Friday, July 24, 2009


Did an early morning float with Dr. Marc Palo from Chicago.It was very foggy which would put a damper on the hatches.Took water temp at my dock at 6:45 a.m- 19 C-(66f). Below Thornapple to Henning in some spots I got 18C(64F). Decided to swing and twitch streamers- a Neal Streaks Crayfish. Marc hit some stocker rainbows and lost a nice fish-couldn't tell how big.

Seeing some comotion near shore(surface busting), Marc casted and nailed the "HAWG" brown pictured above-26 inches- based on the length of my net and its dimensions.

So this brown was not given the Rich O'neil lecture that it is not going to grow big! (lol)

Anyways, congrats Marc on a world class fish! Marc usually goes out to Montana each year with a group of Docs but can't make the trip this year. I and Marc will agree that this fish is a Montana sized brown.If we had better regs , we would probably have more. And for the dude at the M S forum, the fish was not caught between the dam and Pine St.- about 8 miles below there.

NOTE: there is a real interesting debate going on at the MS forum on the bubbler. Warning- it is not user friendly to fly fishers and quality regs .It is the same old" fish killers/ verses non- fish killer". The stuff that goes around all the time. There is some good information though.

* zebra mussels- They have definitely been on the decline in the last for years. Both Consumers Power turbine washings and USGS gauge maintenance support this .

Also water has a serious stain to it unlike early 2001 period when zebs were rampant.If any of you budding aqua scientists take some plankton seine samples both below the dam and down to Newaygo, there is a significant amount of it when compared with years past.

The Blossoming caddis hatches( about 75% now of what they were in the early 90"s- is another sign that case caddis filter feeders are getting their share of what was robbed by the zebras.

We are not to blizzard" caddis hatches of the 90's- BUT we have a ton more mayflies and stoneflies then we had in the 90"s on the flip side.

* big brown populations are nowhere near "dam to Pine' like one guy said. They are far from it and exsist well below Anderson flats.

* Muskegon probably will never be as prolific as Big Horn- but here are some facts.

Big Delaware- N.Y./PA.- has one of the greatest populations of big wild Rainbow trout- along with big browns. The temperature regulary approaches 72-76 from late June till Early Sept.

The hallowed Beaverkill "trout town USA' has excellent numbers of wild and stocked trout with water temps common in the 72 F all summer.

*DNR SCIENTIFIC FACTS- hate to tell you , but there are none! Everything on the 15 inch regs from Thornapple down hinged waeakly on creel clerk data asking worm fisherman at the landings if they are catching big trout. If I was doing an "unbiased sampling', with a good mix and cross base of the angling sector, I would'nt hang out in the DNR trucks at the landings eating Egg Mc Muffins in the cold as the truck heater and music blasted- been there-saw it!

There is one piece of sampling data by Rich and DNR of the Thornapple section. It was conducted on an August afternoon in blistering hot weather with no water in the river from Thornapple to Henning.Seriously!....... I don't think you're gonna find too many trophy trout in that section with the water at 75F......EH! Those regs were doomed from day one- Rozich wanted them- Rich didn't. He made sure he got what he wished for with the constituency of the fish killing crowd lobby.

* Input from Guides- Rich has never wanted to work with guides- those guys that live the glamour life(lol)! Yes the guides that are "true trout fisherman"- not just steelie/salmon guys trying to kill time, know their bugs, trout behavior etc. cause they have been exposed to these fish all over the world. Tailwaters are perhaps the toughest trout fisheries to crack anywhere- and the Muskegon fits in with the best of them with its complex food chain.

"TROUT GUIDES"- catch these fish and have been doing so for years-all year. We have the picture porn to prove it. And "yes it is about putting money in their pockets-that's their living-DAH!" But it also creates more tourism, restaurant/lodging jobs, dollars spent in the community. Hate to tell you, if you haven' looked around lately with 18% unemployment and a state spinning into total financial and employment chaos, we need those"rich dudes from out of town to distribute the wealth in Michigan- not on the White River in Arkanasa- or in New York or out west.

*Regs don't need to be favored to the fly fishing, catch and release set. This would be wrong. Creating slot limits for keepers and creating a trophy fishery is the way to go(see my Summer newsletter). We already know the Gilchrist strain of browns, along with the new Sturgeon wild strain being developed is the way to get bigger Browns.

Bottom line- whether it be guides, joe worm dunker angler, quality trophy hunter, bait, fly spin/hardware- they all could benefit" quality regs"

Keeping fish is every law abiding, license paying anglers right. its done will make or break a fisheries potential to be maximized.............not as we have now on the Muskegon..............MINIMIZED.