Saturday, July 19, 2014


After one of this 2014 most amazing weather year in history...100 year bitter cold winter...hundred year floods...coldest summer...(if this is global warming?...we better prepare for an ice age...ooops- word change, called climate change now- like it has been doing for past 100 million years), we are now starting to get to somewhat normal summer weather...not really!. I had polar fleece on last two nights guiding on the river..air temps in 40/50's...the hatches are all confused..but water temperatures are perfect for the trout!...unheard of cool waters at this time of year-TROUT ARE LOVIN IT! If you haven't followed my three Facebook pages on "Selectivity TSS...Gray Drake Lodge and Outfitters.....Matthew is a summary update


Brian Breidert is the head of the Indiana Summer Steelhead program in Michigan City , IN. He was very frustrated when I called my good friend yesterday..aka" Doctor Skamania". He was hounded by phone calls all spring summer..."Where are the Skamania?'....YOU SAID THEY WOULD BE HERE BY JULY 4TH"!!!!...came one rude call after another.WELL!...the fish didn't get the memo that they had to come in then. One of the coldest most brutal ice freeze-up winters in the Great Lakes had the central lake buoy temperature gage stuck on freezing until a week ago. We had winter strain steelhead spawning in the Muskegon until the third week in June...unheard of ! Igloo brigade Charter boast had a tough time locating fish since the lake was cold everywhere. I took the high speed car ferries from Muskegon to Milwaukee ...and then the Badger from Manitowoc to Ludington in the end of June and it was like crossing the Arctic Ocean...water was ice...heavy fog...not a bump or wave to be found.

Summer Skamania are three salt steelhead that spend three years roaming the ocean. They love the deep cold, mysis/pelagic baitfish waters off the Manitou Islands and migrate the entire length of Lake Michigan down to the southern tier of MI/IN borders. They use the stratifying build up of warm/cold water thermoclines, increasing photoperiod daylight and their natural biological time clocks based on pineal/endocrine sexual development perfected over a million years on the Pacific rim. This year's very cold temperatures and the lack of photo light out in the lake due to almost constant fog/darkness from the air condensation and dewpoints negated the later development. It is just starting to happen now, slower then ever before! The lake temps have been the coldest recorded in decades .

SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?...August/September will be amazing months for summer steelhead. With river temperatures cool there will be a constant migration and the fish will not stall at the pier heads only to get slaughtered . In very hot summers , trollers win the game and river anglers suffer...the complete opposite this year even in a more drastic way.
One must also remember the incredibly HOT summers of 2012/2011/2010/ taking from Trail wiers, Berrien Fish ladders/St. Joe, didn't happen until early /late August when water temps in rivers finally cooled. Thus the parents of this year class of running fish were late run genetics-thus their photoperiod imprinting was for 'a late running model'. All being said, the fish should be bigger like last year which was epic in the size of the fish, since this year they will have had more time to chow down in the big lake etc.....MORE AND BEST YET TO COME!

The Muskegon has been running the coolest its been since 1991 when Mount Pinatubo blew and its ashes spread over the atmosphere blocking sun and giving MI and the Mo a cool summere with great trout fishing. A tremendous nutrient load of Daphnia/water fleas /plankton is keeping the stocked fish well fed along with crayfish and the few caddis that are hatching. The real good news is that the fish are growing large quickly and when the next big brood of little green and cinnamon caddis start up..( any day now in big numbers, since the rocks are covered with their larvae), the fat stocked and large holdovers will switch to the meaty pistachio nut morsels of caddis pupae. I predict August and September will be epic dry fly hatch  months, along with the white cahill hatches of the lower river and flying ants. Tricos and tiny pseudocloeon bwo olives will also be very important in the mix . Plus there is an ever increasing late summer Isonychia hatch , which bt fishing my Iso caine wiggle nymphs, has the trout looking up for a chewy piece. 


It's amazing how many miles of small trout streams we have between Kent/Newaygo/Montcalm-Mecosta and Lake counties that we have with wild and Gilchrist wild strain browns stocked in them, that are totally not fished...bloody not at all!

 Tamarack creek alone received almost 15,000 wild brown strain stocked fish this spring, plus has wild brookies with zero pressure. If you look at the fish stocking DNR reports for these counties its mind boggling how many trout are planted and wild!- with everyone concentrating on the larger rivers. The flooding in spring and constant storms have left them high, muddy and untouched all season and the trout spread everywhere...they are finally in fishable shape and will be for the rest of the year. These are perfect  for fishing terrestrials/hoppers etc. One could spend a whole season just exploring these creeks and its fat trout that haven't been touched! If you like strapping a back pack on and love small stream fishing, our western MI trout country is perhaps the most under explored creeks in the lower 48 !
( a wild brown from a stream just down your road !)

ALL FOR NOW!...hope this helps you find some exploring to do in the trout hunting game!