Saturday, August 26, 2017

An amazing Michigan Pacific salmon Fall to come !- learn to fish Kings the traditional way with us!!!- also rant about tailwater FERC abuse on The Muskegon

( A stunning Michigan Wild King from the Muskegon last September/2016,, taken by client Sherman , pool fishing swinging classic west coast flies with us- the fights are breathtaking aerial battles bar none!)

It has been an amazing cool "global warming" summer this year in Michigan.This past week's morning lows were 42F- daytime highs yesterday mid 60'sF...Can't remeber weather like that since growing up in the Niagara frontier along Lake Ontario and Huron at our summer cabin- delightful! This past week, after coming back from New York's Catskill's,  guiding summer steelhead on the St Joe Thursday and Friday, I had three layers of Patagonia puff balls on in the morning- my kind of weather! Here is a beauty taken by my client Gene Kelly from Boston yesterday, as fresh run of fish were making a stage to run the river:

Even some of our "marginal" trout streams remained cool to cold. 

1st- Housekeeping Rant- need to get this off my chest 

Abuse of the FERC ( FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISION) Tailwater Regulations this summer 2017 by Consumers Power on the Muskegon River

Our tailwater gets bottom turbine draw and bubbler aeration  during the warmest two months- July and August. The power company, due to FERC stipulations, must do everything possible to keep the river as cool and aerated as possible during those critical months outlined in the relicensing agreement signed in the early 1990's. As a result,  they spent good $$$ installing a bottom bubbler system years ago to do it. When they decide to run it- big ???, it makes a big difference as a degree or two makes a big impact on the difference between life or death and a cool fishery or warm fishery in a trout's regulatory physiology 

But this summer we had a huge potential for fish kills , since Consumers Power really "F'd" it up by top spilling water for "repair reasons", a constant "variation on a theme crapolla" excuse they have been using since they eliminated human staffing and let computers, which have no judgements!, and "status quo" do, or more importantly "don't do", if programed for simplistic monitoring- they don't have human intuition and experience which is more important IMHO. Why power companies can do what they want /anytime they want, and the DNR/TU/Watershed councils let them , baffles me. Mostly they get away with this by ignorance and job negligence by those that should be monitoring their activities, which is a rampant theme today in eco management in our country. Unfortunately, political, media, academic and governmental regulatory agencies are more concerned about Russia and tearing historical statues down, than watching what goes on in our own backyards and the precious ecology we are gifted to have and often take for granted. ( btw, for those looking here for "fire and smoke", I'm neither a Republican nor Democrat, nor hater!...just an individual who believes in reality, not ideological elitism bliss, and  had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing a communist school as a boy and having a parent that was in a Nazi concentration camp- if we eliminate history because it is uncomfortable, we are damned to relive its ugly past that we have hopefully learned from and how our civilization is united by history in a modern advancement of the human race for survival IMHO) 

 Any ways, the cronyism and corruption that goes on at a state and local level  when it comes to natural resources and ecosystem management  is pathetic. I and a few others, ( I called and pleaded with Tom McGraw, president  and attorney with PM/TU, who thankfully took action and helped us out by getting Consumers Power's attention- Thank you Tom, and the work you do for the Pere Marquette and hopefully will do for our neglected and bastard child  Muskegon watershed), voiced our concerns with Consumers "officials", but the power company already decided to play Russian roulette with our trout fishery ( last year they killed a bunch of summer steelhead in August when they shut down a bottom draw turbine, and angler/guide Bob Mansel had to call them and say fish were dying, "so please turn the F'ing thing back on!!!). The MDNR  invests close to half a million dollars each year for its trout and steelhead programs just on the Muskegon river .We could have had major fish kills this summer because Consumers power  pulled the bottom draw on the two most stressful months of the year- July and August, breaking the FERC regulations because of excuses that they get away with. Thank God we had a cool summer!!!!!, thus the cool weather allowed our trout some degree of comfort and hold-over , which could have been a disaster if we had a sweltering summer like last year.

This crap goes on because of  pure cronyism: "who" sits on whose board of directors on watershed councils, who gives money to who and to which political groups ( eg. -Nestle bottling giving money to watersheds, THEN TURNING AROUND AND RAPING THE WATER SUBTERRANEAN AQUIFERS, is all total BS!) Ignorance is the number one culprit, as things are quietly shoved through undetected. Apathy by those that really care , is now at rampant levels since we get screwed so many times and nobody but anglers and guides seem to care, and they don't even care anymore- sad!
All in all - "it is what it is', and hopefully our loud mouths and protests lets the water spicket company know we are watching and they won't pull the crap over fisherman's eyes- most importantly "THE FISH", that depend on their regulations, since they built the dams in the first place, and seriously and really now, should tear the goddamn ancient things down!!!!. 

(BTW, and just for the record, We had two major fish kills two winters ago, when Consumers' Power "sophisticated computers" didnt detect an abnormality when ice froze up a discharge monitoring station and the river almost dried-up - TWICE!!!! at winter nights with minus 30F air temperatures in February, that killed trout, steelhead, other fish and aquatic insects, wild chinook salmon eggs in the gravel etc.- disgusting!, all because Consumers Power wants to maximize profits and not have a person monitoring the computers. Is it our responsibility to call them and say- "turn the GODDAMN WATER ON !!"- should not be our job to do that eh?)

So, as we come into the fall, our longstanding  river's biologist, who gave us so much love, (NOT!), retired, thank's to our prayers being answered. So we now have no biologist, but are hoping our Lake Michigan watershed director , Jay Wesley, who is a very intelligent and understanding biologist and administrator- also really a nice guy, whom I have had dialogue with over twenty years ,and the biologists up north in Cadillac office that take good care of their rivers up there, will keep an eye out for us in nether land, as hopefully all will that claim they love the Muskegon waters - Amen.  


As Alaska's King salmon fishery is on the decline and almost shut-down ( shame!- this is what overharvesting and abuse does ), our Wild King chinook salmon have been taken up to 40 lbs this summer in the big lake. We saw kings last fall in the low 30 lb range on the Muskegon...cant' wait till this fall!- excellent catches already reported in northern rivers.Here are a few kings caught with me last fall swinging intermediate lines with comets and bosses in pools. Come and learn there is more to "king slamon" fishing than lining the piss out of fish on gravel and dragging them in "bass-end-ackwards!"- no sport in that mattie's-savvy?

Here is a picture gallery of last year's amazing fish by our clients- both King and Coho's from the Muskegon and St. Joe Rivers. We still have a few good dates and weekends left and would love to show you pool fishing techniques that make these fish amazing "pre-spawn" game fish fighters we are fortunate to have, as their indigenous waters are being decimated and desiccated on the West Coast  by man's abuse from poor ecosystem management decisions, protecting endangered species that dont need protection anymore and the pure and unadulterated human greed we are so notoriously known for .

 Since we are a "fly fishing' operation, we dont throw thunderstick rapalas on spinning rods, BTW, which is an excellent sporting way to trigger the aggressive bite. We do the same only with intermediate sink tips. 9/10 weights and aggressive poking wet flies /intruder streamers that trigger the instinctual/territorial/innate King grab response.
Cheers- Na Zdrowie- see you this fall!,