Sunday, November 24, 2019

Come and see what all the Nexus Passion is all about?

                                                             SEE YOU THERE!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Last Week's Beastly Truttasaurus Brown!

Last week's beast of a brown!...congrats Dan! ( while guiding with Matt in Michigan)- story on his Facebook page

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


                                           ( Master steelheader Chris Desmond from Chicago, with one of two absolute beasts of mint chrome fall steelhead I've seen in 24 years of guiding ( hitting upper teens/20 lbs/38-39 inches, massive girth)
It has been an excellent and early start to our fall steelheading winter Michigan strain steelhead runs of the Muskegon 2019/2020. With the best  high water levels I've seen in decades, and a massive size (20-30 lbers) of spawning wild Chinook salmon fish unleashing a barrage of eggs into the river system, streelhead have been responding to the pheremonal lure of all the egg caviar and are on the poaching hunt for eggs. They are also slamming a well presented intruder on the two handed swing.
The steelhead run starts to peak in November and December on the Muskegon, with a hopeful bunch of large lake-run browns also to follow. That is when swinging flies really gets into its prime element....see you this fall and winter!
    ( Roy from CT yesterday 10/21 with one of the most beautiful female fall steelhead I've seen!, look at those gorgeous colors!)

NOTE: check out my client from last December as the true cover girl on this issue of Fly Fisherman Magazine, with her Muskegon steelhead, the very adorable and talented photographer: Jesssica DeLorenzo from PA, with a beast of a Muskegon December steelhead, also my very concise article on getting to know winter steelhead, called "Icy Steel"
( coming next: Lake-Run Browns and fall Great Lakes Atlantic Salmon!)

Thursday, October 10, 2019


                         ( Master Muskegon River guide, associate and friend: Jon Fortuna, one of the fishy-est dudes I know, with "THE" most perfect brownie I have ever seen!- a true massive congrats Jon! )
In case you haven't noticed, I'm passionately obsessed, possessed and compulsive with all things  Salmo: salar and trutta-browns and Atlantic's- the "Atlantic trouts" . My Nexus book on them was the most difficult and thought draining tome I've ever embarked on. #browntroutatlanticsalmonnexus
 When a fish touches your soul at at a very early age in the impressionable boyhood stage like brown trout and Atlantic salmon did on the Baltic rivers of northern Poland that I open my Nexus book chapters with, the power of these fish to cast a spell on you for life is simply spellbinding .
When Jon a few days on one of his evening trips texted me this image of the brown he just caught with client, I could feel his shaking/trembling with joy and humbleness coming through the texted image. When I first saw it, I was awestruck by the truly magnificence of this brown's "perfect" morphology/color spectrum/allele spotting patterns- everything about this #groundzerobrowntrout specimen- simply amazing does not do Jon's catch justice. When writing #Nexus I have looked through thousands of images of brown trout for the book- some of mine and other world class photographers so kind to gift me with their works) Here is why this fish is so special.
Ground Zero Genetic Infusion 
In Nexus I romanticize the importance of our subliminal  micro- ecosystem of tiny to medium cold flowing spring-fed wooded rivers from Newaygo to Baldwin, Michigan. Here in 1884, a special train came up from the Federal Fish Hatchery- Northville, MI to stock the "first brown trout"west of the the Atlantic ocean in civilization's new world western hemisphere- kinda a big deal ! 
Baron Von Behr's promise to send his beloved Black Forest German brown trout was on that train. They are typical of  the many brown trout strains of internal river systems in Europe : mix of brown spots with red dots circled with white rings, orange "butter" bellies, and a blue sapphire dot on the cheeks- a beautiful creature! These were and still are the main allele configurations of our ground -zero browns in our Michigan legacy. Our progressive Michigan DNR, leaders in fish culture for centuries, have preserved these German brown genetics by stocking Wild Gilchrist Creek browns at fingerling stages in rivers where natural reproduction needs help. 
As time progressed, other strains of brown trout came to the new world such as Scotland's Loch Leven and more coastal estuary/large water body specimens that had access at one point or still do to the Atlantic and surrounding seas, thus having less spotting and more silvery forage pelagic based allele structures that favor their life survival strategies.
Loch Levens when river based tend to have the more fuller brown spotting/leopard spot looks dominance in their appearance. Michigan uses a Wild Rose ( Wisconsin originated) brown that has faster growth potentials than the much more elusive and shy Black Forest German Forellen( Bach Forellen is German stream brown trout). Jon's perfect specimen embodies all these allele spotting into a fusion that takes on massive artistic implications. The fusion of leopard spotting with red crimson cell-like spots , extreme orange butter, reddish blood marking transitions, a cluster of leopard spotting running into the lower belly like Marble Trout of Slovenia....the artistic diagnosis never ends with this fish!)
The Muskegon is one of the most fertile rivers I've ever witnessed. Since it is a tailwater that connects inland lake reservoirs and the Great Lakes it has a massive infusion of ecosystems that fuel the food chain in both directions. After years of lobbying for Type 3 regulations to create a trophy brown trout population, our new and talented /dedicated biologist Mark Tonello of the MDNR had the wisdom to implement these regulations and the brown trout populations are responding nicely and growing larger!
A big part of a brown trout's appearance /lifestyle and diet come from their genetic backgrounds and what they forage on, including adapting their morphology to their habitat type/water color and viscosity.
This "perfect" brown has an ideal mix of genetics that was fueled by an extreme diversity of prey. Robustly colored  browns usually result from extreme aquatic insect and freshwater crustacean, which the Muskegon has an enormous amount of. Crayfish, scuds and the entire aquatic insect smorgasbord of mayflies, caddis, stone flies and midges abound. Also bait fish such as sculpins, darters, chubs, sucker minnows and salmon /steelhead fry add to the mix. Couple these with the seasonal onslaught of eggs from spawning salmon, steelhead and suckers and the food supply is mind boggling, thus creating morphological vibrancy .
Bottom Line: All About The Fish
To me and many others, the fly fishing journey is more than just the catching. It is in the appreciation and adventure to witness the beauty of the natural order of things of God's creation. No fish is more stunning, sporting and beguiling , and captivating of the soul and eyes than Salmo-#civilizationsfoundingfish. Vision is a divine blessing we often take for granted. When you lay eyes on Jon's brown trout, a magnificently balanced beast of 30 million years in the making, you can only be humbled by the power of the natural world- how anyone can kill a fish of this beauty is beyond my comprehension. To all the guides and anglers that practice catch-and-release , the Salmo gods bless you!- especially with our Atlantic salmon populations that need mankind's help now more than ever.
One thing is for sure: you will be seeing more trophy brown trout ( Truttasaurus!), and stunning looking ones at that, in the years to come from the Mighty Muskegon!
(blogger's note: A year after my Nexus book was released, Jon's brown made me realize once again what emotional joy we receive when we catch a big brown! those that worship these fish, more of this adventure is in my Nexus pages)