Dragon Rising

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While fishing Hardy Pond last week, I took a break on the edge of the impoundment. A fly fisherman always loves to see things emerge, and I witnessed one of the coolest things in nature seen in a while. A green darner nymph crawled out of the water onto a rock. As its skin parched in the sun, it suddenly split open and a very large dragon fly was born.

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When I showed an image to some friends, one commented that the dragon looked like “the paint on a new sports car”–this is good description.

Using the time lapse function on the camera, this video was made. It is a very short clip that shows in seconds what happened over the course of 45 minutes:

Kevin Feenstra

Scary Things

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There are’t too many creatures that are dangerous in West Michigan. However, I was visiting a nature web site and noticed that black widow spiders lived in my county. It said that they lived along wood piles and in attics, so I looked in these places around my house. When I came to a barn attic, I shined a flashlight into a crevice and saw a large spider with lustrous black legs and a brilliant red hourglass on its abdomen. These were the tell tale signs of a northern black widow, Latrodectus Variolus. It made me really nervous getting close enough to capture this image.
Terrifying
I can only think of one time on the river this spring when I felt this uneasy. I was trying to get a good picture of sea lamprey spawning. Suddenly, one affixed itself to the port of my underwater camera. The image above was created when the camera was turned skyward with the lamprey attached.

Sea lamprey are one of our original invasive species. They did tremendous damage to our native fish species such as lake trout. Though you may catch steelhead and salmon with lamprey hits on them, sea lampreys do not feed while they are in the river. One interesting thing that I have learned about them is that they die soon after spawning, just like salmon.

Kevin Feenstra

SA 2015 Catalog Cover Shot

Check out the new SA 2015 catalog and you might notice the cover shot. – http://www.scientificanglers.com/book/ – some really good information inside the catalog from Bruce Richards, Dave Karzynski, and Jeff Currier.  Check it out!  Plus the new lines that will be coming out in November are listed.  Can’t wait for the new Switch line, only a few more months and steelhead will be back.

Caught in the moment a Michigan brown trout jumping with a Nutcracker streamer in it's mouth.

A Predator’s Grocery Store

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When you spend a lot of time on a river, you begin to feel connected with it. You may start to look at the food sources in the river and start to learn the intricacies of their habitat. The location of these food sources is the grocery store of predator fish. These images reveal fish food in their homes. A wide angle lens was used to capture the food source and surrounding environment.

Most of my time is spent on the Muskegon River system. Though the trout fishing part of the river has very few hex mayflies, the impoundments and slow stretches of the river system has heavy hatches of hexes and other burrowing mayflies such as ephorons. This is especially true as you move upstream in the system into the impoundments. Predator fish such as the bass feed heavily on these insects, as do panfish and other fish species. Above is pictured a hex on on one of the ponds. In this environment, hexes will hatch well into the late summer months and are followed by the white flies.

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Sculpins, another common bait fish, prefer clusters of rocks and will seldom be found in individual rocks. This is a sculpin in its domain. Sculpins are home bodies. I will often find a sculpin in the same cluster of rocks day after day all year long. We become friends and then he gets eaten. That’s how it goes.

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Crayfish utilize all types of habitat, such as logs, concrete, weeds, gravel, and rocks. They will hang out in isolated pieces of cover. Many of the crayfish that we have in the tailwater stretches of our rivers are invasive rusty crayfish, such as the one pictured above. The fish eat them all the same.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Kevin Feenstra

Scientific Anglers Mastery Coastal Express – Product Review

In Michigan we are blessed with an endless supply of fresh water lakes and streams which translates into endless fishing opportunities.  This however, is both a blessing and a curse as you may encounter multiple water types and consequent challenges during a fishing trip.  Finding one line that can tackle most of our fishing situations on any given day is
nearly impossible. Most of our streams and lakes are featured by steep drop offs which makes it tough to properly present a streamer in most situations.  For most of the streamer fishing I do here in Michigan I need a line that I can cast easily all day long and one that can cut through the water surface tension quickly and achieve sustainable depths in swift
currents in a timely fashion. The other issue I find in our region is cold weather and cold water. Now you can make the argument that this is a good thing for our trout populations but these conditions can wreak havoc on the running lines found standard on most sink tips available today.  I will admit I have been frustrated for some time now with most of the lines available today as they love to twist and tangle when you shoot them to
your target often causing your cast to fall short and in a tangled up mess while your fly is sinking to the river floor, NOT GOOD! I was recently handed an SA 250 Coastal Express and immediately I fell in love with thisline. Wow, what can’t I say!  1. Immediately I was hitting my targets 15 – 20 Ft further per cast with the same amount of effort.  The slightly textured line instantly improves its castability at distance.  It loads quickly and shoots accurately with great fly turnover.  2. This line is designed to get down quickly and it does!  The sink tip has a thin diameter which allows it to sink quicker and to achieve greater depths. With a 28 to 30′ sink tip it sinks fast and keeps your fly at your desired depth for much longer throughout your retrieve which is an important part to our fly presentation.  3. Not only was I able to cast this line further and get my flies down quicker and deeper, this line was designed for cold weather and cold water and guess what, the tangle issues I was having with the other lines, well they were reduced to nearly nothing, notta, ninja!! This line has now found a permanent place on my spools and will remain at the top of my list until SA can improve upon the existing line or come up with a new one, but I can’t imagine how they can make it that much better.

Nice work guys, I can’t wait to see whats next!

Contact your local fly shop and pick up a Coastal Express if your in need of a new sink tip fly line.

Jumping Smallmouth – Pic of the Day

New Mangled Fly Sun Shirts – Coming Soon

Will be adding a couple new Clothing options to the online shopping cart very soon.  New A4 Cooling Performance Long Sleeve T’s.  If you fish with me you know I wear this type of material almost everyday.  They are 30 SPF for hot summer days, and a great under layer on those cooler fall mornings as well.  Contact me for pre-order, via email.

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