Friday, November 27, 2015


(The Wild Rose WI strain  here MI uses in its hatchery programs is a gorgeous brown strain- problem is they take a long time to "get their 'wild' on'- a little too domesticated...Ashallie with May 2015 Muskegon trutta perfection caught poaching on sucker eggs -golden caviar bar none- CBetts image)
(  A beasty Muskegon Wild Rose brown -JBacon image)
( check out video of wild Sturgeon strain brown trout stocking in Muskegon November 25th/2015 courtesy of Matt Z Zudweg- Facebook)

The Muskegon tailwater is an extremely fertile ecosystem that has produced trophy brown trout for decades, despite not being managed for such due to much attention on the steelhead, salmon, walleye and rainbow trout fisheries. 
The brown trout- salmo trutta, is the ideal "fit" for this very fertile tailwater river and other woody debris and spring fed MI cold rivers to produce a world class big brown trout fishery that could eventually rival the White, Delaware etc. if managed properly. The Au Sable/P.M/Upper Manistee already has those fisheries but  they lack protective slot regulations to protect 'breeder" stock for their wild fisheries, which  other serious brown trout states have in place.

With this initial planting of wild Sturgeon strain-11/25/15, finally and hopefully our point is being drilled home to our managers after years of pleading with them that we need better wild strains that will establish the fishery- everything (ecologically)  in the river is perfectly aligned for a massive trutta takeover! Time will tell how these larger fingerlings do- I'm very optimistic!- here are my 10 reasons why.


I hope I dont lose you here- bare with and indulge me for a bit. The Muskegon has always had a tinge of "marginal " label due to one impoundment- Croton, heating up in two summer months-July and August, pushing water temps up to 70 on very hot summers. Luckily, the new 'global climate change' trend for the midwest and northeast for the past three years have been very, very cool summers- the trout loved it. 
However, even when water temps approach the low 70's , trout on the Muskegon can be seen feeding heavily all day on the massive caddis and midge hatches- totally unaffected by the water temps. 
From a biological (PFP)- 'predator foraging profile', the vast benefit from the caloric mass intake outweighs any physiological stress exerted- thus the balance falls in favor of feeding rather than dormancy and energy conservation. On most 'freestone' rivers, they get heated up , trout shut down and 'slink out' like snakes-not so on the Muskegon. The trout look like little footballs all summer due to their caddis/diptera diets and are quite happy despite less than "ideal-blue ribbon-45-58F TEMPS. Keep in mind almost all the "blue ribbon Michigan trout waters " run up water tempos in July/August- the Au Sable/Pere Marquette ...on and on.

The key is 'thermal refuge areas', where ice cold subterranean aquifers provide safe haven for stress periods. Out of all the Michigan rivers, the Muskegon is "LOADED WITH SPRING SEEPS/POOLS", due to the higher river gradients of the Muskegon that cut through rocky morainal spring bedrock caverns( high rollaway good example). Actually water temps can be " the worst' at the Croton Dam from thermal warming. Note that Hardy Dam/Reservoir has a very deep water ice cold draw that mixes it up. Plus the new oxygen/cool water bubbler at Croton has made a big water quality difference in favor of all summer long trout feeding and growth- up to one and a half inches through the summer. From Thornapple to Henning there are 286 documented spring creek/seeps entering the river. This section actually remains the coolest all summer from the springs

( A beasty brownie I caught from the lower river June 
/15/15 )
It's also interesting to note that most of all the truly trophy browns are caught from Thornapple to Old Womens bend- 6 to 18 miles away from the tailwater release...seriously?- why is that?
Let's look at other tailwaters/rivers in the world and why big browns tend to favor and "LIKE" marginal waters. Often these waters are highly energized in the warmer food chain and contain a larger biodiversity of food/prey, much to a big ravenous brown's liking. They also carry more' good pollution', which actually energizes the food chain- sounds crazy! Also browns tolerate and prefer higher water temps, more bio/polluted waters than both brook and rainbow trout. Also being 'marginal' water, it has less trout per mile densities and more coarse fish density- chubs/shiners/dace , and less competition for a slow moving, cautious beasty big brownie to gorge more easily and with less competition and restaurant.No matter where you find them, suckers and carp , you will usually find big browns. I recall my days fishing Spruce Creek- a magnificant spring creek in PA- find the suckers?'ll find the big browns!!
(the 'Big Manistee'- another 'marginal Michigan tailwater' water that is stocked extremely heavily with browns and grows monster leviathans despite the water temps from Tippy and Hodenpyl dams)

Look at the the lower Au Sable/ lower Pere Marquette, they have "marginal water temps' in summer, but that is where most of the "leviathan"/donkey browns live.  Look at the lower Letort in PA- leviathan trout water. Lower Battenkill VT/Farmington CT/Big Delaware NY/PA...all big trophy brown waters!!!-despite warmer temps!
A real eye opener came to me and the NY DEC biologists on our summer cabin tailwater river in the Catskills, the Neversink
( Mandy 'Nanda' Sanasie- 'the Euro Nymph goddess' with a gorgeous Farmington tailwater CT brown this past summer- many of the big hogs come from the lower river stretches here)

(for more reading and info: the amazing Neversink tailwater- ground zero of American Fly Fishing- Gordon/Hewitt/LaBranche waters- a complex conundrum ecosystem- see my Fly Fisherman Magazine article on it- September 2008-'' Selectivity', talks at great length about this....also my article in Fly Fisherman-Oct/Dec 2010- 'Brown Town' has some interesting insight )

Where we have our summer family home in the magnificent Catskills of NY,  The Neversink tailwater runs out of the brutally ice cold and deep( 175 feet) Neversink Reservoir- that drains the ice cold Slide Mountain section of the upper Neversink branches. I once stood in the upper tailwaters over July 4th weekend when the air temps were 99/100F, and the water temps were in the upper 40'sF and froze to death in my breathable waders- had to wait to 1..2 o'clock to see the first sulphur hatches because of the cold waters.
 Here is an example of where the biologist, Bob Angyle was perplexed year after year when they electro-shocked the "perfect blue ribbon quality' upper waters and only found juvenile wild browns in the 3-8 inch range- plenty of them, but hardly no big brood stock browns. The upper waters had migrating browns for the late fall spawn but they soon left because it was" too blue ribbon cold". Where he and his crew more progressively  kept finding the big wild browns was  where the waters turned/approached ' marginal'....59F to 68/70F- with a mean preference for waters in the low / mid/upper 60'sF....and well into the scenic gorge special regs area which gets really heated up with the hot east coast summers.... INTERESTING EH? So there you have it...marginal=big brown waters !....

Michigan, since being the first "ground zero" brown trout stocking in the western hemisphere from Germany, with its thousands of miles of 'blue ribbon' trout waters, has produced more distinctive wild strains in its 130 year history with these magnificent European immigrants- (glad Trump didn't shut the border down for 'trutta' invaders- and hell they were German!)
.Originally scorned as impossible to catch and took away from the beloved brook trout their domain, they eventually became worshiped for their top water 'dry fly' preoccupation and their crocodile aggressive/active tendency to predate like savage beasts on streamers.
Michigan has produced for stocking two strains in particular that are absolutely gorgeous and wild as can be- The Gilchrist creek and Sturgeon river strains.
( A gorgeous Gilchrist brown taken on a sulphur hatch on the lower Muskegon when they stocked them in the early 2000's- note the butterscotch color and the gorgeous  red spottings so perfect of a German strain brown from ground zero.Last spring and the prior June,  according to Gary Whelan/former cheif hatcheries director, 25,000 of the brown plants in 2015- and 4,000 in 2014 ( those are on the stocking charts), were Gilchrist on the Muskegon planted at various locations due to the relentliss  insistence of a 'pain -in -the ass' Polish/American guide and author on the Muskegon- ;)- but if you look in the stocking tables it still says "Wild Rose strain", which I belive is a mistake or unwillingness to admit defeat..LOL!)...also the "wild rose "strain are inbred hatchery trout and as far from wild as possible- but they are gorgeous trutas once they feed on natural food and do well I must admit !
( here is a gorgeous" wild rose" strain from the Muskegon- they have very complex marble spotting and red dots once they pursue crayfish/insect/scud diets. They are a great strain from Wild Rose , Wisconsin, but they are easy to catch, suffer high mortality in the spring for their unwillingness to spread out fast and get away from people at the landings tearing worm hooks out of 6.6 inch trout that have to be legal at 10 or 15 inches- their hatchery inbreeding has made them less cautious,they  school endlessly in search of pellets and take them longer to get 'wild")

Now for the newly cultured and wild Michigan Gilchrist and  Sturgeon River strain, thess can be the "golden chariots' when combined with the wild rose. These are a hearty wild strain that can be both migratory to the big lake and come back as trophy lake/sea run browns, or can establish residency in larger river systems like the Muskegon due to their enormous food supply- ( note: some of our steelhead dont smolt until 14-15 inches since the Muskegon food supply borders on overload!- and they forgo 'silver smolting' for a year and take on river rainbow spotting- we saw this when they had right pectoral fin clipped the fish and we  thought we caught beautiful eagle lake looking bows with right fin clips in the winter at 14 inches- they should have been gone!- from a biological standpoint. Remember, fish don't always do what the bio data and models tell us "they should do"- with global climate change "the models" will become more unorthodox and whacky IMHO!)


(Nov 25th stocking of Sturgeon strain on Muskegon- MGuzniczek images)

It is also important and interesting to note that when they stocked the 'wild strain' 50,000  Sturgeon browns , they dispersed from the boat ramp stocking locations almost immediately. The domesticated wild rose and other strains lay around the landings for weeks and are subject to mortality from boats, bait monkeys ripping crawler harnesses out of their mouths and of course those beautiful  avian  blue herons/ospreys/king fishers that gorge on them- the birds can almost hear the hatchery trucks engines coming from miles away!!!. The same goes for the Gilchrist wild strain- they disappear and usually dont show up for 6-10 months until their aggressive feeding drive takes over at 9-14 inches- ( 
NOTE: YEARLING BROWNS STOCKED AVERAGE 5-6 INCHES in Michigan- most must grow to 10/15 inches to be legal harvest). 
Last years avian predation of trout on the Muskegon really destroyed the fishery-9-14 inch trout were demolished by cormorants/mergansers diving ducks since the Great Lakes froze over and the birds flew inland until they found open waters for baitfish prey and easy pickings trout. Also the water shut off by Consumers Power on two separate occasion because of their computers 'icing up-LOL" on 37 below zero nights did not help. The browns from 16-26 inches survived and had more food- thus we saw more trophies than normal- but not many!.

The extreme wariness of these wild strains is excellent for long term trophy survival. I often talk to hatchery personnel and they say the Gilchrist and Sturgeon strains are very tough to raise. They must be kept covered and in the dark often, they wont eat if startled and all their "wild" behavioral attributes are always in place.

Here is a big one!- and I'm sure Ill get many 'heated up, 'what the hell is this man saying!!(me) debates over this from 'by the book/old school ' biologists- have at it!

Most!!...not all studies suggest greater survival of stocked trout with larger fish- makes sense, but does it always????...not so sure and we have plenty" recent" evidence it does not always pan out like we expected .
One problem is larger smolts /yearlings hang around in schools by landings and stocking points like confused children looking for Mama's pellets!!!!... They are heron prey par excellence! Having been feed hatchery pellets longer takes them longer to get weaned off the pellet crack.

Wild fingerlings on the other hand adapt to wild food forms quicker, disperse immediately and go their separate wild ways looking for cover and a food niche-it takes weeks /months for the other yearlings. It is for a 'put-and take" fishery, what our beloved biologist,  RO ,  likes to manage for, the larger stocked fish can be killed quicker and dumber. That is not trophy mentality for  the bigger  brown trout which the Muskegon produces despite the lack of" big trout management goals"-which the trout keep telling us by their size they want to be eh???.
I believe the fingerlings disperse and blend in with all the other baitfish, thus are not highly and specifically targeted, thus cloaked for larger survival and can hide along the skinny  shorelines where bigger predators- walleye/bass /big trout won't lurk. 

When we caught the IGFA world record Atlantic at Torch, the DNR already stopped stocking smolts three years prior since the smolts were yielding poor returns and were expensive to raise. Due to public outcry and the press/me insisting the program continue, they stocked fingerlings that fall and have been doing so for 4 years. It wasn't their ideal choice since all the smolts were being dumped in Lake Huron tributaries:AuSable etc. to make an atlantic fishery there.
BUT!!!!!! turned out by default and accident to be the best thing ever for the Torch Atlantic fishery- even the biologists are perplexed why the fall fingerlings have created an epic atlantic fishery in the past years that yearling /smolts could not do. All the reasons above are the answer... and then some!.

Lake Myvatn in Iceland is an amazing place...breathtaking when you first see it.

It is a massive volcanic , spring fed oasis of waterfowl, wildflowers and beauty at the headwaters of one of the most famous atlantic salmon and brown trout rivers in the world- The Big Laxa. Here the massive food of Diptera midges:chironomidae/similium creates clouds of midges in the air that can literally choke you on some days. The ducks gorge on globs of midges - so do all the brown trout and atlantic salmon parr. Midges are the ideal food for small fingerling parr of the trout, salmon and steelhead domain.
The Muskegon has now become a "ginormous midge factory", that most tailwaters eventually develope, but I have never seen the vast amount and thickness of midges like it anywhere else . 

Biggie!...Why do you think there are so, so many suckers in the Muskegon???- their diets are almost 90% midge larvae as they turn their snouts sucking the juicy rocks full of them.

From May thru November, the midge swarms at dusk are so thick at dark you have to put a muff over your face when you drive your jet. Up until yesterday , yes now in November, the smaller browns from last spring's plantings gorge on midge adults/pupae everyday/all day! That is an excellent thing to have for trout ,salmon, steelhead parr dont always have in other rivers- that's why fingerlings will do  very,very well!!!
(these shots were taken a week ago. The spring plant browns/Gilchrist and Wild Rose are totally immersed in a diet of midge adults/pupae and will be all winter- you can see them rise to the black midges in December/Jan/Feb regardless of below zero conditions- get your 6x-size #20's out and have fun- my current article in Fly Fisherman -Oct-Dec 2015 has my WMD midge patterns- tailwaters are giant spring creeks btw in similar  habitat /structure/predator foraging profiles )

There is a mixed blessing and curse with this equation.Resident trout populations have massive growth spurts from all the steelhead and salmon eggs and millions of wild fingerlings the rivers produce. But also they encroach on spawning opportunities for fall and spring for the trout, so in some instances trout programs must be maintained by stocking do to the hierarchy of large spawning salmonid bullying out resident trout. But overall, and just look at how big our browns get on the Pere Marquette/Muskegon, they and the smaller trout benefit highly from these massive protein onslaughts from eggs and sac fry/parr- incredible growth spurts!!! - and so beneficial to
 especially smaller trout/fingerlings.
( trout love the eats!!!!)


The tiny golden caviar of the suckers spawning brings out all the massive big brown brutes, but the tiny fingerling/parr really benefit from this yet another massive infusion of protein right after and during steelhead spawning. This big trout magic time goes on for a month and the trout gorge- no brainer to figure this benefit out!

(gray drakes fill the nights in swarms for almost a month and a half!)
( J Murphy with a trophy brown- early spring black stonefly hatch-2014)

The Muskegon is blessed with an incredible abundance of all the mayfly hatches, massive caddis and midge hatches from the plankton infused reservoirs and epic early black stonefly hatches. Trout are feeding on tiny BWO'S and midges as I write this in late November. To a trout like the brown that always has its head up and on the surface like its cousin the Atlantic, this river is paradise!!!!

One of the main reasons large trout are so tough to catch after the gray drake hatch is their attention turns to molting crayfish and scuds, which are found in massive abundance throughout the tailwater- pure protein on steroids!!!!!

As much as we need more 15 inch and slot limits to create a trophy fishery , this is good to protect the trout for almost 7 months!

Since the Muskegon is such a fertile tailwater with food on overload, unlike other free stoners were trout slow down their feeding in winter, the opposite occurs here with massive feeding by small trout on midges, scuds and caddis larvae


With the new Muskegon River Fishing and Sporting Alliance, a new willingness to work to make the Muskegon river a world class trout fishery, the future is very, very awesome and bright!!!!- visit their facebook page and join up.

Hope this sheds light on how our river has all the potential to create in the future,  and has already demonstrated how it can be an epic world class brown trout fishery givin some love and respect.

...feel free to email
or visit our website and facebook /linkedin /twitter pages!!!!- cheers!/na zdrowie!

Long live the magnificent brown trout legacy of our 'ground zero'  Michigan trutta fisheries

( a February brown that crushed a sculpin/hex..and a September scud eater-both from the Mighty Mo!)

Thursday, November 19, 2015


As mentioned in my last blog, a warmer than average fall , extreme low water levels and a Great Lakes/Inland lake ecosystems still reeling from the epic the epic winters have had migratory 'noid" chasers confused. Nothing could be more confused than the migratory steelhead, Atlantic salmon and browns!

Good news!!!, all is gonna change fast! Snow, rain , wind- perfect conditions for these fish. Good news after months of 60F TEMPS, THE WATERS ARE WARM/ ALIGNED PERFECTLY WITH THE LAKE TEMPS AND IDEAL FOR EXCELLENT MIGRATIONS!!!...STAY TUNED!

that is the skinny!...el nino is great for an epic winter of steelheading to come!!!

Monday, November 9, 2015


OK!...seriously if I don't jump in right now and try to establish some semblance of reality in a non-realistic world of "trending now/social media instant gratification, political correctness and all the other scary BS that technology is bringing us humanoids to 'dumb it down' and keep it simple, I don't know who will- please feel free to jump in by all means, but I'm scratching my head for answers and hope I will have some for you.

 Concerning a migratory fish we: guides (/lodges/fanatical steelheaders etc. are starting to act like panic stricken chihuahuas with diarrhea because " we are not catching/seeing the numbers we saw in the past-the world is crumbling! - this crap has to stop!- it's only fishing and has and will always be. Like everything else in life , we have gotten a little too damn seriously preoccupied  about  only good shit and instant gratification  going our own way- not trying to preach!.

Steelhead fishing  has and always will be tied very closely with the natural world of fish migration cycles, weather,and a fish that doesn't have to eat for 12 months if it doesn't want to !- It strikes our fly/bait whatever out of aggressive foraging predator profiles instilled through millions of years of survival- not because we decide to go fishing!  and not because our Iphone 6 S needs images to post ( yours truly to blame!- being a facebook whore of self admitting guilt ) . 

Lodges, guides , fanatical steelheaders that plan destinations etc. to the Great Lakes are all freaking out out because 'three years ago/last year/5 years ago ' etc. we crushed them!!! 

WELL!....this year its bloody, painfully tough-FACTOID!. The lack of  $$$$  generated and increase insatiable appetite in our disgruntled guides and clients are "trending now". 

After guiding for 20 years for steelhead,  having fished for them since a little boy and most importantly trying to shed some theory, method, science and madness to the elusive chrome migratory beasts by having written 5 books and several hundred articles about the subject...
 ( Cautionary PC note:. ...not trying to narcissistically self indulge my accolades or shamelessly self promoting - just a fact!), I will try to shed some light and reality to the subject- if you don't like it?...- don't read it!- SIMPLE. I'll try to lay out without belaboring the point the basic concepts you need to embrace as simply as possible if you want to continue being a migratory fish chaser.

Global climate change/ whatever the hell you want to call it, has wreaked havoc on our weather for the last two years more significantly than anyone can remember in their lifetimes-fact! The impact of the Great Lakes freezing completely over - two concectutive years in a row in the last century is unheard of.
 After trying to plant this seed with the Great Lakes biologists that "this is a big deal", they are finally embracing it and studying its impact. Think about a dark lake , ice covered for months , no sunlight penetration to create plankton- which feed bait fish/ which feed steelhead/salmon etc...."aka rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey ".
 Fact is we just don't have enough research and money to fund a Jacques Cousteau  Calypso style boat to cruise the Great Lakes 24/7-365 to find out what is actually happening in the Great Lakes.
 So we just end up diagnosing  manage the fisheries with 'knee jerk decisions" based on old and outdated data before it is released and comprehended. 
SO!...looking at our calendars and saying" the peak fall steelhead run is usually late October/November first two weeks just doesn't cut it anymore".

One of the coldest winters on record- Great Lakes froze up again completly. We had spring steelhead on the Muskegon until June 19th- insane For the fisrt time in our 20 year lodge existence the Muskegon turned to total ice up slush- never seen that ever!!...YES , chrome winter steelhead spawning in June... and May was our best month- usually March/April.
The fabulous summer Skamania steelhead which I have been guiding for for 19 years on the St. Joe/Indiana and Manistee- Lake Michigan tributaries, which normally show up in mid to late June/July, didnt decide to show up until late August/and September's end in any decent numbers- two months late. Salmon were late, but at least the Muskegon had a good run to excellent run- I cant say that about the other rivers were it was abysmal - including the world famous King salmon runs of the Salmon River in New york, where there are plenty of alweives- NO ANSWERS THERE?

Here is a biggie trending now!.We had the coolest July and August on record- 50 F days in end of July for a week was ridiculous. August was cold and had frosts. THEN!, we end up having one of the hottest September/October's and early Novembers in history- last week I was wearing tank tops, going skin and shorts as temps were in the upper 70's F in November?...seriously???
Also the amazing lack of rain is leaving all the Great Lakes and east and west coast rivers dry and ridiculously low most of the time ( can anyone say 'California's trout streams this summer?). Except for epic flooding in the spring, our North American rivers run low and clear most of the time. Development/fracking/Nestle /Perrier water bottling are pumping groundwater our of our  river aquifers from Pennsylvania to the Great Lakes- I was on the Letort Springs in PA last week and it was beyond bone dry after a heavy rain event. migratory fish like steelhead that depend on "stability and normalcy overt time", there is none! Water temperature and flow variations wreak havoc on a fish that has surviveed by measuring more weather and ecological variables than all the NOAA scientists in the world- called " life survival strategy for evolutionary success"- its in my Selectivity book. You could have all the newest bad ass fly patterns and rods, top guides booked, but baby if you don't have the "right and suitable" ecological variables to support your A game, it all means shit! - go golfing!
SO! a year class ( note year classes have been going through heavy variations since the exoctics came into the Great Lakes)  when the Alewife forage base collapsed and " dome and gloom" was predicted for the salmon run, the Muskegon had one hell of a good run of slamon that were not supposed to be there???
If any fish will prosper from low alweives its steelhead/atlantics/brown trout that are multi- foraging predators and will eat the blossoming gobies/shiners/perch/deep water sculpins- anything!- just like brown trout- old saying: a lake brownie or steelhead will eat anything that doesn't eat it! - Pacific salmon Kings need and have to have alewive  sardine like creatures - OR DO THEY?-is that myth ready to be debunked.


ok...topic pretty much answered the question. But if you can imagine how many steelhead were destroyed by charter fleets looking for easier salmon targets that were nowhere to be found- at least not with cold lake temperatures having them spread out everywhere, you woulkd be amazed. So the $$ equation was  to resort to slaughtering 'big time' steelhead this past summer, tears! Logic will  tell you a dead steelhead out in the lake doesn't make it back to a river that is low and hot to begin with! 
And the epic eternal fight to get a "one fish steelhead limit" makes no sense to any logical rational fisherman or biologist especially with the tremendous lack of steelhead these days- another insane conundrum!...$$$$$$ is the culprit again.


Could we have loved these fish to death?- could our insatiable passions for them sent them on the edge of extinction and the end from the Great Lakes legacy?

Unless mother nature has other ideas- and yes it totally throws us for curveballs, it ain't gonna happen unless by miracle . WE HAVE TO LEARN, PROTECT AND APPRECIATE WHAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW! Unfortunately if we don't learn from histories mistakes, like the collapse of the west coast steelhead fishery in the 80's/90's and even today, we are headed- or even more scary, "already down" that dark rode of decimation of the steelhead fishery- in that I can say " welcome to the new normal"!


Please don't misread what I'm gonna say here. But the fact that nobody , even the 'guru" biologits know what the hell is going on with the Great Lakes steelhead  and salmon fishery is a very very good thing!-  stoic, bureaucratic/cronyism biologists need to be a little more open minded. Have a piece of the humble pie we steelhead guides/ fanatical steelhead fisher lovers eat everyday in trying to explain to the clients or spouses, freinds etc why we are so unhappy and depressed we aren't seeing the numbers- maybe its even affecting our desires to go and fish- thats sad!
There are a few cool, hipe progressive thinking young  biologists out there that get it!- several are close friends. They realize two very, very important things:

1. We are going to have to focus on the ecological management "right things to do" as our evolving ecosystems  spin away from us faster than the worm tunnel  of a dark hole , rather than $$$$ monetary bureaucratic, political way of  "old school crony" thinking about the Great Lakes fishery we are currently stuck in, if we are to save our legacy

2. The fact is we have no facts!!!!- and by the time the data and facts are in from the last study, computed and analyzed, nature has already changed in a new direction- the "old dead knowledge versus the live knowledge gig"- we need to be more progreesive and proactive in thinking- we have been stuck in retrocative/knee jerk reactive thinking .

 Here is the last bit of excellent news I can leave you with.

* The fact that we have and will continue to have a mild fall bodes well for steelhead migrations- rember the "window -of -run opportunity" I always talk about in 'Steelhead Dreams"- we got it!- lake and river temps are perfectly aligned for a big push of fish. If it were snowing and cold as hell, we could forget it it until spring!

*Everything "IS AND HAS" been running late this year!

* There are still tons of steelhead out in the big lake thinking its early September by all the hot fall weather we had

* Steelhead dont need alweives- 'they will eat 'em if they have em', but dont need em!

* Late Novembers and December's have been always epic steelheading when the run on certain years was slow in starting- that is a fact!- it is only gonna get better and its gonna be soon!

* The lack of salmon will take the steelhead and lake run browns and graduate them to Apex predators- a promotion

 * This could be the start of a whole new fishery- and Atlantic salmon and more lake-run browns- even cohos will be a big part of it

* Appreciate your local resident trout populations- after my guide trips I have been enjoying watching brownies sip midges and blue-winged olives, or watch big aggressive fall brownies slash streamers... and have been taking advantage of these beauty creatures- other states would die to have the trout fisheries we have!!!...big migratory fish aren't everything if you call yourself a true fly fisher!- WE ARE SO F'ING SPOILED!!!!!
( One from yesterday- November 8th/15- when nobody caught anything - or were supposed to!)

Finally- everybody just chill!!!- have a sense of humor, stop all the serious PC crap- everyone I see on the river these days look so god damn miserable...seriously???- is that why we are out there- you could be laying in a hospital bed wishing you were just by a river- amen!

Enjoy the gorgeous days- I love them even if fishing is tough-especially when I think back to the blizzards of the last 
two winters. 

If you catch a fish- love it to death! Learn to become "better and more intelligent" fisherman and women! 
Read a new book, gain some knowledge take your game up a few notches .The quiet and gentle sport has always and hopefully will continue to be a "thinking man/women's passion. When I was a little boy I checked out from my local Niagara Falls  library 'Selective Trout' -( Swisher/Richards )- I never gave it back and read it to death, until my European mom Natalia found out by a call from the library and grabbed my ear, the tattered book and waltzed me down to the library in tears like a criminal on trial. She and the librarian  made me do a whole month of weekends at the library cleaning floors, taking out garbage and anything hard labor could bring- felt like an inmate in a concentration camp. Such was the price for my passion for knowledge. 
Today there are so many fun options: watch a new DVD ,go to fly fishing film festival, study a master tie a fly or make a bamboo rod, go to a Spey Clave and study casting masters- this fly fishing world is so vast on  information like the universe it is scary- we only use 10% of our fly fishing  individual potential. Maybe its is time now to rediscover, reinvent ourselves - I'm trying everyday.
Try something new: maybe spey fishing, dry fly minutiae, become a Euro Nympher- streamers are the bomb!- center pinning long drag free drifts?..I dont know- I'm a fly fisher but trying to be kind to all others. This is not " Bassmaster.Monster truck pull " fishing- it is chasing an elusive chrome unicorn with a passion- wouldn't want it no other way.  

Take your spouse/kids/family fishing- someone you think would never like it!- not just the old fart good ole boy clubs!.

In the Great Lakes we have been possessed by the dark side of 'dumb down fishing'... of numbers/chumming/trolling/spawn bags/same old fly style- vary it up!- explore options. Often we are fishing like creatures of habit- sheep with fly rods doing the same damn thing- fishing the same holes, same style, go with the crowds and internet bullshit talk- look at how much happier we were before the world wide web tainted us- think about it!

The fish will eventually come.We are predicted to have a warmer winter- thank God!  Enjoy every minute you have- nature  will continue to baffle us and adore us with its mysteries and beauty- I think that is the"VERY COOL" part about why and what we do.

 If I have helped you understand what is going pleasure- if I make no sense- press 'delete'!!!
Cheers/ Na zdrowie!

Note:  I personally still have an opening November 11th from a cancellation and still have a few Atlantic salmon dates- everything is just starting so you haven't missed anything- that's the good news!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Good Push of Chrome Steel...despite low water...the Flow vs.Temp gig!

In 'Steelhead Dreams' and 'Selectivity'  I discuss the " magic carpet ride" of TEMP VS,. FLOW for excellent fall steelheading. 

As long as lake temps coincide with river temps and a mild warm fall exists, good steelhead returns are very probable in the fall. So far and what the forecast reveals is ideal- a warm mild El Nino fall/winter- the next two months should be excellent. We are getting rain mid week , but I'm not so concerned about that..Warm 60 F is the key to keep rivers in the 50F and fresh steelhead and lake run browns coming in.

BTW...due to a cancellation and reschedule , I now have November 10, 11 and 12 open for either fall steelhead swinging/nymphing or Landlocked Atlantic salmon on the swing- or for the tailwater/spring creek aficionado- dry fly blue-winged olives -6x #20's...I love that stuff!. While most anglers are chasing chrome, you can chase resident trout on the dry in gorgous fall weather...cant beat the options! can contact me at:

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