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.

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

muskegon river brown trout

Big Brown on the Muskegon – Pic of the Day

Most years Kevin Feenstra will post some sort of Monster Lake-Run Brown he has guided too and this year is no different great job Kevin. Awesome fish.  Make sure to follow Kevin on Instagram for more amazing images.  Also click the link to see both images of this enormous Lake-Run Brown Trout.

 

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An amazing bonus fish today that made tough fishing seem not so bad…congrats Mark! #puremichigan #browntrout #ontheswing

A post shared by Kevin Feenstra (@kevinfeenstra) on

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

brown trout picture

Day Time Hex Eater

A new line was introduced in the past month the SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity  and have had the pleasure to test it out over the last month.  Line showed up during Hex Season, even though my go to line for Hex is the Glow Line , but I have a few days each year that allow daytime fishing of the Hex Hatch.  Turning over big dry flies into tight quarters is a must and the New Smooth Infinity was up to the task.

Location, Location, Location

During the last thee weeks the line continues to bring it’s A game to Northern Michigan. With the foam bite (hoppers, ants, and beetles) mixed in with twitching (small streamers on a floating line) these two methods are a huge part of my summer program for trout.  Having a line that can deliver dry flies to within inches of a log, but still has the energy to turn over a small weighted streamer with a tungsten cone head into a deep pool.  Is a must for me, nice to have confidence that the SA Smooth Infinity can do both without missing a beat.

Local Fly Shop

If you have ever spent much time with me in the boat, and we talk equipment you know how I feel about fly lines, it is the most important part of your equipment!  Make sure to stay on top of the latest technology and check them out at your local fly shop.  Also if you see me on the water and want to take a test cast just ask.

Amplitude Smooth Infinity from Scientific Anglers on Vimeo.

There’s a reason we call this line the Infinity: there is no end to what you’ll be able to do with it. The Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity taper is a half-size heavy freshwater line built for everything from panfish to pike. With a long rear taper and extended front taper, it’s delicate for dry flies, has enough power for streamers, and can mend line for nymph rigs with equal ability. Built with the AST Plus slickness additive, Infinity lines are 50% slicker than any other SA line, and will last, on average, eight times longer than any line from the competition.

Remember: REAL NERDS GET ALL THE FISH.

Mangled Fly Stickers

Nervous Net Job

Not too often a trout makes me nervous when I’m in charge of the net, but a new PR on a Michigan Brook Trout.

Huron Drifter Boats

Huron Drifter

Excited to announce that 2018 I’ll have a new drift boat in the arsenal, working with Jason and Tracy I’ll be rowing a Huron Drifter this year.  I want to share a few pictures during the process as its being built.  But if your looking for a new drift boat make sure to give the guys a call.  During the test row last summer I was very impressed, and look forward to putting more time in the rowers seat in the coming months.  Will have a few custom touches that I’m excited about, especially for the dry fly angler. Follow along as the new 15″ Huron Drifter is being built.

Check out the Huron Drift online

Step 1: Laying out of the 15″ Foot Drifter

Step 2: Front Casting Brace

Step 3 : Working on the Floor

Figure Eight Super Light Video

With it being streamer tying season we have a new video on our Vimeo page to share.  Russ Maddin shares another streamer that is a must tie.  Using Egg Yarn for the head gives this Maddin creation great action.  Add a few of his techniques to your box and have a great trout season.  Make sure to watch until the end, as Russ breaks down what line and leader setup to use when fishing this great fly.

muskegon river brown trout

Pic of the Day – Underwater Mouse Eater

Photo by Ed McCoy of a Michigan Brown Trout snacking on one of his new mouse patterns.  Thanks for sharing the pic Ed.  Nice work.

 

Beat the Bottle – Protect Michigan’s Rivers and Streams

BottlIf Michigan’s government wanted to send over 200,000,000 gallons of our precious spring water to another part of the country would you be for that? What if that water was coming from a key aquifer that feeds the Muskegon river system? That’s exactly what Nestle would like to do. A current proposal under consideration by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requesting “a large quantity increase” in extraction from the company’s Evart, Michigan facility. In case you’re wondering what a “large quantity” is, Nestle is seeking a nearly 300% increase in the volume of water it extracts (Source: Detroit Free Press). If the Southwest were trying to take our water to alleviate drought, there would be public outrage. But if you want to come in and extract it into 16 ounce bottles – SURE, c’mon in! Oh, and the cost to Nestle for this? Only $200. Yep, you read that right.

The DEQ has said studies show that the aquifer can more than support this increase. Although it did so after deciding to overrule the computer model that said that this withdrawal could adversely effect the Muskegon river watershed (Source: Mlive). Not to mention that Nestle’s chief spokesperson, Deb Muchmore is married to Governor Rick Snyder’s former Chief of Staff (who is now a registered lobbyist). Smell funny to you?

Normally, we stay out of politics here on Mangled Fly, but this one’s important. This is an issue that impacts anyone who fishes or enjoys our rivers. The Muskegon is Michigan’s longest river, and holds trophy steelhead, trout, smallmouth bass, and much more.  It’s time we stood up to Nestle, and its insider trading with our State government. And you have a chance to do exactly that.

First, please send an e-mail to the Michigan DEQ voicing your opposition to this proposal (details here). E-mail can be addressed to: deq-eh@michigan.gov. Be outraged. Be logical. Be candid. But please take the time to weigh in on this issue. Protect Michigan’s waters, both for today and for future generations.

Beyond this, please consider voting with your wallet. Did you know that in 2107 for the first time bottled water consumption is expected to exceed soda consumption? According to Beverage Marketing, via USA Today, in early 2017 this will happen. We suggest not buying bottled water from any of Nestle’s 300 brands (complete list here). Beyond that, consider your consumption of any bottled water. Sure, sometimes it’s convenient, but purchasing a water bottle or two and refilling from the tap reduces demand. And, without demand, Nestle will turn its attention elsewhere.

Digital Camo Hat

Digital Camo Hat helping find 20″ trout

So those that fish with me know that I have a few superstition’s.  1 – NO BANANA’S 2- No white lighters .  Bring either of these items in the boat and you will get some sort of negative reaction.  #grumpyguide.

Also my wife has been known to laugh at me, as I tend to wear certain clothing items when I’m guiding and not others. Based on past success when wearing these certain clothing items.  With that I have lucky hats that I will continue to wear when fishing is good.  And No Way do we wash these hats, can’t clean out the good luck!  No matter how bad they start to stink! With that, one thing I’ve noticed this year, is that clients wearing the Digital Camo Cap in my boat this month have scored some nice trout.

So can it be true that the Digital Camo Cap can help you score a trout over 20″?  Proof might be in the pudding.  I know if I didn’t have one yet, I would get one before they are gone.Digital Camo Hat

Digital Camo Hat Digital Camo Hat