Not a fan of Flash

For the most part working outside during the day I can use natural light. I am not a fan of flash photography. But there comes a time and a place for flash. Flash can be a creative tool. Example of this are two pictures from above, both taken about 10 seconds apart. Dave S. joined me for a day of steelhead fishing, and if you steelhead fish you know early morning can be good. Well we started at 8am this past week, still a low light situation. As luck would have it on our second or third cast of the day, a playful 5-6 pound hen was twisting, turning, jumping, and running through the run we were fishing. Dave made quick work and the fish was in the net.

Now comes the fun part of photography. How to take a picture with little to no light, and not have a blurry photo. Blurry photo because my shutter speed has to be longer with limited light, and since I shoot freehand when guiding, not much time to set up a tripod. The bottom picture I had to get my ISO up to 1600 to get any-sort of picture, but quickly taking the pic and looking into the LCD I was not happy. My natural light limited and my ISO was really not high enough, but was max out on the camera. I just was not pulling out the chrome nature of the fish. While I only currently have a pop up flash on my Canon 40d, (currently saving my pennies for the Canon Speedlite 580ex II) I switched to ISO 400 and shot a quick pic with the pop flash. Much better.
While I still like using natural light as much as possible, I also want to get better at the art of flash photography. Hope to show more examples of this in future posts. I recently took a class in TC at the college, about using flash. Can’t wait to get the Speedlite, pretty amazing how the two (camera body and external flash) work together understanding ISO and shutter speed. Gotta love technology.

Always Interesting on the Manistee River

What is always interesting about fishing, is for the most part you never know what your going to catch. I try my best to keep everybody on their toes when we are our there casting. As you never know what cast will result in a fish of a lifetime or just something different. Well yesterday we had an encounter with Esox Lucius other wise known as the “northern pike”. While the big ones of the Manistee (over 40+”) I do not see very often and my couple quick encounters always seem to get off, this 30″ specimen was hooked about as perfect as one can with such a toothy creature.

Honestly if one was going to target big Esox the next couple months are about prime, from now until there spring spawn. As the big northern pike will use river mouths and warm water discharges from the many harbors and ports along the michigan coast for their winter hunting grounds. While I personally don’t find them as the strongest fighters, there aggressive nature makes them a great target on the fly. And anything that decides that my flies are good enough food items to eat is always cool with me!

Winter Trout Fishing Video

Last winter I had the opportunity to fish with Ed McCoy for a couple hours just below Tippy Dam. Winter time trout fishing is pretty much over looked here in Michigan but honestly it can be pretty easy, as trout are schooled up and eager for any sort of properly presented meal. Enjoy the video.

Double Headers and Streamers, you never forget

There are certain moments on the river that I never forget. Now yes it is part of my job to remember where I catch fish, but certain moments are burned deep into the memory banks. Certain fish you never forget. You hold onto these memories to share with other anglers and to relive each and every time you fish that particular area.

Now each steelhead to me is a special steelhead, but also with certain moments or places certain steelhead are different or “more special” as well. A steelhead that will travel an unknown amount of distance to engulf a streamer is a “special” steelhead. You remember the places where you catch these “special” fish. You look at these runs different, you remember the 100’s of cast that it took to give you the pull you where looking for. You remember the the numerous fly changes that it took to bring that steelhead to hand. You never forget the fish that eat’s your streamer!
As I said before each steelhead is a special steelhead, but another memory that is hard to forget is when the stars are alined perfect and you find yourself with a double header. You want to talk about having your hands full of chrome, these memories are for sure special. One anglers will talk about for years. “Remember that time” kind of stories, when we had that double and this one went that way, and that one went this way. Steelhead truly never make it easy, but I love the memories that they bring!

Fall Steelhead and Beckman Nets

Sorry for the lack of postings, been working hard on the river and having a hard time finding some unique shots as hot chrome as been making us look funny at times. But had the chance to hold onto one of the beauties today for a little longer. This 8-9 pound buck gave us all we could handle today. But then once we put him in my new Beckman Net , he calmed down and let me get close and personal. I hope to get some more time on the lens as I have streamer trips coming up and will hope to capture a little spey casting.

River and early signs are all looking good for steelhead!

Fall Steelhead with Fall Colors

Fall Colors and Fall Steelhead are headed towards peak!
Simply put my favorite time of year. I love the hunt for chrome!

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.

King Salmon

King salmon have really start to invade the lower sections of most rivers on the west side of Michigan. As I have said before September brings the chance to pursue some of the biggest fish in our streams and rivers. I have been having success on streamers, both on sinktips and Intermidate lines. Finding out new flies that work and some that go right back into the trash can. This pursuit of a King on a big ugly fly is by no means easy, as the new approach I have taken is more like hunting for big browns. Streamer fishing for Kings is really no different than swinging spey patterns for Atlantic’s or Steelhead. The day you get one is a good day. Yes I have days of 4-6 fish to the net on big ugly flies, but I also have days of none to the boat. As Lake Michigan changes, as more invasive species crowd our waters. The hunt for salmon will continue but the day of how many I think are behind us. The good news!! As Kings continue to push and start their spawning run, this means that everyday I’m one day closer to hooking the first fall steelhead of the season. The power of the King brings with it the power of the egg, and we all know what steelhead really love.

Big Fish Chase

Wow have things changed in the past 24-48 hours, from highs of 90’s to now highs in the 60’s with blustering 20-25 mph winds out of the north. Feels more like fall now instead of summer. For more than just a few people, this change of seasons brings the feeling of hunting season rather than fishing season. I for one getting the feeling this is the time of year to hunt for the biggest fish in our rivers and lakes.

I do get asked more than a couple times a year, “what is your favorite season”, I often reply with the answer “I love the change in seasons”. All the opportunities that Michigan provides are special. I love the first dry fly day of the year, I love the first fall steelhead I find behind gravel, I love the aggressive nature of a bluegill in the spring. But September does bring the opportunity to hunt for the biggest fish. Be that King Salmon or monster browns. The opportunity presents itself because of the change in temperature, the struggle to preserve the species, and the fact that Old Man Winter is just around the corner.
The change in season brings opportunity to the fly angler. Go hunt your rivers, lakes, and shoreline. I for one have a box unchecked on the bucket list of a 30″ brown on a fly. This change in season brings opportunity. Time to go knock on some doors. Before Old Man Winter closes them until next year.

Best Day on the River!

Thank you Shawn for opening my eyes! If you ever have the chance to work with Project Healing Waters, I highly advise you do it. These men and woman are amazing. Thank yo for everything that you have done for us.