Beaver Ponds

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!

What is so great about the outdoors is that all my questions will be answered with time. This little pond I hope to watch grow, I hope to find a couple trout cruising around in it one day. And the best part for me, as I enjoy the journey of the great outdoors, is how many more little presents are around the next corner?

Trillium and Black Caddis are early this year!

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.

Up to yesterday not having seen either a Trillium in bloom or a Black Caddis in the air. As I rounded the second or third bend in our float I noticed on the bank a blooming Trillium. Just as the first robin of the year brings memories of spring to mind, so do these three-petaled flowers. No more than a couple hours later I saw the tantalizing dance that all caddis share, as three or four caddis did there thing just above the riffling water. Now how does mother nature do that? The trillium and the black caddis are both known to share this time of year, but how do they plan their arrival for the very same day.
Thank you Ann Miller for sharing one of your amazing images, thank you for the use of your black caddis.

Catch and Release

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.

Chuck Hawkins holding the prize catch today before release. As spring steelhead continues to give us questions marks, brown trout fishing shows every positive sign for an amazing season ahead of us. Streamer fishing on many rivers and at many sections is thumbs up. I can’t wait as steelhead gear begins to stay home and trout gears takes the front seat, to capture more images of big Michigan brown trout. Dry fly fishing this season I think is going to be special.

Hendrickson’s have started

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.

But for traditional trout anglers the start of the trout season starts with the Hendrickson dun. Well ring the alarm, you can officially start the beginning of trout season now, because the Hendrickson are popping. I had heard they had started on traditionally early starting sections of the Au Sable but to see them on the Upper Manistee and other smaller rivers on the west side, i.e. the Platte River. You know water temps through-out the state will all have Hendrickson popping. Look for mid morning spinner falls, say around 10am, with the emergence from mid morning until late afternoon. Then clouds of spinners will form on warmer than average evenings in early spring. This is a wonderful time of year for trout anglers. Let dry fly season beginning!