Saturday, August 29, 2015


(our Eagle Rainbows from California are truly gorgeous fish- they  normally average 10-14 inches on the midge hatch at this time of year and will kick your three/four weight's butt to its limit since this strain are such hard fighters!- they have cutthroat blood in them- note the orange slits by the mouth!- these two little footballs were from the midge hatch yesterday- note the WMD midge in the lower image)

If you are a true ole' fashioned 'trout bum', the mention of trout sipping minutiae dries...a.k.a tailwater/spring creek style will goosebumps up your spine and a cheshire cat grin!
( rainy/drizzle days are perfect for midge hatches- watch the swallows work the air to what seems like nothing up there-those are midges they are working- note the red dots forming from Gilchrist wild strains)
( here note the Wild Rose Wisconsin strain- both strains stocked in Muskegon...more Loch Leven Scottish in origin and larger brown spotting- both gorgeous truttas!)

 The Big Muskegon and Manistee are continuing to become  true eastern and western tailwater in the summer: midges, caddis, bwos, cahill's, ants, scuds- just like the San Juan. With the very cool/cold week water temperatures and flows have become ideal and the hatches really took off!

Yes!..I'm very aware that we are in the land of BIG AND BIGGER!...Hex, mousing, streamers- I love them all!. But being an east/west coast minutiae freak, what is going on now and for the next two months will blow your mind!...and you'll never want to see another steelhead and salmon!- not really!,... but dry fly trout taking size #20's...long 6x tippets, three/four weights is an epic experience! - especially if you watch every trout suck your fly in right in front of you.

Our spring stocked Wild Rose, Gilchrist browns and Eagle Lake rainbows ar betting fat and pushing the 10-13 inch range- holdover surface feeders are 14-18 inches- some leviathan 20 inch browns will focus on larger caddis/mayflies at dusk, preferring to hunt crayfish along the shore. 
This morning  we stopped fishing after 20 trout landed in an hour and half window. Water temps have plunged with a week of 'global cooling'- 50's-60's,  into surface temperatures ideal for dry fly trout ( NOTE: unfortunately the USGS temperature gauges are installed at the 'worst spots' on the Muskegon and Manistee- by the top spill dams operating from warmed up ponds currently operating now. The water temps actually cool as you get farther downstream with all the thousands of springs, cool night- especially on the Muskegon , thus cooling the water- although the bubbler operations are providing "ideal" comfort (dissolved oxygen being as important or if not more important than temperature ) for the fish regardless of actual Fahrenheit temps- mid 60's are ideal for total surface orientation for the fish!- Bob nymphed a riffle that we hammered the trout on dries the other day and only took one trout- meanwhile we hooked several dozen on dries- total surface orientation at this time of year due to low clear waters)
( non- obvious)
(Obvious-note cold water loving/alkaline watercress along shoreline-image taken at 5 F in January )
( despite the obvious springs we see, there are thousands of tiny rivulets that are between 47-51F for miles and miles throughout the entire tailwaters we take for granted- here are some I took yesterday after examining shoreline rocks for caddis larvae- which BTW! are still loaded in larvae stage and ready to pop any day- they as all things lately are running way behind in maturation- these are all a function of "plus or minus heating and cooling days", which or 'global cooling' winters put a major damper on the "norm"- Wish we had a college/university hydro or fisheries biologist student looking for  master's degree thesis material studying thermal refuge/trout migration/prey ditribution and biological drift models on our tailwaters- we would finally have some "unbiased and realistic data to manage our resources!- Mark Guzniczak? )

( beauty of midging is that it can be done year round- 365- deep January Muskegon bow surface feeding in air temps in the teensF )

I am aware that size #20 flies scare most anglers. Also hook penetration and hooking confidence is lacking due to smaller gapes in hooks. The first most important thing you should do is have regular eye exams and bi-focals so you can see - sounds basic , but you would not believe the difference in vision you will have especially if you are older.
HOOKS- Daiichi has speciality midges hooks with a very wide gape in tiny sizes. I always bend my hook gape outwards in the vice to increase hook ups immensely- here is a size #24 bwo minutiae with one of the Daiichi speciality hooks
LEADERS- I use 18 foot leaders with 5-8 feet of 6-7x tippets for supper long dead drifts and easy manipulation of the fly. Some are saying, how the hell do you turn that over?...EASY, they will cast like 9 foot leaders. If you buy your leaders , buy a 12 foot /4x, take the butt loop section ( .023-.021) off an old leader and just blood know a 3 foot section extension of the butt- thiu making your leader top heavy which allows you to cast any length.- so 3 feet of old butt nailed to the new 12 footer, than add your 5 feet of 6/7x.
TECHNIQUE- Midges act slightly like caddis as dries- they skitter, twitch, dead drift. Impart very, very subtle twitches and than long dead drifts to your dries.

 ( not all trout are on the smaller side when midging- this 27 inch brown from Wisconsin's Driftless spring creeks was caught midging on a hot June day on a #22 WMD-weapons of midge destruction pupae)

The internet is loaded with midge information and patterns. My Selectivity book and DVD has tons of midge information and patterns /techniques. If you could find this old article I wrote as a very young man in the early 90's on midging in American Angler, there is a ton of information in it
Also next month  in Fly Fisherman magazine ( September) I have an article coming out on spring creek/tailwaters forage feeding profiles-midges included and two new midge patterns.
The next two months will have epic dry fly fishing on our tailwaters- come out and experience the magic. Yes salmon and steelhead are fun....but once you get hooked on minutiae dry fly fishing for trout, you will become an endless minutiae  junkie- trust me! my Paint Creek Selectivity Clinic in two weeks Ill be covering midging in greater detail- The beauty of Michigan trouting is we have it all!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Amazing Michigan weather....Everything is Bustin Loose- So many choices !

God what amazing weather..daytime highs in the upper 50's/low cover- polar fleece in August!,,,these guys are loving it! The plethora offering of Michigan is amazing at this time of year and gets better by the day!

DRY FLY TROUT: Hatches are exploding at dusk on the Muskegon: tiny pseudo BWOS, midges, caddis a few steno Cahill's...saw two fall Isonychia that were eaten immediately by a husky brownie(sadleri)- swallows working hard last night. Water levels perfect and cooling down nicely on Muskegon and Manistee tailwaters!....the wild strain spring Gilchrist browns stocked are getting fat eating caddis, midges and water daphnia/scuds from the tailwater-couldn't be better!  HINT:...The trout are now in the shallowest flats and vegetation-where are the bugs are! - SAW SOME HOG BROWNS ROOTING THE SHALLOW VEGETAION RIGHT ON THE SHORELINES LAST NIGHT IN LESS THAN A FOOT OF WATER!...
Pere Marquette mousing/night Ptery time stone game still on...terrestrials and tricos daytime
White , Bigalow/Penoyer  creeks wild brookies starting to get fall spawning color and sipping terrestrials/tricos- caddis at dark. We have thousands of miles of blue ribbon tiny trout streams that nobody fishes!....NOW! is the time to fish them before the season closes. Fish are aggressive/a packing on the weight before the spawn. We tend to place to much attention on the bigger rivers- these small stream fish are starving for attention!

SUMMER SKAMANIA STEELHEAD/SALMON - yes!...better two months late than never, the summer runs are just making a big push on the St .Joe and Manistee...doesn't get better since everyone gave up on them!.cohos soon to come!
Big fat chrome kings are being taken in lower Pere Marquette by the crank thunder crew!..few have come into the Muskegon and are heading for deep poolville!...looking very healthy!


*ANN ARBOR TROUT UNLIMITED: I'll be their speaker on September 14th..hope to see you there!
*NOMAD ANGLERS, ROCHESTER PAINT CREEK SELECTIVITY CLINIC- SEPT 19TH-PAINT CREEK FLY FESTIVAL -SEPT 18.....Hope to see you there!..still spots available- call Nomad Anglers- Rochester Hills, Michigan

* FLY FISHERMAN MAGAZINE-My spring creek (PFP) predator foraging profile with some of my cool new /effective patterns  for those chalk stream trout bums will be on newsstands in September
GREG SENYO'S NEW/FIRST BOOK Release/Signing at Schultz Outfitters- don't miss it!-Sept 8th- I was honored that Greg asked me to do the forward!

..DOW ticker tape and the political circus  got you down? ...don't worry- go fish, get invigorated and be happy!...hope to see you - still have some good dates available!...cheers/na zdrowie!...
yours truly, 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

THE 'FINAL FINALLY'!... SUMMER STEELHEAD RUN OF 2015 , H20..and other scary thoughts!

( The 'skinny' subtitle on this blog outside of the pontificating blog side of me likes to do IS: My clients hooked 7 summer steelhead yesterday- best of the year so far!- so I proclaim  it has finally started!- better two months late than never, eh?)

No single participant in the chase for the bizarre summer run of 2015 has been more confused than the fabulous summer Skamania steelhead themselves! Eight years ago I predicted that global climate change ( note: not global warming!, because the Great Lakes, Northeastern North America and other parts of the globe have seen 'cooling/ice age' conditions , while the western global basks in droughts, wildfires, brutal heat all the way to Alaska), will wreak more havoc on fishing conditions/migratory run timing, which affect guides, outfitters/lodges, vacations travel plans, airlines and our daily lives in so many small incremental ways that creep into our lives unnoticed. 

Meanwhile floods devastate other areas, the stock market is tanking.( good news is gas prices might fall below 2.00 by next week!- more fishing road trips folks that we don't have to give windfall profits to fat cat billionaire oil moguls and  Muslims, which all lands in ISIS hands eventually). 

However the most bizarre , but totally understandably since our country has been so screwed over in the last 8 years of an administration that hadn't a clue how to run domestic and world affairs , is that the U.S. is rallying around Trump ( who I actually find to be a breath of fresh air from the  career family legacy Bush/Clinton garbage politicians that are in the running today.  But is this a" somewhat eerie" rise in popularity that Trump is escalating to as he is filling stadiums with 30,000 like in Nuremberg late 1930's to the likes of chilling reminiscent  dictators like Hitler, who appeared out of nowhere and mesmerized through a fanatical frenzy a nation that was so desperate for change from corruption, moral decay and a depression/recession/joblessness, similar to the current state of our union-nevertheless, it will be an interesting year ahead. The fact that he wants to somewhat eradicate ( ship them off/out) a certain ethnic minority also scares me- will it be America's holocaust ? many positive and yet bizarre crazy notions from this man is a creepy twist! Trump is reflection of how desperate and disgusted Americans are with the political correctness, bizarre transgender/liberal religious and ethical desecration we are forced to swallow which was not what and how this country was founded on and "was once" a great nation ? Having experienced a Polish Communist school when I was 9 years old , the frightening future of the USA given the wrong socialistic  government leaders scares the living hell out of me!..let alone the debt we owe China and Japan.

Sorry for my Sunday soapbox rant- its my blog!.

Back to my topic, the entire ecosystem of the Great Lakes is in a state of major ecological upheaval - so the apex predators: salmon , steelhead and other trout , also the parasitic/opportunistic predators:, lamprey eels , are most affected.Besides the falling bait fish population dilemma : collapsing populations in Michigan/Huron, too much in Lake Ontario which caused a massive die -off of steelhead last fall and spring from Thiamine deficiency, has biologists looking into their unknown crystal balls that are not calibrated for proactive methods but panic! 

So since steelhead and salmon don't have calendars and 30 year "normal flow charts", they are the ones totally confused. This spring on the Muskegon and many Michigan/Ontario tributaries we had spring steelhead spawning until June 22.We had a cold July- an August of somewhat cool weather- probably one day that "maybe!" hit 90?. 

The summer Skamania are two months late, but starting to trickle in- just as confused as the fishermen and biologists. 

BUT!....the big question is "where is all the water going, how is it being managed?"-H20. HERE ARE FOUR SCARY FACTS! , that we , the fish and our futures are held at bay.

The Big 1.Nestle /Perrier-corporate greed. Just returning from the St Joe that was so flooded May/June/July. it is now low and starting to look "drought like "again. The Muskegon had some of the most record rainfalls this spring and early summer and it is low and dropping again for weeks. I floated the Pere Marquette a week ago and never recall the water being that low in decades. On a conspiracy note, is the dark world order-"Illuminati", sucking out all the water through massive siphons storing them in 100 mile subsurface reservoirs for the final days?...fiction but interesting.

IMHO,the culprit is not the dark world order , not global climate change but the way we live, consume and rape the environment .Out of control greedy profits from Nestle /Perrier  are and will continue destroying our Michigan rivers. Americans are drinking more bottled water than ever before in history. Due to droughts in areas we are subliminally exporting water to these areas- the consumption is absolutely SCARY!- increasing by 10-15 % yearly for the past 20 years. We are sucking so much water out of the aquifers that bottled water is dirt cheap- for a 24 bottle pack 4.00 bucks?-insane.Nestle /Perrier have two gigantic bottling plants at the largest aquifer in Michigan which feeds the world steelhead/salmon/trout utopias of the Muskegon, White, Pere Marquette, Manistee micro capillary subterranean aquifers. Since these plants have been in operation we have "no baseline' flows- we go from flood to drought in a snap of the fingers which is not the normal

The Big 2.Is it Climate Change- or the new norm? -NEVER before has the Great Lakes frozen over completely in two "back-to back" years like it did in 2013/14...and 2104/15. The impact on plankton production due to lack of light penetration through the thick ice , bait fish mortality, massively cold water temperature regimes spread out throughout the Great Lakes - not just the normal clusters that never recovered from the first ice age 2013/14, can be staggering on how the entire ecosystem performs and operates. Since the mid 1900's and the salmon/steelhead invasion, along with exotic invaders, we now have no benchmark to judge how all these effect the timing of runs, overall health of the fish and growth rates and how exotic and indigenous flora and fauna will perform in the mix. The delayed runs of Skamania in 2015  is the "canary in the coal mine" of how dysfunctional the system is.

The Big 3. The US Fish and Wildlife- federal government incompetence has been "pulverizing" our Michigan Rivers like never seen before treating them with green Lampricide "TFM"- meant to kill parasitic lamprey larva . Last year they "poisoned" the Muskegon , killing brown trout, rainbow trout, walleye...But most importantly the food chain- "aquatic" insects: mayflies, caddis, stone flies etc.-there are studies on this- we are seeing lesser bugs lately though the hatches are still there but nowhere in intensity of the past.. Last week they treated the Bigelow creek tributary and other Michigan rivers. The big ???...IS, why are we seeing more steelhead and salmon returning with lamprey than ever before????... despite the millions being spent?- the treatments which are not eco-friendly and always end up with a responses when they kill fish by accident  like' maybe we used too much chemical in the saturation mix "!..bullshit !!! There is one certainty. Corporations revolve around greed and predation- flip side<  state and federal government- apathy, corruption and total incompetence.  

The Big 4. Consumers Power- corporate greed, continues to mismanage  flows on FERC licensed  hydro dam rivers - Muskegon , Manistee, Au Sable) which nobody is holding them accountable for. Four major "shut downs" that killed fish/insects and the ecosystem components this year alone has occurred. Their only response is " glitch in the computers tripping" . They have become so greedy in corporate profits that they can't hire one staffer to sit and monitor a computer screen and prevent a glitch in water flows that are devastating. The DNR tolerates it!...conservation agencies have given up. Total apathy and impotence is now the "new normal".Sad!...and we wonder why a 'Trump'  comes along and and has a cult following?...seriously?  

Finally, on the lighter side and the good news, summer steelhead are coming in! The next three weeks will be awesome fishing along with a potential massive bumper crop of coho's ready to assault the St .Joe any day!...I'm excited. Schools are starting, summer is a memory, nobody will be on the rivers but me, my clients and the fish- could be epic!- Come out and experience the future and the new normal- or is there one?...cheers!- go fish!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

West Coast Pacific Salmon in pools...Great Lakes style!

( For the past 12 years I have been experimenting and loving swinging classic west coast salmon wets for salmon staging in pools- if you are sick of the old Great Lakes 'snag -and drag' salmon fishing!-this is the only way to go!- get them while they still have a bit of an aggressive tendency) 

Sorry!...but Pacific Kings in the Great Lakes have gotten a bad rap from the 'snag-and drag' fiasco...word! People see me parked on 14 foot deep pools for weeks thinking I'm a dummy. Yeah I know..the 'money in the dummy' gig is easy coin for guides, but you owe it to your clients to make them appreciate these fish that when stacked by the hundreds in deep pools still have a fraction of aggressive/active tendency. Granted its much easier to 'floss fish' on gravel', but there really is not much sport in that eh?
Not trying to preach from the soap box cause I/ everyone in the GL has done the gravel gig at one time or another in our development- and done legally there is nothing wrong with it-'a fly in the mouth is a fly in the a fly in the mouth-period!"
Because of all the down and across swinging wets I have done over the decades for Atlantic salmon and looking at the west coast gunslinger schools of Schaadt/Waller/Combs and the many , many California king boys comet/boss era, I took the same techniques and applied them to the Great Lakes- you wont catch me with a spinning rod and thunder stick just because that's me, my choice and I don't own or want to invest in spinning equipment. NOW, there is nothing wrong- actually its the most ethical way to go for these zip lock mouth fish, plus all the fly guy guides all over are doing it because it catches fish that actually strike and are aggressive !!!
 Yeah, many may think I might be gay putting that much time into a comet/boss fly: jungle cock, spey fly materials etc., BUT!!! I find it so much more rewarding to hook a salmon, watch it jump 8 times in 10 feet of water, run into hundreds of yards of backing and fight it for 20 minutes-EXHILARATING!
 Also, my clients have become addicted to this fishing which can be done long after salmon have gone to garvel- trust me!
Fish are still fresh, 'somewhat' aggressive and you stand the best game out of them!
It will be starting soon!- cohos on the St Joe, then kings on the Muskegon.

 If you want to try something new and exciting/different, I'd be happy to teach you the nuances of this very exciting pacific salmon fishing -Great Lakes style! Can be done with single or two handed rods-traditional lines or new age spey/intermediate lines- your call!


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