Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ultimate Buffalo Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries- Perfect Super Bowl eats!!!

Everybody is in love with Buffalo Chicken wings!!. I remember growing up in Niagara Falls/Grand Island and going to the Anchor bar- home of the original comfort food delicacy . Everyone thinks there is some"mystery sauce' and don't think they can make a tailgate indoor buffet that will knock you and your guests/friends socks off!!! Couple these with your own homemade Sweet Potato Cottage Fries, and 'BAHM-BINGO!!!!, you have a killer that people will talk about for ever.And YES!, you don't need a deep fryer to make this all 'Delish".

 The "secret sauce' , that you can make at home is this "Frank's Red Hot" and butter, and cayenne pepper for even more heat if you desire- Frank's by itself is hot enough. Duff's in Buffalo is now the new preference, since their wings are meatier and juicy plump offerings. That is why in addition to wings I use drumsticks  and thighs.

So here is the simple deal.
* Get a good assortment of wings, drumsticks and thighs. Wash and put them in large zip lock bags with Italian dressing- marinate for at least two hours
* heat oven to 375
* get large cooking sheets and line with aluminum foil and spray with PAM so chicken does not stick
* line chicken up on baking sheets and sprinkle with salt, pepper. , Paprika and parsley flakes
* bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 until skin is showing crispness.
* get a sauce pot/pan and empty one large bottle of Frank's Red Hot and whisk/melt in one unsalted stick of butter under low heat...One bottle and stick of butter is usually good for 4-5 people ....taste and add cayenne pepper if needed
* serve chicken on a platter and cover with a healthy coating of Buffalo sauce/sprinkle with parsley flakes.... and have a dipping bowl for those that want more sauce and heat, 
* accompany with celery and carrot sticks, chop/julienne sticks of green, red and orange bell peppers and dip in a bowl of Blue Cheese dressing...if you want softer peppers, roast them in Olive oil at 400 for 8 minutes- retain crispness for dipping


* buy medium sized yams/sweet potatoes. Leave skin on and quarter and then slice into wedges
* put them in zip lock bags and add a healthy dose of olive oil, several spoons of Paprika and pepper...toss and mix ingredients well until all fries are covered. Marinate for two hours
* bake at 400 for 20 minutes or so ( keep watching them until outside is crispy and poke with fork for desired softness)
* throw in platter or bowl, top off with sea salt- dip in fresh Salsa, ketchup or green onion chip dip....DELISH!!!!

All February is my 'Ethnic American Comfort Food " month...more to come...BTW, an  Italian lady made the first Buffalo wings..they were chicken scraps from Chicken  Parmesan/ Marsala  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Predicting and excellent Winter and Spring Steelhead Run-Here's why!- Forage Base looking Up

With temperatures approaching 40F this weekend (last week in January 2016) and with so far a very mild winter, we are seeing a good number of fresh "Valentine's Day' steelhead already coming into the river systems after the past full "wolf 'moon cycle.

After my nice long discussion with the" Doctor" of Great Lakes forage base knowledge- Chuck Madenjian at the USGS in Ann Arbor, MI, who does the trawl netting bait fish sampling of the lakes, despite a long-term uncertainty with the alewife population- which has always been severely cyclical, he was very optimistic about the 2014/15 year class of alwives . It is something charter captains have been noticing despite doom and gloom data collections from Chuck. 

The last few steelhead I have caught guiding are showing signs that that they are feeding heavily on that year class, along with other bloater chubs, sticklebacks, gobies- and more recent in the diet mix: the growing perch, sculpin and smelt populations, which are on the increase, along with anything they can get their mouth around. Warmer lake temps translate into more aggressive/active feeding, rather than passive/dormant states of predator behavior, like we have seen in the past two brutal Polar Vortex winters . (#Selectivity).

Yesterday we saw one of a series of half dozen "solid' decent sized females/males that were more of the shape of what we are used to seeing on the Muskegon- large and rotund- not thin and undernourished like we saw at the beginning of the fall .

(January 28th- well proportioned hen steel)

( Jan/2016- well proportioned male- Dr. Zaccheo)

 Despite a dismal fall,  by early December , we started seeing hefty steelhead, with body shapes that indicated excellent forage and growth.
(Here are Dr. Davidson and the Steelhead Queen in December /2015 with some gorgeous well proportioned females from the 'old mold cut'.)

This bodes well for a strong spring run since the fall run was weak due to warm and low waters in November. ( weak fall runs have translated to 'stronger' spring runs in past history- but not always!) Later running  gives the steelhead extra time to pack down on bait fish during the December/January period as they approach shorelines with river effluent/power plant discharges, which attract bait- like Consumers Power plant on Muskegon Lake were bait stacks up- especially with a mild 'el nino' winter.

Our trout have also been feeding heavily on the Muskegon, and especially the Big Manistee below Tippy , which is loaded with an insane population of  12-16 inch brown trout , and should be great size by the time the first salmon sac fry hatch and the first egg laying female stone flies are on the water in April/May....lots of good stuff to look forward to! Remember, everything has been running "LATE' for the past two years with the massive Great Lakes ice overs and cold temperatures- nothing new! As global warming heated the rest of the planet, the Great Lakes were in a virtual ice-age.

For more interesting reading, here is an excellent article explaining more of the story.

( Are Lake Michigan steelhead this size still possible- we will see very shortly)              

Cheers!...hope to see you in 2016!- very optimistic about this spring based on what we are currently witnessing .

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Deep winter Selective Michigan Tail water Trout- an Underestimated Passion

( Michigan trout are not just for opening day Hendricksons- scuds/midges/caddis are bread and butter all winter)

I love January on our Muskegon River tailwater- today's afternoon indy nymphing . Our Eagle Lake California strain rainbows are so beautiful and avid scud, midge and caddis larvae eating predators- fat footballs that fight like Big Delaware bows even in 34F water temps. These bows took my 'Super Scud': ‪#‎Hareline‬ UV Ice Dub Shrimp Pink,# Kiley's Scud Skin- a killer in winter with great pulsing movement. Our Michigan rivers are all spring creeks cut from a different mold- highly alkaline even though they have freestone and conifer acidic influences. Scuds are everywhere, extreme high protein intake and 'way' too underutilized and fished...cheers!- great weather for winter nymphing and trout are on the hunt!
( a fat healthy Eagle Lake strain Rainbow from yesterday, January /2016)

(If you are trophy "truttasaurus" hunting with streamer meat, February on the Muskegon and Manistee has seen us catch the largest resident and lake-run post spawn browns that are ferocious and hungry!)
( Fat Bastard!...a Muskegon brown that was floating belly up in February, looked dead!!!- was netted by anglers next to me- was choking on a bluegill that spilled over from the reservoir- we removed the gill, performed CPR, and it swam away- it was this close to snuffing it!- the aggressive gluttony browns will subject themselves to is amazing- that's why streamer guys love their gig!)

*Much to your surprise, winter trout can be as selectivity driven even when the waters are 34-36F- even though metabolisms are way down. The excellent supply of scuds/midges/caddis larvae/stonefly nymphs and annelids etc., keep them on the constant move and constant hunt.Keep moving until you find fish and dont go back to the 'Proverbial well: hot spots" too often-FISH ARE CONSTANTLY MOVING WITH THE FOOD SUPPLY!
*Concentrate on slower sucker water back eddies/vegetation areas and inside/outside river bends- shallow spots that deliver bio drift and have upwelling currents and spring seeps.
* Indy or Euro nymphing very slowly and scraping the bottom are the key-winter "holes" are not always the deepest spots- they are the periphery/edges
*Though your hands are cold, keep switching tandem patterns as often as possible- have a Mr. Heater with you for the hands and a little bourbon/cognac
(Zago's meat wagon)

* Big Meaty Game Changers, D&D's , Double D's work well but keep them moving slow and crippled- swing/jerk-drift/strip/lift/stumble your streamers-ESPECIALLY WHEN WATER TEMPS ARE IN MIDDLE 30'F- southern tailwaters are much warmer-White/Holsten- let them rip fast and furious due to higher metabolisms and fast moving bait fish
Good Luck- enjoy winter!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Boyne Mountain Resort/Outfitters Selectivity Clinic with Matt Supinski in Michigan's Winter Wonderland!

In Michigan's magnificent winter wonderland, there could not be a better place to be in February than the world class Boyne Mountain Resort and Boyne Outfitters, in the heart of the Nordic highlands of the Great Lakes and Hemingway country! World class skiing and winter sports, a European style spa, luxurious resort lodging reminiscent of Switzerland and Colorado, epicurean gourmet cuisine and spirits, and yes!, fly fishing!

Northern Michigan is surrounded by some of the most beautiful wild trout, steelhead and salmon rivers east of the Mississippi . Even though it is winter, come inside and indulge your fly angling mind with a thought provoking journey and clinic into the mind of trout, salmon and steelhead behavior, tactics and 'cracking the code' for success!, all brought to you by proprietor Ethan Winchester of Boyne Outfitters and special guest Matthew Supinski.
( what the critics are saying about 'Selectivity')

Join Matt Supinski for a day of selectivity - understanding and fine-tuning your angling techniques to varying salmonid behaviors.  The morning session will be an in-house clinic discussing Matt's theory of selectivity, how it applies to your angling environment, and how to change your angling to meet the needs of the fish.  The afternoon session will be fly tying session focusing on some of Matt's tried-&-true fly patterns for Great Lakes trout, salmon and steelhead.  Following the afternoon session, Matt will be available in Boyne Outfitters for a meet & greet, as well as signing his book, Selectivity, available at Boyne Outfitters
  • DATE: Saturday, February 13th
  • SELECTIVITY SESSION [Morning]: 9a-12p
  • FLY TYING SESSION [Afternoon]: 1-3p
  • COST:  FREE!  However, class size is limited and an RSVP is required.  Each session is separate, so RSVP to one or the other, or both!  Please call 231.549.6064 to reserve your spot!
  • EXPERIENCE LEVEL:  All levels are invited to attend the Selectivity session.  Intermediate fly tying skill is recommended for the tying session.
  • REQUIRED:  Selectivity Session...a willingness to learn!  Fly Tying Session...vice, tools, materials.  Suggested materials list available upon request.
Matt Supinski is a renowned fly fishing author/ guide/photographer/consultant, culinary trained chef, food and spirits connoisseur and world adventurist specializing in progressive techniques in the pursuit of trout, salmon, and steelhead in the Great Lakes region and beyond.  For nearly 50 years, Matt has dedicated his life to understanding the behavior of salmonid species and has developed his "selectivity" theory based on his experiences around the world and most notably in the Great Lakes, where he was born and raised in Niagara Falls and also in Europe.  Matt's passion and knowledge for steelhead and Atlantic salmon on the fly is unmatched, studying closely the ‘life survival predator strategies’ and how the fish feed and behave to all the stimuli anglers must encompass and focus on when in pursuit . In 2010 he guided Tom Aufiero to an IFGA record for landlocked Atlantic salmon right here in Michigan! He has been a regional editor for FLY FISHERMAN magazine for close to two decades, columnist for many publications and has written hundreds of articles, 5 books, DVD’s and guest TV appearances. His books and DVD will be for sale and Matt will be glad to autograph them for you. Matt and his wife, Laurie,operate Gray Drake Lodge & Outfitters on the banks of the Muskegon , along with outfitting destination excursions .

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