Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report for the third week in June has some relief from the heat wave coming our way. We apologize for the long lapse in reports, but it was a strange week last week as I can’t say I have ever taken a week off from trout fishing in early June!! Things are changing and the water temps are recovering after some light rains and much cooler nights. Hopefully we can get through the rest of our hatch season without another repeat “heat wave”. Conditions were not ideal last week for what should be prime time fishing for trout in Michigan. Water temperatures were at dangerous levels this past week for catch and release trout fishing so we took a break from the trout stream. Moving forward everyone should continue to use caution and check the water temps at these gauge stations before heading out. Please use the USGS site at 72, USGS at Sherman, and the Monitoring Station at 4 Mile Access to give you the best up to date water temperature information.

Guide Trips

We have been getting back to guiding for trout the past few days, but we are still running later on the warmer days. The last few nights have given the water temps a much needed cooling, but we could still use “inches” of rain for longterm stability. We thank our guests for being flexible and ask anyone fishing with us the next few weeks to understand that we will probably continue to have to make last minute adjustments moving forward if water temps get back into lethal ranges.

Jon and I live for this time of year, but the resources is too precious to not be vigilant and smart about our choices. We are asking our guests to continue to understand the limited photo’s or no photo policy. The trout were severely stressed over the past week so we will continue with the no grip and grins and in the water only shots for a trophy. We are using the heaviest tippets we can push thru the dry flies, no downsizing tippet, and no babying while fighting hooked fish. We are pushing the 6wts to the max and sacrificing flies if need be.

Big Bugs

Now, back to more positive outcomes. With the intense heat over the past week we have been starting to see Hex in most sections of the Upper Manistee. With that being said, there hasn’t been any “super events” yet, but the fish have taken notice. We are also seeing some big overlap in hatches right now. There are still a lot of Brown Drake Spinners in the trees and the Iso has been showing up again in the cooler weather. Both hatching and Spinning Isonychia have been taking some good fish as of late along with the Brown Drake and Hex spinner falls at dusk. Light Cahill’s have also been present in the evenings along with some bigger stones. Both Golden Stones and Giant Stones have been active in the evening and after dark providing fish with a very large meal!!

Spinner flights were pretty intense a few nights ago, but the last couple of days have been a little lighter with the cooler temps. Brown Drake spinners in 12 and 14 have been producing when Brown Drakes are on the water. The All Day Dun and Boondoggle versions have also been fishing well while searching water. The All Day Iyso size 10 (gray) has been good the past two days as the water has cooled and some Iso have been hatching before dark again. We will be deploying the All Day Cherry (new for 2021) this coming week as the Isonychia spinner falls should take over in the cooler weather. This fly has been a go to fly in my program for years and this year it’s finely available to the public. The red version is imitating the Isonychia in its final stages of life, known as a spinner. This fly is a great searching pattern.

It’s finally starting to feel a little more normal for this time of year and hopefully that trend will continue for a while. The hatches are definitely early and highly compressed so hopefully this cooler weather stretches things out a bit moving forward.

Trout Guide Trips

We are currently in prime time for trout on the Upper Manistee River. We are booked for June but are currently booking for hopper trips this summer and smallmouth trips on the lower Manistee. Last I heard from Ed he has 1 day open this mousing season. You can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email if your looking to book a trout guide trip.

Tight Lines,

Ed

Smallmouth Bass fishing on the Manistee River below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Fishing Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Fishing Report

The Manistee River Fishing Report for early June like most of Northern Michigan is low and clear. But unlike our trout fishing on the Upper Manistee low, clear, and warm is perfect for summer time smallmouth bass fishing. River clarity isn’t gin, but clear with a little Manistee River green. Water temps are in the high 60’s and with the bubbler keeping water temps in that range for most of the summer it keeps it from reaching un-fishable reaches. We recommend leaving the trout alone just below Tippy Dam, so they can survive this heat wave. But smallmouth bass, largemouth, bass, and pike fishing in the lower section is good now until the end of August.

Smallmouth Bass

Under normal circumstances we are not fishing the Manistee River below Tippy Dam at this time of year, normally its prime time Drake / Hex fishing on the Upper Manistee, but with water temps too hot somedays to fish for trout. This option is great for anglers willing to do something different. Smallmouth Bass are post spawn, and will eagerly take streamers and top water patterns.

This week with plenty of baitfish in the system Smallmouth Bass would chase small to medium size minnow patterns. Also did really well on frog patterns and yellow poppers. The Titan Long on a 6wt rod is perfect to throw these topwater patterns into the weeds and watch smallmouth and largemouth bass destroy them.

Mangled Fly Clothing

Check out the latest in Mangled Fly Clothing, as we have added some new hats and Sun-shirts over the last few weeks.

Booking a Trip

If you’re looking to book a fishing trip give us a call (231-631-5701) or shoot us an email . Not too early to start thinking about Fall Dates for Steelhead. Steelhead fishing on the Manistee River below Tippy Dam is some of the best in the state. Dates will fill up quick. In the mean time this summer we will Smallmouth bass fishing and still pursuing trout with Hopper Patterns and Ed has a night or two open for his Mousing Trips.

Tight Lines,

Jon Ray

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

This will be my last report for a few months. I will be leaving for Alaska in early June. Looking forward to seeing the boys at Anglers Alibi. I have been lucky enough to see a few lodges over the past 20+ years. Anglers Alibi is the most fisherman friendly and well run lodge I have been involved with. Its a small 12 guest lodge on the banks of the Alagnak river in south west Alaska.

Dry Fly

Its dry fly time!!! After doing a evening trip with flies and also a morning trip with lures I can tell you that it is for sure time to put the lures away and switch to night mode. We had good night fishing a couple days ago and turned around the next morning never moved a trout. This tends to happen every year around this time. The trout will wait until the bugs hatch. Sleeping in the log jams all day and moving into their feeding lanes for the evening hatch. A variety of bugs hatching and a buffet of insects for the trout to fill up on. We have had Sulphurs, Brown Drakes and some Caddis on the water. The trout seem to be liking them all. The caddis have been popping from mid afternoon on. Look for your mayfly hatch to start around dinner time. The best of it just before dark. Check out Ed McCoys all day boondoggle. It has been a goto for me as the weather and river temps start to warm.

Lures

If you are planning to fish lures start early. Very early. I would plan on getting out there a bit before the sunrise. I would bet the lure bite will be done by mid to late morning. The river has a fair amount of small minnows in the eddies. 2-3 inches in length. also some small stocker browns. The key to catching some nice trout on lures will be to get as close to the size of the food source. AKA match the hatch but with baits. Try to get a close as you can to the size of the minnows in the river.  Learn more about how I crank-bait fish, check out the YouTube video we did.

Future AK Trip


Mangled Fly is putting a AK Trip together for September 2022!! We are reserving the lodge for a week. This is going to be EPIC. The majority of the fishing that week will be hunting for monster rainbows. This is the time of the year when the trout are the fattest and fastest. Beads, Flesh and Mice will be the flies of choice. Mousing during the day! We are also planning on spending a day or two chasing Silver Salmon. Cohos if you are from the midwest. Silvers love the fly. And sometimes the silvers will eat topwater skating bugs. We also have spin rods ready to go for those windy days or after a few fish have worked your arms over. I am super excited to show our mangled fly friends the neighborhood I have spent my summers in for the past 25 years. Check out link to our future AK Trip

If your looking to book trips with this fall, contact Jon Ray via our contact page or give him a call.  I will be difficult to reach most days, Jon has my schedule.

Jeff Topp

top dry fly hooks

Top Dry Fly Hook Choices

Choosing the Correct Hook for Tying Dry Flies

Top Dry Fly Hook Choices
Top Dry Fly Hook Choices

When it comes to tying flies in today’s industry, the hook choices are almost unlimited and in many cases overwhelming. New Branding continues to increase the number of hook choices available in today’s market. However, if you pay close attention to some of the more important variables for good Dry Fly Hook choices you can eliminate most of the confusion. The purpose of this discussion is to help you think through your choices and to highlight a few of my preferred hook choices for tying Dry Flies. You can also check out the video where we covered some of our favorite hook choices on the Mangled Fly You Tube Channel.

Key Characteristics to look for in Hook Choices

Some important hook characteristics to consider in selecting an appropriate dry fly hook would be; hook eye orientation, hook gap, hook wire diameter/length, hook bend shape/point. Hook strength and hook up efficiency are very important aspects of hook choice and are directly related to the primary characteristics of the hook. The orientation of the hook eye, the length of the hook shank, and the width of the hook gap are all important components of hook design. that dictate your success. Finally a good range of hook sizes is also important in determining hook choice. If more hook sizes are available for a particular hook then you will have more variety of sizes to tailor your fly selection needs.

I prefer a down turned eye on my Dry Fly hooks. The biggest reason for this relates back to the hook setting angle of a Dry Fly presentation which is typically straight up. A down turned eye offers exceptional hook up efficiency with this type of hook set. For comparison a straight eye hook offers greater hooking efficiency with a strip set. Understanding presentation and how the hook will respond to the typical presentation you will be fishing with will determine how efficient your hook up percentage will be.

Whenever possible I will choose a wide gap hook for most of my Dry Fly hook selections as well. A bigger hook gap will tend to give you a better hookup percentage and more room for error while fighting hooked fish. Consider the style of fly you are tying as well. If you are tying extended body or foam patterns I prefer the wide gap hooks. Wide gap hooks have more of the hook point exposed and provide a bigger area for hook penetration. Most of the hooks I tie on are also chemically sharpened, this seems to be an industry standard, but hook penetration is very important.

The hook wire strength/length are important considerations too. Some of the larger insects we imitate require longer hooks to complete the platform for that bug. Longer wire hooks tend to give the fish an advantage for escape. Matching the length of the wire to strength, 2x or 3x heavy, and a wide gap would be my preferred choice. I don’t tie Dry Flies on a lot of long shank hooks basically for that reason. However, with that being said there are a few hooks available in this size combination that I have had great success with and I tend to use these hooks while tying my larger Dry Flies. Hoppers, Hex, and larger Stonefly patterns sometimes require that longer hook shank to get the appropriate size in your imitation. The TMC 5263 and Ahrex FW 570 are two of the long shank dry fly hooks I like for these larger bodied imitations.

Some of my Favorite Dry Fly Hook Choices

Here is the short list for the most commonly used Dry Fly Hooks that I prefer to tie my Dry Flies on. Feel free to substitute your own selections, these are just the hooks that I have the most confidence in for their performance on the water. You can check out the specs on the full Line of Tiemco Dry Fly Hooks

Tiemco TMC 100


The TMC 100 is the most commonly used hook for my Dry Fly tying. It is a standard Dry Fly hook that has a downturned eye, 1x fine wire, and a wide gap. This hook is available in a multitude of sizes from #8 to #26. I have used this hook in a number of flies and personally have a lot of confidence in this hook. The TMC 100 allows me to imitate countless hatch specific insects. I use this Dry Fly hook for most of my Parachute Mayfly imitations, Mayfly spinners, Mayfly/Caddis emergers, and Stonefly/Caddis adults.

Tiemco TMC 102Y


The TMC 102Y is a unique hook that has an unbelievable hook up efficiency! It was designed for fishing in Japan for quick striking trout. The TMC 102Y is a Dry Fly hook with a downturned eye, 1x fine wire, and a wide gap. This hook is available in sizes #9 to #19. The odd sizes are intriguing, but we do have some hatches here in Michigan where the insects are actually smaller than the even sizes commonly found in most standard Dry Fly hooks. The male Hendrickson Mayfly is one example that comes to mind. I have used this hook in Parachute Mayfly, Mayfly emerger, Stonefly, and Hopper imitations. It really shines as a great hook to use in a lot of my Mayfly extended body patterns, especially the All Day Dun series. This hook has quickly become one of my favorites for the majority of my Dry Fly tying.

Tiemco 5263


The TMC 5263 has a downturned eye, 3x long shank, and a 2x heavy wire. This hook is actually a Nymph and Streamer hook, but I will commonly use it in some of my larger Dry Fly patterns. I prefer to use this hook in some of my Hex, Hopper, and Stonefly patterns where I have a greater chance of encountering larger fish. This hook has a good hookup percentage and is tough as nails. I have not had one fail or bend while playing larger fish. Confidence is the name of the game with this particular hook. This is one of the long shank hooks that has a good balance of length to strength and hook gap width. This is important when it comes to hookup efficiency and battling larger fish.

Ahrex FW 570


The FW 570 is a 2x long Dry Fly hook with beefed up wire and a large gap making it a great hook choice for big fish flies. This hook is available in sizes #4 to #14 and the smaller sizes are still beefy enough to manage larger fish easily. I haven’t been using this hook as long as some, but so far it has been a great hook for some of my larger foam extended body mayfly and hopper patterns. It’s quickly finding its way into more of my tying and my confidence in this hook continues to grow. This is another great long shanked hook that has a great hookup efficiency.

Gamakatsu B10S


The B10S is a 1x strong Stinger hook that can be found in sizes #5/0 to #14. I have successfully used this hook in the smaller sizes from #6 to #14 in some of my Dry Fly patterns. It is a great hook for some of my larger foam extended body Mayfly and Stonefly patterns. It is very strong and has a pretty good hookup percentage. It has a wide gap which is great for extended body Dry Fly patterns. It meets a niche I needed to fill with a short shank hook paired with a wide gap.

Hook selection is a very important component to fly design. As you start to play with new materials and develop some pretty unique and effective fly designs, make sure you pay close attention to the hook selection. A fly is only as good as the hook it is tied upon! If you are struggling to hook fish with a certain pattern consider the hook choices available when you go back to the drawing board. Trial and error are all part of the game. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different hook types to find one that works better with a specific fly design.

Invasive Species New Zealand Mud Snail

Invasive Species

INVASIVE SPECIES AND THEIR IMPACT UPON AQUATIC HABITATS

Invasive Species

Invasive Species the New Zealand Mud Snail

There are countless threats to our aquatic ecosystems that have long lasting impacts upon our Great Lakes Ecosystems. Water pollution/sedimentation, habitat loss/degradation, connectivity, are a few examples and the list goes on and on. One such threat that usually doesn’t get immediate attention until a problem arises is the impact of Invasive Species. These invaders are often responsible for lost species diversity and changing food web dynamics within their new habitats.

If left unchecked, the consequences are often disastrous as ecosystem functionality is either lost or greatly impaired. Invasive Species introductions into our aquatic habitats typically result in dire consequences that can’t be fully understood. Most Invasive Species are undetectable at low population densities and by the time they are discovered problems are already starting to fester. This demonstrates the importance of early detection and the need for forward thinking approaches to minimize future introductions.

Human Travel

In today’s world, people have the ability to travel and visit just about every corner of the globe.  Sometimes a foreign hitchhiker can find its way into new habitats often causing unfavorable consequences. Albeit most of these introductions have been unintentional. However, there are some serious repercussions associated with their establishment. These aquatic invaders are usually left unchecked by the lack of natural control mechanisms. Unfortunately, the end result is usually the proliferation of foreign invaders and the ensuing negative impacts upon native flora and fauna.

Predicting the outcomes of an Invasive Species introduction is often difficult.  In most cases there are cascading effects that ripple through the ecosystem favoring the introduced organism. The absence of natural population controls on Invasive Species usually results in a competitive advantage for competition and survival.  As invasive populations grow, ecosystem sustainability is often lost or greatly impaired leading to reduced Native Species diversity.  In the Great Lakes, this could ultimately result in reduced numbers of highly desirable game species.

Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region has a growing number of Invasive Species concerns. Some notable examples are the Sea Lamprey, Alewife, Spiny Water Flea, Zebra Mussels, Quaga Mussels, and the New Zealand Mud Snail. All of these examples have consequences that go well beyond the physical parameters of water quality. Often these invaders have substantial impacts upon the trophic structure of our aquatic communities.

The Sea Lamprey almost wiped out the Lake Trout Populations thru uncontrolled predation. Alewife and Spiny Water Fleas had direct and indirect impacts upon Native Zooplankton populations and Juvenile Fish Survival. Zebra and Quaga mussels have changed the trophic cascades in the Great Lakes from the bottom up. This has lead to increasing water clarity, increased light penetration, deep water warming, increased Algal blooms, and reduced Salmonid populations. All of these consequences have direct effects upon the Economical value of our Great Lakes Recreational Sport Fishery.

New Zealand Mud Snail

The newest Invasive Species that is spreading throughout the Great Lakes Region is the New Zealand Mud Snail. The effects of this new invader are not yet fully understood. Researchers believe this invader will have adverse effects upon native snail species diversity by outcompeting native snails for space and food resources. Concerns have also been raised regarding how the New Zealand Mud Snail may effect the primary production elements of stream ecosystems which will more than likely have dire consequences for macro-invertebrate communities and ultimately stream fish populations. In a trout stream this could be detrimental to trout populations as food resources become greatly reduced by their increasing presence.

As we enter a new fishing season I encourage everyone to take extra precautions in sanitizing your fishing equipment.  We all need to be more diligent as we move between watersheds to help prevent further spread. For further information regarding the New Zealand Mud Snail and other invasive species, please check out the upcoming webinars from the newly formed Great Lakes New Zealand Mud Snail Collaborative. Join the fight, stop the spread, and get informed.


Tight Lines,

Ed

Best Fly Fishing of 2020

Best Fly Fishing of 2020

Best Fly Fishing of 2020
Best Fishing of 2020

Best Fly Fishing of 2020

I thought I would take a moment to reflect on a “best of fly fishing” collage from 2020 from our Instagram Feed. These are the highest liked images from 2020. If you’re not on Instagram or do not follow us via social media, here is a chance to see some of our best liked images. I thought I would go thru a couple of images and expand upon their meanings to us this year.

  • First Muskie – The top row muskie image was probably one of my best images of the year. Shooting underwater images is by far my favorite way to shoot photography, but the time, equipment prep, and special conditions add difficulty to making it work. While on our Northern Michigan Muskie adventure this past fall, everything fell into place. First and foremost we had a muskie eat our fly, then the water we were fishing was absolutely perfect for getting crisp images, and the sun was at a great angle. With shooting underwater there is a lot of luck involved and this image definitely fell into that category.
  • Sorry Brook Trout – The top row right side. Beautiful brown trout laying peacefully in my hand. This image was captured by Ann Miller as we were fishing together that day. We were fishing during the Sulphur hatch in May. One of the underrated hatches and a great time to be on the Upper Manistee as a dry fly angler. Ann made a great cast into a perfect seam next too an undercut bank. As the dry fly floated you just knew it was going to get eaten. Suddenly a brook trout smashed the dry fly, how did I know it was a brook trout? As we were fighting this little guy you could see it thrashing underneath the water trying to get away. Very classic brook trout behavior. As we brought the fish towards the side of the boat, a huge swirl devoured our brook trout. The 5wt rod suddenly buckled and we were not connected to a brook trout any longer. Mr. Brown trout had eaten our brook trout! Ann did a great job landing this beautiful brown on very light tippet. This is one of those stories I will not soon forget.
  • Middle Row Browns – Each of the brown trout picks in the middle row were caught on dry flies and really do represent some of my favorite hatches. The middle image is a short video we did of Ed McCoy and I getting a chance to fish Hendrickson’s. We had some great activity during high spring water. The far left is a slob of a brown trout that was caught during the day during the Hex Hatch. I love hunting these big fish with dry flies, so exciting watching them come up and slurp a big meal. Last but not least is an image of why you don’t need to always have your dry fly drifting perfect. I really like working with clients and twitching our dry flies in those likely spots. Having a brown trout blow up on your dry fly just like a bass does on a deer hair popper leaves you longing for more!
  • Kean Oh – Kean puts in his time and gets rewarded. The bottom right image is of Kean enjoying a day fishing with Ed McCoy hunting post spawn brown trout in November. Kean scored a great fish that had eluded Ed earlier in the year. One of the coolest things about big browns is how they hunt an area. Ed had a great chance at this fish during May and then did not see this fish again until November. Kean was rewarded with a great brown trout at the end of the year, summing up the best fly fishing of 2020.

Honorable Mention

Above are the best of fly fishing 2020 chosen by our followers on Instagram. Here are a few additional images chosen by the guides at Mangled Fly representing their favorite image of 2020.

Fall Steelhead Double Header
Double Header Fall Steelhead

Steve Pels with a father son double header. Not only to hook two at once but to land two is a true feet. Very special day and great image well done guys.

Best Fly Fishing of 2020
Kids First Steelhead

Jeff Topp with a young man’s first steelhead. Carson with a Birthday gift from his dad, landed his first steelhead. Is there a better gift?

Lake Trout on the Swing
Lake Trout on the Swing

Ed McCoy with a first in his guide career. A Lake trout on the swing, might sum up 2020 as a whole. Not what we were expecting, but roll with the punches and keep casting.

hooks for steelhead

Top Steelhead Hooks

Hooks for Steelhead

Top picks for steelhead hooks, talk about a sticky topic! I’m sure this is going to open a can of worms, but I wanted to address this topic as it gets a lot of attention amongst our guide staff. Every day, no matter what we are fishing, every rig we tie starts with a hook. It doesn’t matter if we are tying up a batch of streamers for steelhead, or if we are twisting up a bead rig for Alaska or Northern Michigan. The hook is usually the first item we start with.

Hook choices have consequences! Personally, I know I will never run a B10S hook again for trout. I’m fine using it for smallmouth bass, but I don’t have a scientific reason for it. Basically it’s the same reasoning I use when putting my right sock on first followed by my left. The same holds true with our favorite hooks for steelhead. It’s not really about scientific findings, but more about having confidence.

In order to shed some light on choosing the best hooks for steelhead, I have included a list of hooks preferred by Mangle Fly Guides below. This list of hooks has been proven over time and is Guide approved. For the purpose of this discussion, we chose hooks you can use for both swing and egg fly presentations. My hope is this list will help you decide which hooks to use this winter to prep your spring steelhead box.

Streamer Hooks

Streamer fishing for steelhead is not easy and you typically must capitalize upon fewer opportunities. You need a hook that is strong enough to land the Big Boyz, but light enough for your fly to move properly. The following is a Guide recommended list of streamer hooks for steelhead.

  • Owner Mosquito – is our number one choice for steelhead swing flies. This hook is a top choice personally and for Ed McCoy and Steve Pels as well. Most importantly, this hook has proven to be strong enough to handle the biggest Manistee River steelhead. Another advantage with this hook is the light wire, allowing me to pull a high percentage of my flies back from the log jams on 16# fluorocarbon. I like this hook in size 1 for most of my steelhead streamer patterns.
  • Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap – this is another one of Ed McCoy’s go to hooks. Ed runs this hook in size 1/0 and 1. He likes the big gap and very positive hook up ratio on fish that eat the fly from behind. This is a great hook later in the season to capture those fish that are nipping at the tail.
  • Daiichi 2557 – This is Guide Steve Pels go to hook for early fall. This hook has a super sticky point and will not bend out on hot fish. It has an oversized eye and makes passing trailer wire through the hook eye very easy. As is the case with most of our swing flies, we use wire or braid to attach the hook to our shanks. Steve likes this hook from size 1 to 4.
hooks for steelhead
Streamers for Steelhead

Bonus Streamer Hook

The bonus streamer hook is a “baby treble” and I was scared of what might happen upon hooking up. Baby trebles in size 10 or 8 work really well and more or less pin the steelhead upon contact. This is one of my late season hooks that might ruffle a few feathers. I only run this particular hook when temps are dropping from 40 degrees into the 30’s. I prefer this hook for days when one bite is likely all we will see on the swing. When you’re searching for one bite and only getting lethargic tugs or pulls, this hook can save the day. Try this treble hook on your next cold front fishing trip.

  • VMC 9650 – I use this hook in size 10 and size 8. It’s super sharp and strong enough to land most steelhead. An added advantage to these light wire hooks is you will get all of your flies back from the many log jams along the Manistee River. Another bonus with this hook is the oversized eye makes passing wire or braid through them a breeze. One point of caution regarding this hook. I would not recommend using these treble hooks in October or during heavy spring run off, it will not hold. If the steelhead is super charged up it will bend them right out. Please understand, when you hook up with this hook you have to take your foot off the gas. You can’t pull as hard as you normally do with the bigger heavy wire swing hooks.

Egg Hooks

The meat and potatoes fishing in the Great Lakes area is with egg patterns. It’s not uncommon for me to fill the tackle box with 1000’s of egg hooks in my preseason orders. Having tried a slew of egg hooks over the years, here is where we stand currently on the best of the best.

  • Blood Run Tail Out Ed McCoy and I both agree, this is our favorite hook for pegging beads. The Blood Run Tail Out works great in size 1 to 4. It has a straight eye, so snelling your knot is a top selling point here. These hooks are super sharp and they will not bend out! This is not as ideal when fishing around all the wood, but there is never a question in confidence when fighting big steelhead on our float rigs.
  • Owner SSW – when it comes to fishing beads and egg patterns, no one on our staff has more experience than Jeff Topp. Having guided in Alaska for over 22 years, when Jeff recommends a hook I listen. For bead fishing he likes the size 4 hook with 10mm beads and the size 6 hook with 6mm to 8mm beads. The number one reason he likes this hook is the wire. This hook has a very strong thin wire making hook penetration better for Alaskan Rainbow Trout and Manistee River Steelhead. This razor sharp hook serves him well from size 6 to size 1 depending upon the bead size he is fishing.

Closing Thoughts

With so many hook options available at your local shops to choose from it can get confusing. I know this is just a sampling of choices, but the idea here is to help you make educated hook selections. Over the last few years we have been tying fewer yarn eggs, but the same hooks we use for fishing beads also work really well when tying big rag style yarn flies. For instance, the red Owner SSW listed above is one of my favorites to tie oversized egg patterns on for Spring Steelhead.

Treble hooks in the fly fishing world are nothing new, but I personally had no experience with them back in the day. Ten plus years ago, when I first ran treble hooks, I was very nervous and pessimistic to be honest. What would happen to the steelhead? How torn up would the mouth of my prized fish become? Would my fly just get tangled up in all the treble hook points? Experience has played a big part in answering some of these concerns. For example, the bigger hooks listed above actually do more damage than the VMC treble hooks.

This current list of hook choices is what we prefer for most of our fishing situations. I’m sure over time I will edit this list as new hooks are forged and some of the old standby’s are no longer available. Please feel free to add your favorite hooks in the comment section below and thanks again for checking out the blog.

Jon Ray

New Fly Release McCoy’s All Day Spinner

McCoy's All Day Spinner
McCoy’s All Day Spinner

McCoy’s All Day Spinner – Isonychia

I am excited to announce a new fly pattern to be released by Montana Fly Company in 2021! The McCoy’s All Day Isonychia Spinner is very durable, has a very realistic profile, can be fished all day, and is a must have pattern for our Northern Michigan streams. This fly will be available in two sizes, #10 and #12, and will complete the Isonychia lineup in a series of foam based dry flies that I released through MFC in 2019.

The All Day Isonychia Spinner is a great searching pattern and is one of my go to favorites to target rising trout during an Isonychia Spinner fall. Make sure to check with your local fly shops for availability and I expect we will have a limited quantity available here online at Mangled Fly. Read more

echo muskie rod

Echo Muskie Rod Review

New Echo Muskie Rod

This fall, during our annual Muskie adventure up North, we had the chance to put the new Echo Muskie Rod to the test. Echo Rods reached out to Ed McCoy and myself to see if we would be interested in testing out their new predator rod and then provide them with some feedback. Absolutely we were in, and to sum up our experience in just a few words, We liked it a lot!

Postive Feedback

The first thing that Ed and I both noticed right away is that this 11 weight rod doesn’t feel like an 11 weight at all! Ed and I have both had several of these bigger rods in our arsenal before and have either sold them or just quit using the bigger 11 weight rods with our clients. What I have found over the years is the bigger rods are just too much rod for my typical client. Honestly these bigger rods aren’t even for me, I just don’t enjoy throwing an 11 weight for that many casts. The new Echo Muskie Rod doesn’t feel that way at all. In fact if you were to blind fold me and ask me to guess what weight this rod feels like, I would probably guess it was an 8 weight.

The next great surprise is that this rod, even though it is very light in the hand, has tremendous hidden power! The 8’8″ 11 weight – 4pc we tested had no problem throwing the 450 grain lines we prefer. The rod handled both the Sonar Titan 3/5/7 and the Sonar Musky lines with no problem at all. This rod demonstrated the ability to deliver flies of all sizes and materials at distance. It even handled Ed’s super sized game-changers. The new Echo Muskie Rod had no problem delivering flies we commonly fish for Muskie. This rod received positive feedback from all who fished it. Watch the video below from our friends at the Northern Angler to see more of this rod in action.

Echo Muskie Rod
photo by Eric Rambo

Fighting Grip

The next piece of positive feed back we had for this rod regards the integrated fighting grip and extended butt handle. The fighting grip combination received a lot of positive complements from our clients. Throwing these silly sized flies all day is taxing on the body! Your arm fatigues, your grip gets a work out, but the size and feel of the new Echo Muskie Rod’s fighting grip is really well designed. The extended fighting grip butt section helps immensely when doing a proper figure 8. It can also be used as a two-hand overhead casting tool when your shoulder starts to feel it. It’s one of the only rods where Ed and I both agree on the fighting grip design. We both walked away from our experiences with a positive review.

Echo Rod Video Review

Shop Local

The new Echo Muskie Rod is truly a great rod for muskie fishing. I can also see this rod being used for Golden Dorado and various saltwater fishing applications. Plus this rod won’t break the bank at the price point of $299! This is truly a great rod for the value. If you are looking for a new predator rod, make sure to check out your local fly shop. If you need help finding this rod, please let Ed and I know and we are happy to put you in touch with a local shop carrying this rod.

Jon Ray

Scott Sector S 8107

Scott Sector S 8107

Scott Sector S 8107
Smallmouth Bass Fly Rod

Scott Sector

The Scott Sector S 8107 is one of the newest fly rods in the Scott Fly rod line up. The Sector series is geared toward the Saltwater market. Needing a new seven weight I decided to pick up the 8 foot 10 inch 7 weight in this new series. While understanding it’s one of the fastest rod actions in their lineup, it would give me diversity in my fly rod selection. If I have to be completely honest, I tend to lean heavy on the Scott Radians.

As soon as I picked up the Scott Sector S 8107 the first words out of my mouth were “man this is light”. Being a guy that is known to break pretty much anything, having the lightest usually isn’t what I’m most thrilled about. But after taking the Sector through a Hex season on the Upper Manistee and giving it a good test during the first part of my Smallmouth Season, this rod gave me a good first impression.

Positive Feedback

Scott’s all new Carbon Web technolody improves torsional stability and rod durability by encasing the unidirectional fibers in a web of ultra-light multi-directional carbon fiber.

As I mentioned the rod is super light, and the above quote from Scott Fly Rods gives some of the techie stuff that I don’t really understand, but makes it sound super fancy. What I know is that you can cast this rod all day, especially if you balance it with a light reel. I have a Ross Revolution LTX on the Sector I am running and it seems to balance well on this rod at 4.65 oz.

The next thing I noticed with the Scott Sector S 8107 is the stripping guides. I love a big stripping guide and these are some of the largest diameter guides I can remember seeing on a 7 weight rod. The Sector features all new CeRecoil stripping guides with nickel titanium frames and super slick Zirconia inserts, along with Recoil nickel titanium snake guides for low friction and corrosion free performance. The guide sets are PVD coated in a low reflective coating for even greater durability and stealth. Large guides allow greater line speed when you cast, thus a farther cast.

The S 8107 seems to team up well with the short quick line tapers that are now common from most fly line companies. I’ve been running the SA Glow Line during my Hex Hatch season, which is on the Frequency Magnum taper, and the SA Bass Bug Taper for my smallmouth fishing trips. These rods have very little swing weight and are great with short head lines.

8 Foot 10

I decided to go with the S 8107 because smallmouth bass was the main target for this rod, having a quick responding easy casting rod that can quickly fire into small pockets is what I was looking for with the Scott Sector S 8107. This is exactly the situation in which the Sector excels. This rod is fast, much faster than the Scott Radians, which I have to note here again is my personal favorite trout rod!

When I’m fishing topwater flies for Smallmouth Bass I like to make longer casts, chugging or popping the popper a few feet off the bank, and then quickly picking up the line and firing it back towards the shore. No complaints when it comes to picking up longer amounts of line with the Sector. This rod has handled every range of casts I have thrown at it.

Cons

Really the only cons of the Scott Sector S 8107 are some minor points, but really they are little facts about the rod that it actually wasn’t designed to do anyway. The rod seems too fast for dry flies and casting at slow rising trout isn’t really in its wheel house. While as a mousing stick I think it will do just fine, but jet setting on a trout with this quick stick seems to be a common occurrence. Also I wouldn’t buy this length if I planned on roll casting, the Sector is designed to be fast, so roll casting isn’t really what it’s known for. Also because the rod fishes so well with the short head fly lines we already mentioned, those lines to are not going to help you in the roll cast department either.

Overall Review

While the new Scott Sector S 8107 isn’t going to take the place of my Scott Radians during the Hex Hatch or even on my next trout streamer trip, it defiantly has a place in my arsenal. Especially when I know it’s going to be a long day of casting, the rod is so light and so far very durable. It casts tight loops, throws poppers and frogs into heavy cover, and has plenty of power to pull smallmouth bass away from logs and stumps. It’s going to be a great rod next time I get to travel again to the salt. If your looking for a fast rod the Sector should be first on your list of new fly rods to cast, so please go check one out at your Local Fly Shop.