Double Digits on the Swing

Check out the slab that Ed McCoy scored on the swing with Steve from Gates AuSable Lodge.  Great Double digit size buck on a big nasty streamer.  Nice job guys!

Ed just updated the river reports page at Hawkins Site as well.

Anchored with April Vokey and Jerry Darkes

Check out the podcast with Jerry Darkes and April Vokey. http://www.aprilvokey.com/podcasts/

 

A photo posted by Jerry Darkes (@jerrydarkes) on

Under Water Steelhead – Pic of the Day

Kevin Feenstra shares his image of Drew Rosema holding a beautiful Great Lakes Steelhead.

 

ESL old standby

New and fancy patterns are always coming out, but sometimes going old school is the best policy.  The ESL is a standard pattern.  ESL stands for Egg Sucking Leech.  Yesterday we got on the board with a fresh steelhead up from the lake that very morning, if I had to guess.  On a orange headed black rabbit strip egg sucking leech.

 

The LRB and Steelhead Double

Getting a double header is a pretty unique experience, but something in the fall we actually do see with waves of curious steelhead pushing up the river and grabbing the first piece of food they see.  I love curious steelhead!  So getting a double header steelhead combo I would say is not a hard combination to come by.  But the Lake-Run Brown steelhead combo I’ver personally only had the chance to see twice here in Michigan.  I’m sure in other parts of the country the combo is more common.  But for us currently with a declining LRB population the past 10 years the opportunities are very rare.  Well last week (in the spring season no less) my clients Blake and Steve put a LRB / Steelhead combo in the net.  It true was a surprise.

lake-run brown steelhead doubleThe only other time I’ve had a chance to catch this combo is a day I will never forget.  With good friends and great guides Kevin Feenstra and Jeff Hubbard.  We were fishing on Kevin’s b-day when Jeff and I put these two great fish in the net while fishing streamers on the Muskegon River.  Photo below courtesy of Kevin Feenstra.

Jon Ray

streamer double header

Spirit River Swamp Rat Zonker

Found a new material from Spirit River at The Northern Angler in Traverse City to play with on these cold Northern MI days and nights. It’s called Swamp Rat Zonker strips(SRZ). This material comes in Natural, Hot Pink, King Fisher Blue, Orange and Purple. I have been experimenting with the blue and orange for steelhead tubes. There is a sexy translucency to the fur that makes it shimmer in and out of the water.
When the weather breaks I will put in some more on the water R&D, but I fished these flies on the Big River with Jon Ray and Erik Rambo back when the weather co-operated in January and had 2 grabs on the swing, so the fish seem to like them too!
These flies are kind of a hybrid of old school streamer and “scandi style” tubes with few little twists. The first twist is that the SRZ has a hole punched into it and then is slid onto the tube so that it stands up nicely against the hackles as opposed to being lashed down flat on the tube. The other technique is that the front collar(s) are the SRZ spun in a dubbing loop with the skin cut away. It is then picked out with a needle. Speaking of the skin, it’s very thin and holds very little water making these flies very easy to cast. The wing also undulates, shimmies and shakes very freely.
This material is perfect for substituting in any fly that uses rabbit strips- Zuddlers, strip leaches etc.
Happy tying!

Feelings we all share.

I have two favorite quotes from this film

  1. “It’s really up to the Salmon” – when fishing we try to come up with all these theories of how to catch more fish.  When we really get down to the basics of our theories it really does come down to the fish.  They control so much of our theories.
  2. “it’s like believing in God” – to be an Atlantic Salmon chaser or steelhead chaser you have to have belief, it has to be so strong that it just keeps pulling you back to the river over and over again.  Believing that your going to actually catch a fish, especially on a swung fly.

Watch this clip and look for these two quotes.  Great film with some unbelievable video work.  Love the helicopter effect that they pulled off.  Great job on this clip, really shows how fishing is universal.  Doesn’t matter where you are in the world.

a thousand theories from Rolf Nylinder on Vimeo.

Steelhead Blues

Not like the “blues” you are accustomed too, but blue flies.  Not sure why it is when the snow starts flying that blue works.  Actually I’m sure blue works just as well the rest of the year, but for me blue only comes out when the snow flies.  Today was the first day of steelhead “blues”.

IMG_0792