14 inches of Heavy Snow

March 3rd brought us the biggest snow storm of the winter season.  14 inches of wet heavy snow.  While digging out the drive way the hard working men and women of Benzie  County came to clear the roads for safe travel.

Silver Fin Picture of the Day

March 2nd a great day of steelhead fishing today with Terry L.  We had a very nice mixture of chrome and winter fish.  Had a second to snap a fin picture from one of our adult fish today.  Spring steelhead fishing is really picking up and had some cancellations open up the calendar, feel free to contact me for open dates.

POD – Something Different

Feb 28th Picture of the Day is Something Different.

Have always liked the chase different stuff with the fly, yesterday marked the first day of the spring time northern hunt.  As ice out occurs many different species will come into the shallow waters.  Northerns are one of those species.  Yesterday marked the first test day of spring type fishing.

michigan pike fishing

POD – Mastermind behind the Audio

Feb 23rd POD was shot this week.  As Erik Rambo does his thing with the Audio and Video on our latest project.  More coming soon.

Picture of the Day Feb 9th, 2012

Going to try and do this more often.  Publish pictures from the days on the water.

Feb 9th 2012 was a bright blue bird sunny day, and hunting any type of wildlife or fish was a little more difficult.  Did have two red-shoulder hawks flying near by but just out of 400mm.  But here is a pic using the bright sun as a back drop on a silver rainbow trout’s tail fin.

Using Ice to Learn more about Trout

Russ Maddin showing me the way on the ice

So January and February are for the most part a michigan fishing guides off season.  Besides breaking down the rivers and learning new spots for the up coming spring run, or tying a couple hundred more flies.  I’ll try to venture out on the ice a few times a season on the vast amount of inland lakes.  Living in northern michigan, more lakes than I previously thought are stocked with trout.  I have to be honest, I am way more adept at reading a river than I am a lake.  But with the use of a couple maps and a Vexliar  getting my bearings on the breaks and drop-offs is not that hard.  Also with the added benefits of having a good friend and ice fishing master in Russ Maddin showing you a couple hot spots helps too.
The key reason for venturing out on the ice this time of year is to have those bearings for when the ice out occurs.  As you can argue my next point all you want, but it’s the honest truth.  If you are a big trout chaser, the biggest brown, rainbow, or laker trout are going to come from a lake.  This light-bulb was turned on after reading Bernie Taylor’s book 5 years ago.  Example is the world record brown trout caught a few years ago from the Manistee River.  This was not a river trout, it was a lake-run brown that ventured up the river.  Big trout meaning trout over 10 pounds, get big in a lake not a river.   Trout that live in a lake can eat and be lazy, while a river trout has to keep battling current.
With so many inland lakes being stocked with trout (browns, rainbows, and lake trout) the fly angler has a great opportunity to target these trout in the spring after ice out.  All three species are going to be looking for that warmer water in the spring, and most days this warmer water is shallow.  Perfect for the fly angler! Thermal warming from the sun brings the bait-fish shallow, and if you can find the bait-fish you will find the predator’s that hunt them.
Now how I use the ice, is when you can’t find these trout shallow, you have to know where to find them when they go deep.  Just like in a river their are certain hunting grounds that hold fish.  Being able to find these hunting grounds with a foot of ice underneath you will give you a head start for the upcoming spring melt.  Michigan anglers have so many opportunities, getting out and finding them is the fun part.

Inland lake brown caught on a smelt pattern

Brook Trout Fall Colors

Amazing colors from a brook trout from the Upper Manistee River, late summer and early fall are some of the best times of year for fishing and for photography. This brook trout was on full display. I can’t wait for the coming weeks as news of a couple steelhead are around, and fall browns start to show off their yellows.

Hopper Time


I have my next project, and it is really one of my favorite hatches that occur in our area for trout. The grasshopper! Over the next couple weeks I’ll be accumulating footage for a short video with the star being the grasshopper. The main focus will be to show how this bug can pull up some dandy trout in the day light hours. Can’t wait to find more willing stars to shoot over the dog days of summer! For a personal plug for the guide business, I’ll be floating the pine, pere marquette, and manistee in search of trout willing to eat these tasty morsels. If you interested in booking a day contact me, plenty of open days to choose from. Enjoy and make sure to come back and see the finished video, hope to have it up in mid August. Contact me via email jray@hawkinsflyfishing.comor 231.631.5701

Tight Lines,
Jon Ray