Friday, August 29, 2014

When it comes to fishing, Michigan is king.  Plain and simple.  If all the fishing was contained in Lake St. Claire, we still would have the best fishing.  Still there is some awesome fishing next door to us.  Wisconsin has the Driftless area.  A small stream trout fisherman's paradise.  It is enjoying a banner year.  When the likes of Lefty Kreh and Dave Whitlock sing the praises of northern Wisconsin smallies you know you have a great fishery.  Hayward and its mighty muskie mania is legendary. 

So, lots of good fishing in Wisconsin.  Lots of it is famous, you know what I am talking about. 

This is not that type of story.  I wanted small stream USA.  County fairs, cow crap, no paths along the banks of the streams and feisty fish.  Opening a Gazetteer it is harder than you would think.  Smallmouth are listed as being in a fraction of the rivers in Wisco.  So I asked around- made some calls and headed out. 

The fishing was great.  Plenty of willing fish, destroying poppers and big enough pike to shred mono tippet.  There were enough decent fish to make the fishing worth it.  Cows, domestic ducks, crows and chipmunks were my companions.  Great conversation though I am certain the cows really enjoyed seeing me get my fly out of trees. 

After spending some much time tying my flies, organizing my pack it was totally refreshing to head out with a single box of flies in my pocket, some tippet and hemostats.  Nothing else- car keys hidden, camera in the car and the bloody cell phone turned off somewhere in the car. 

I drove through some towns.  Ate at an A&W- remember those.  Root Beer (on Tap) out of a frosted mug it was brilliant.  Small town tackle shops that had never seen a fly fishermen in the shop.  And the tail end of a county fair.  The fishing was great, people were friendly and grass was soft to sleep on.  Now if I could just figure out how to do this all the time life would be so choice. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Anticipation, Humility and Fun

Ice and ore boats- a common sight these days

For weeks now I have been living for May 15- the opener of smallies, pike, walleye, and muskie in the UP.  Rearranging my fly boxes, following the massive fish caught in lower Michigan and Ohio.  Listening to my friend’s brag about all their fish and making fun of me for living in the UP.  Well, I would show them- massive pigs would be landed on the 15th.  So big that the Bassmaster would change over to flies only and big soulless outdoor retail stores would go out of business.  Small fly shops would thrive and those of us who are still dealing with snow and ice in the UP would be rewarded for our strength to make it through a harsh winter.  
Pretty as sunshine and as sweet as rain.  Brookie streams are little jems

So a guy can dream, right.  May 15th was snowy, windy and cold.  Still I  was determined no more switch rods, no more eggs, no more swinging.  Stripping streamers, flies that kick hard and maybe even some poppers were the name of the game.  Changing lots of flies- staring into my boxes looking for some eureka moment.  Pounding good looking water.  Praying to the fish gods.  All for one fish.  One fish that would make it all better.  Sometimes that fish is a flash.  A flash of color behind my fly after a long day.  It was awesome.  I was totally happy with the day.  Yea ,I didn’t catch any fish yea my friends will still give me crap for living up here.  But the wind was blowing, the snow was slowly stopping, small deer were running around and I was standing in the middle of a brilliant river with nobody around.  Of all the places that I have lived this is the best place in the world.  The rewards might not be what you want but they will be want you need.  

Water that saved my day or at least my attitude.  Pike flash ain't bad

The next day I pushed in a new area and fished a brilliant little brookie stream.  Eager, fearless little beauties kept me occupied for most of the day.  With the light dying I decided to pack it in. I have already hit a deer this year and a second this early in the year was not in the cards.  All in all, a great two days.  As I am writing this and avoiding work, it is warm and sunny.  My plans for the summer are laid who in OCD detail- lots of new water, so golden oldies and lots more awesome fishing in the UP.  To paraphrase the last Calvin and Hobbes comic- lets go exploring.
New water that is on my list- looks like fun.  Tons of deer, beavers, grouse and hopefully fish

Monday, April 21, 2014

New flies added!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After numerous requests my confidence flies all in one selection.  Most of your fishing needs will be covered.  A great gift for any angler.  I call this selection my Utility Box.

Friday, April 18, 2014

I am getting so tired of posting pictures of flies.  But if the rumors are true we will be getting up to 50 degrees in the next few days and our chances at fish will increase radically soon.  It is fun though to fish the river mouths and see big ore boats and Coast Guard boats stuck in the ice.  Until that happens fly posts and pictures.

Often when you first start tying flies you get a flash of inspiration and throw a bunch of materials on a hook.  The flies often look awesome but are rarely any good.  In fact, I recently was told that Kelly Galloup has over 80% of his flies fail.  I don't feel so bad anymore but this isn't about making great flies.  Its about having fun at the vice and not really caring about the results. 

With this in mind: Tarpon Toad + Tarpon Snake + GhettoSuperStar + Whiskey = it's gonna be awesome.  I don't care about the results, it looks awesome in my head.  What do you think it will look like in the end?