Hatch Guide

Big Eyes Means they are close

Recently learned that as mayfly nymphs grow, especially March Browns, Cahill’s, and Hex the eyes really get big right before the hatch.  A macro shot of a Hex nymph we found in the mud looking for what else is hatching.  Based on his eyes, we are not too far away.  Want to learn more about bugs in the Mid West make sure to pick up Ann Millers Book.


brown trout

May Fishing Video

Did a quick edit from this past weeks for the Hawkins YouTube Channel.  Highlights are from a good week of Dry Fly Fishing for Trout on the Upper Manistee River.

Man vs Bugs

So guiding here in Northern Michigan we have our share of bugs.  Especially bugs that like to bite.  But this short video showing some of the bugs (especially the ones that bite), the boys encountered on their South America journey.  I’m not sure I’m Man enough to handle.

Dragon Rising


While fishing Hardy Pond last week, I took a break on the edge of the impoundment. A fly fisherman always loves to see things emerge, and I witnessed one of the coolest things in nature seen in a while. A green darner nymph crawled out of the water onto a rock. As its skin parched in the sun, it suddenly split open and a very large dragon fly was born.


When I showed an image to some friends, one commented that the dragon looked like “the paint on a new sports car”–this is good description.

Using the time lapse function on the camera, this video was made. It is a very short clip that shows in seconds what happened over the course of 45 minutes:

Kevin Feenstra

A Predator’s Grocery Store


When you spend a lot of time on a river, you begin to feel connected with it. You may start to look at the food sources in the river and start to learn the intricacies of their habitat. The location of these food sources is the grocery store of predator fish. These images reveal fish food in their homes. A wide angle lens was used to capture the food source and surrounding environment.

Most of my time is spent on the Muskegon River system. Though the trout fishing part of the river has very few hex mayflies, the impoundments and slow stretches of the river system has heavy hatches of hexes and other burrowing mayflies such as ephorons. This is especially true as you move upstream in the system into the impoundments. Predator fish such as the bass feed heavily on these insects, as do panfish and other fish species. Above is pictured a hex on on one of the ponds. In this environment, hexes will hatch well into the late summer months and are followed by the white flies.


Sculpins, another common bait fish, prefer clusters of rocks and will seldom be found in individual rocks. This is a sculpin in its domain. Sculpins are home bodies. I will often find a sculpin in the same cluster of rocks day after day all year long. We become friends and then he gets eaten. That’s how it goes.


Crayfish utilize all types of habitat, such as logs, concrete, weeds, gravel, and rocks. They will hang out in isolated pieces of cover. Many of the crayfish that we have in the tailwater stretches of our rivers are invasive rusty crayfish, such as the one pictured above. The fish eat them all the same.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Kevin Feenstra

Bugs, Bugs, and More Bugs

A thick, massive band of mayflies traveling along the Mississippi River created a swarm so intense it became visible on National Weather Service radars on July 20, 2014

Now that is a Hex Hatch!  More pics and info here

Great Speckled Olive caught in a Web

Siphloplecton basale Spinner other wise known for me as the Great Speckled Olive caught in a spiders web.  When you see this guy you know Sulhur’s are on the menu in a day or two.  Hatches are moving forward and temps are really improving.  Couple prime open dates in the first part of June.  June 6,7,9  shoot me an email or a text message if your interested.


A Mangled Stonefly for Mangled Fly

Our big rivers are flooded right now, but the smaller creeks have cleared and there is a lot of life above and below the water. A lot of the stoneflies that typically emerge in February and March are just now hatching and the fish and predatory insects love to eat them. This is a water strider eating a tiny winter stonefly, taken March 16.




Scuds are tiny crustaceans, close relatives of crayfish and shrimp.  As you can see they look most like shrimp.  Found this scud along the Manistee River


Nomad Anglers and Schmohz Beer

Ed McCoy and I (Jon Ray) will be tying some signature trout and steelhead patterns on Jan 28th at Schmohz Brewery  , contact Brian at Nomad Anglers .  To sign up for the seminar call the Grand Rapids location (616) 805-4393.  This is a first come first serve and space is limited.  Looking forward to the good night of tying and some new beer.

fly tying nomad anglers