Being a fishing guide first and photographer second, being part of somebodiesbiggest trout ever is always something special. First to be there and walk them through the experience of the the fish you can hear but just can’t see. Helping them locate what log the fish is sitting near, how to wade into location, how to make the cast, how to mend the fly, and what to do if the fish eats your fly. As a fly fishing caddy, helping the angler choose the correct angle like a pro golfer working with his caddy before a really important putt on a difficult green.
Had a pretty impressive damsel fly hatch yesterday, when you slow down and watch these are pretty amazing bugs. Have you have watched a damsel destroy a sulphur, eating the helpless yellow mayfly whole! Usually leaving just the wings of the yellow mayfly behind.
The michigan hex hatch is like so many great things, it’s so hard to predict and just when you think you have it figured out. She will throw you a curve ball. Knowing different hex flats, and understanding which ones hex should pop from first is part of the game, and the information that we hold dear.
Had the opportunity to film and photograph Ed McCoy today on the Grand Traverse Bay for the big boy carp that swim the waters of the great lakes. Working with Chuck Hawkins and Ed we are trying to put together a short 2-3 minute carp fishing video. So I shot a couple hundred pictures and minutes of film so that we can develop a carp video for the hawkins website. Look for it soon. Hope it turns out, if not I guess I’ll have to go shoot more footage, the things I must do!
Warmer days have really kicked in the dry fly fishing the past three or four days! Is there a better way to catch a trout than with a Dry Fly? Watching a trout no matter what size come up and taking a dry fly is such a special part of fly fishing. With May and June being the prime time months here in the state of Michigan to get your full enjoyment of the dry fly season.
For the next 6 weeks look for the best dry fly fishing of the season. I am working on trying to get that perfect shot of a trout eating a bug. Never did relize how much work it was going to be. Almost had it last night on video, working with zoomed in shots with a tripod in low light, and a unstable platform (by boat) is not that easy. But I love the challenge an I look forward to the next evenings spinner fall.
Enjoying our lunch riverside we had one of my favorite bugs join us, the Giant Stone fly. Or Pteronarcys dorsata , better wise known as the Salmon Fly. I think most people only think this is a western bug, but here in Michigan we do have a pretty big hatch, you just have to know where to look. Also you have to know how to fish the bugger. But when you figure it out, as I’ve mentioned before, be ready. The strikes are some of the best in the game for dry fly fishing. The Salmon fly will continue to hatch sporadically over the next month. Triggering some of the best dry fly fishing of the year!
Spring is a great time of year to reconnect with the outdoors, after spending most of Oct – April on the same sections of water looking for my friendly little steelhead, I am now on the hunt for the mighty brown trout. This past Saturday marked the opening of all waters in Michigan to trout fishing, giving me the chance to see some of best water Michigan has to offer. While floating down the river of the Manistee, I saw a small stream that I did not remember flowing from the bank. The countless times I had floated by this area, I never knew the beavers had been working so hard. The little pond I was about to find, would give this float even more intrigue. The question’s I had to ask, are there brook trout or brown trout already in this pond? Why did the beavers build a pond here? How many people do I share this information with? How long will it take for the pond to hold trout? How many people already know about his little gem? I totally have to come back in the evening to see if trout are rising!
I do find it interesting the relationship between aquatic insects and wild flowers. How certain bugs and certain flowers appear at the same time year in and year out. The Black Caddis and the Trillium share this relationship. Trillium grandiflorum is often the first wildflower noticed by casual walkers; other spring wildflowers are much less apparent. ie the Trout Lilly (a very small yellow wildflower that is one of the first to bloom). Black caddis on the other hand are a smaller aquatic insect, and get far less coverage than the bigger Hendrickson. Black caddis usually range from size 16 to 18. With the females being the larger and also carrying around a little green egg sack.
There is something special about holding onto a very big fish and feeling the power of the fish as it swims away. Working with Chuck Hawkins today, on a two boat streamer trip on the Manistee River. I had the chance to photograph Chuck as he let this 21″ brown go. The experience of catching and then releasing these magnificent fish is something that I hold dear. As I spend close to 200 days guiding individuals through out the state of Michigan, one of my favorite every day experiences is to hold and watch our catch swim away to be caught again another day. The couple seconds that I take to look over steelhead, trout, or salmon before release is my personal “QT”, the quick bond before they swim to the depths.
With my first ever Mangled Fly Media (MFM) post I talked about the big bad stone-fly that will start showing in early May until mid June. I talked about the stone-fly being the first real big bug of the year. Big meaning size wise.