XL Steelhead

2018 XL Steelhead

XL Steelhead

I like to think of the steelhead season like a hockey game.  It has three periods to the game, that last a total of 6-7 months.  Period one is the Fall-Run, then Winter Steelhead, and the final period is Spring Steelhead. In the first period of this game, the Fall Run  we have had some XL sized Steelhead show up.  In my personal experience fishing the Manistee River, we had some epic battles with steelhead.  These battle would make your cry on one hand, and almost laugh on another.  The pure strength , speed, and power of these fish left my anglers helpless, and these XL steelhead finished them off so quickly that we didn’t even know what happened.  I relate this too a UFC Fight.  Round 1 first 10 sec TKO.

Steelhead Guides

But two of my fellow Steelhead Guides had the opportunity of landing two extremely large steelhead.  Fellow Guides and Scott Fly Rod Pro’s. Kevin Feenstra and Brad Petzke shared these images and my mouth dropped.  Kevin’s fish came from the Muskegon River on a swung fly.  One of his Halloween Leech patterns.  (FYI now available commercially for sale)

XL Steelhead

20 pound Steelhead caught on the Muskegon River

The second fish of XL size was shared by Brad Petzke who guides the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, less is known about this fish as Brad works really hard to find steelhead hot spots so we are going to respect that and provide no additional details. But if your looking to fish the UP you have to give Brad a call.  I’m not sure if this steelhead was eating baitfish out of the Great Lakes, or Big Macs at McDonalds.  The girth on this fish is very impressive.  Great job Brad and thank you for sharing.

XL Steelhead

Amazing Steelhead from the UP in Michigan

Second Period

I look forward to the second period as winter steelhead fishing probably provides one of the best opportunities to land a XL Steelhead.  With water temps dropping these big Boyz don’t have full speed anymore.  Still have plenty of power to pull us all into deep timber but, the best chance to land a XL is starting now.  Stay tuned hopefully for more XL Steelhead pics to come.

spring steelhead

Catch and Release Steelhead – Pic of the Day

Pic of the Day – 2018 Fall Steelhead Run

The 2018 Fall Steelhead run has begun, so far size of the fish is very impressive.  Looking forward to the next 2 months.  Make sure to check out the fishing reports for the Manistee River and the Muskegon River for more pictures and updated information.  Hope to see you out there, have a great fall.

 

sculpins kevin Feenstra

Gobies–Everything Eats ‘Em

Over a decade ago, zebra mussels invaded our rivers, and left a trail of destruction in our Great Lakes and their tributaries, altering the resource.    In their wake, something that preys on these mussels also arrived, the round goby.    Round gobies are an invasive species, and as such they squeeze out native fish.   However, they have become a food source in any river attached to the Great Lakes.   In some of the bigger rivers, such as the Muskegon and Manistee, they have become a primary food source.

Fly anglers should take advantage of the presence of this bait fish!    They are most commonly a sandy tan, and can be found just about anywhere.  They are most commonly found in areas with high concentrations of the mussels (especially in proximity to dams).    You can fish them with a sink tip or with an indicator, they work well either way.

I most commonly use them for smallmouth bass and for steelhead in a sandy tan.

Don’t hesitate to try them in an inky black, as the males will carry this color through the late winter and through the summer as they breed.    They can naturally be quite large, and can grow up to 10 inches in length.   Check out how big this one is; it is being consumed by a merganser:

Like so many invasive species, gobies have worked their way into our food chain, and will probably be here indefinitely.    Even the snakes eat them!

As far as invasives go, these are useful ones.  Add some gobies to your fly box; big things love to eat them!

Thanks for looking!

Kevin Feenstra

 

 

 

 

Scott fly rods

Review of Two Handed Rods, the Scott Radian 1257 and the Scott Radian 1259

Scott Fly Rod, Two-Hand Review

I just wanted to share my personal experiences with two of Scott’s flagship two handed rods, the Radian 1257 and the Radian 1259.

A while back, we reviewed the 1308 Radian, and were very pleased with it as a great big river rod. The Radian 1257 is a 12’6″ 7 weight rod. Many of the 7 weight two handed rods that you might cast that are on the light side. You would not consider them as a primary rod for big rivers like the Muskegon or the Manistee. However, the 1257 has some nice horsepower, and can elegantly cast a 480 grain skagit head with 8-10 feet of t14 (Note that the recommended Skagit with this rod is 520 but given the tips I use, I prefer 480). This will cover a lot of the scenarios encountered on our river systems.

Because of its light weight and sensitivity, I find myself using this rod to fish the edges of the river in the winter months. Fishing in the winter in this manner requires a rod with a lot of tactile feel because you are mending the line, allowing the fly to get to the bottom, and then engaging it. In a nutshell, this rod is very sensitive and is a pleasure to use for this purpose. Furthermore, because the edges of the river often contain trout as well as steelhead, using the lighter rod keeps things fun for me and my clients. This rod is capable of long casts, but I find myself using it in close. When fighting a fish, it protects tippets well.

Though I have only used it for swinging, I could see this as a good indicator rod. If you do not want the added weight of an 8 or 9 weight, this 7 weight can handle most situations you will encounter on medium to large rivers in the Great Lakes region. It is a very sweet rod indeed.

Scott Radian 1259

Now let’s talk about the Radian 1259. As you can imagine, it is a totally different beast than the 1257. This rod is very stiff and very powerful. This is a new rod in Scott’s Radian lineup, and as such, I have been using it for a couple of months. During those months, I have put it through its paces. For my purposes, this rod is best for down and dirty fishing at short to medium range. This is not a rod for everyone, and does not have the agile feeling of the 1257 or the 1308 Radian. Typically, I use this rod with a 560 or 600 grain Freightliner Intermediate Skagit, and a significant amount of T14 or a short and compressed head of T17 or T20. In this configuration, it makes easy work of casting a heavy line with a heavy fly. If I had to point out one drawback of this rod, it does not inspire as much confidence when fighting a quick moving steelhead. The rod is very stiff and those panicked head shakes are nerve wracking with this stick.

I see the best applications of this rod as specialty rod for big fish, big tips, heavy tippet, and big flies in relatively close quarters–steelhead in timber or big king salmon in coastal regions come to mind. For these applications, this rod is a gem. I could also see an application for this in surf fishing as it could shoot line well into wind and waves.

I hope you enjoyed this review. If you have any questions about Scott rods, please contact Scott pro staffers Kevin Feenstra or Jon Ray.

Thank you for reading! Tight Lines!

Kevin Feenstra

Swing Fly Trucker Hat

17 Pound Big Manistee River Steelhead

Congrats to Ed McCoy and his client Antoine on a very special steelhead.  A brute of a fish caught on the swing, 17 pounds of double strip Manistee River Steelhead.

migratory fish

12 pounds on 6 weight

steelhead

Small Creek Image – Pic of the Day

spring steelhead

Spring Chrome – Pic of the Day

costa fly fishing

Costa Fly Fishing – Pic of the Day

Costa Fly Fishing grabbed one of our images yesterday for their Instagram feed

Monday #puremichigan #steelhead from Costa pro @mangledfly. #seewhatsoutthere #flyfishing #underwater

A post shared by Costa Fly Fishing (@costaflyfishing) on