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!

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.

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.

Understanding Exposure

By no means am I a pro photographer yet. Not enough time behind the lens, not enough time pressing down the shutter. But very similar to fly fishing I love the practice. As I was growing up I would just love to go cast, not really fish, even though I was mostly on the water, but just cast and practice the art of casting. Now I find I love practicing shooting with the SLR.

One of the first books I ever read was called “understanding exposure”. This taught me that I need to stop shooting in P or Auto mode and move onto M or Manual mode. One of the greatest advantages to the digital camera age is the amount of mistakes that you can make and it really does not cost you anything. I take thousands of pictures that are junk, can you imagine the cost of my hobby if I was still using film?? But what shooting in Manual mode has taught me is how to read and understand the light meter. What f stop to use and how to use the camera in a creative way.
So the picture above I wanted to focus on the crease fly. By the way one of my new favorite top water patterns for small-mouth. Not sure why it took me so long to fish it for small-mouth but so far it’s my favorite 2010 small-mouth fly. Anyway back to the picture. While shooting in Manual, I need to change my focus point as well. Adjusting the focus point to the crease fly, and then wanting a somewhat blurred backdrop I choose a f stop of 3.5. The next step is what ISO to shoot in. For the well being of the small-mouth I had to make a quick decision. I wish I could of made a couple shots at 100, 200, and 400. But as this was an evening shot and I wanted to get it right I choose 400 and snapped off a couple quick shots and released the small-mouth unharmed.
As I try to compare photography and fly fishing. In fly fishing especially when you are hunting big fish you get one chance and now in photography knowing and understanding your camera to get the right shot with the understanding of not harming a living creature, puts a little pressure on the situation. I love it!

Big Lake Blues

I really just like the different experiences when shooting, the different landscapes, horizons, or locations. Even though this is still Michigan, getting a chance to go out with Trout Scout Charters and take a couple shots of the big lake scene was right up my alley. With blue being my personal favorite color, finding the back drop of the sky very appealing to my personal eye.


Working with the blues of the sky and the clear Lake Michigan water. The day we were out we had some nice 3-4 foot waves, so the turn over of the lake gave me a very dark blue/black water apperance. I had to battle ISO trying to shoot in the 100’s but with all the movement it was hard. When shooting outside I love to use the lowest ISO that I possibly get away with. Next time on the Trout Scout I think I’ll bring a tripod and hope for less waves to really slow down the shutter speed and pull out even more color. Gotta love digital photography and the opportunity to just keep leaning from our opportunities. Thank you Capt. Lance to taking us out.


Bring on the veggies


Enjoying the fruits or should I say veggies of our labor. Some of the first produce showing up in our first garden. It has been a very enjoyable process, digging, racking, planting, pruning, weeding, watering and now finally starting the eating.
As the intent of the blog is to show the many joys of out door activities, my main focus will for the most part be water related joys. Here are a couple pics of what working the land can provide. More fish related pics coming soon, as the hopper shots are starting to come in. Hot weather not only helps the tomatoes grow, but gets our hoppers going as well.

Grand Traverse Bay Carp


Had the opportunity to film and photograph Ed McCoy today on the Grand Traverse Bay for the big boy carp that swim the waters of the great lakes. Working with Chuck Hawkins and Ed we are trying to put together a short 2-3 minute carp fishing video. So I shot a couple hundred pictures and minutes of film so that we can develop a carp video for the hawkins website. Look for it soon. Hope it turns out, if not I guess I’ll have to go shoot more footage, the things I must do!

Fishing crayfish patterns and other fresh water patterns very similar to bonefish flies used in the salt. There is something special about wading the flats of Grand Traverse that reminds me of fishing in the Caribbean . The crystal clear waters with three shades of blueish green water are a nice break from the river shorelines that I’m spoiled by.

Carp fishing this year is off to a great start, as the beasts from the deep have crashed the shallows after last weeks warm up. The first part of June should be prime to hunt these golden bones.

Now that May is here..


May is here and mother nature and trout fishing are rolling around nicely. Morels will be popping with warm temperatures and this past weekends thunderstorms. Most trees have buds popping, almost looks like fall in some spots with the multi-colors. Bright days have the sky line screaming insane colors of blue. Hard for me to choose which season I really do like more spring or fall? I’ll have to say spring for now, as the amount of additional life forms running around. Wish I could just carry my camera everywhere!

Upper picture is a shot of the Manistee River below Tippy. I so do love this river, especially outside the months of April and September. With nobody else on the river today, trout fishing was pretty epic. One can choose from skating caddis, to swinging wet-flies, to ripping streamers. Today our weapon of choice was the 2/0 streamer. With many nice trout coming to hand, and couple “oh my god, look at that” butter balls showing their sides, we had a great day on the river.


Enjoying our lunch riverside we had one of my favorite bugs join us, the Giant Stone fly. Or
Pteronarcys dorsata , better wise known as the Salmon Fly. I think most people only think this is a western bug, but here in Michigan we do have a pretty big hatch, you just have to know where to look. Also you have to know how to fish the bugger. But when you figure it out, as I’ve mentioned before, be ready. The strikes are some of the best in the game for dry fly fishing. The Salmon fly will continue to hatch sporadically over the next month. Triggering some of the best dry fly fishing of the year!


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?