Saturday, February 27, 2010


( AND......there it is-Feb 26th-6:15 p.m.)

(My Moscow Soviet Boris look with the hog)

(The whole winter "kitchen sink" thing)

(Dr.Ian letting one rip)
I really can't believe it to be honest with you!!!! How somethings just repeat themselves.

Last year,2009, Tony Ruela hit a massive brown pushing close to 29 inches on a Merlino sculpin/hex leech in the Sycamore Run on the Muskegon guiding with me 23rd thru the 25th of February.It was one of the largest browns I've seen while guiding for 17 years on this river. It came from sucker water, or as I more technically refer to it as "Tertiary Smurf" water.It is virtually current-less slack water on the inside seams of primary lies and pool guts. The Muskegon is loaded with this type of water and holds good numbers of dace, shiners,sucker minnows, sculpins, darters,- and suckers and resident trout. Steelhead love it also when it gets really cold!BUT- not all of these tertiary spots hold fish. It has taken me close to two decades to learn how to read the better spots and what riverine factors contribute together to make for these " VERY SWEET SPOTS"!!

Yesterday afternoon and evening I had the pleasure to fish with good client and friend, Dr.Ian Davison, and Englishman now living in the U.S. and is Dean of the Biological Sciences school at Central Michigan. I wanted to show him some of the better winter lies for steelhead since Ian is an avid Fly Fisher you will often see on any western Michigan river with his white Clack-Craft and English 3 lions logo.

It was close to 6 P.M. when we were drifting an excellent run.The snow was coming down pretty hard. At the end of my drift, using a prismatic rainbow blue Ice Man Minnow(Senyo style with the new rubber legs version and laser dub), AS I was stripping the fly back to the boat, just as I lifted it up to make the cast," a massive brown boiled right under the fly on the surface"- just like an Atlantic salmon would." Did you just see that-OMG!!!!!!"- I yelled to Ian. He saw the whole thing and was just as astonished. I was stripping FAST- streamer style, not by choice but just to get another cast off.

So, I immediately threw the fly right back to 10 feet below the boat and stripped it fast back to the boat- bingo!- the brown came right back in full view of ours and swiped at the fly-only to miss it! Heart still in my throat, I had to gain my composure!. Ian saw the whole thing and shot back in his British accent" that is a big brown".
The next few drifts I did the same run , same drift that brought the initial strike, thinking the fish retreated back to its normal holding lie since its two attempts were un-successful -OR- it chose not to take the fly at the last minute since we were both looking 'eye-to-eye" with each other- and an elusive predator like a big brown new better then to succumb!

About the fourth drift, I let the fly "hang time' drifting casually- sort of like A.E.Woods greased line technique- "AND WHAM-HEAD SHAKING AND A BIG RUN". There he was, a big kype- jawed lake -run brown, making big runs like a big buck winter male steelhead. In almost dusk conditions, Ian put the net under the "HOG BROWN".

It was the most exciting 10 minutes I've had in fly fishing. The Orvis Hydros 10 ft 7 wght. and Mirage V reel protected the 3x 6 lb Varivas flouro perfectly!

Each year, I am noticing more "smaller beds-redds" being dug in January and February. I think these lake-run browns are spawning at this time of year(I could swear a little milt dripped out of the buck in the net). They probably start their fall spawning migration in November, but get side-tracked by Muskegon Lake's loaded bait fish and slow down for a month or two before eventually making it up the 35 plus miles from the lake. The fish came from the same "TERTIARY-SMURF' water.

It was a a very fine experience to say the least!. Thank You Ian- for the fine net job- I would have died if we lost that "HAWG".