies).  Jeff reminded me that spey casting is just a piece of spey fishing.  While a perfect circle-c with a sweet loop is something to strive for, this fishing is all about the swing - if a simple roll cast will set you up for a perfect swing then a simple roll cast is the cast to make.  Better yet, he clued us in on how to read a run and and set up a proper swing, which is all about positioning.  And, as always, he was right.  See the results below.

1 comment:

  1. A good trip indeed. Well done. I've had a good fall so far so my mind hasn't been thinking about going too far. Glad to see the bite is good elsewhere.