Epicurean Angler-Matthew Supinski's Selectivity/Nexus Blog- Everything Trout/Steelhead/Salmon

Epicurean Angler-Matthew Supinski's Selectivity/Nexus Blog- Everything Trout/Steelhead/Salmon

Friday, May 8, 2020

Enshrined Waters- the magic tonic of woods,cold springs and a ground-zero vision for brown trout

                           ( The magnificent Oxbow bends of  "The" hallowed Pere Marquette)

When the Pere Marquette Railroad conductor snaked his fired-up locomotive past the tall pines and dense hardwoods of what was to someday be the Manistee National Forest, little did he know that his train ride would be on a historic level to trout bums as was  Paul Revere's midnight run .That historic and precious cargo run would leave its mark on the western hemisphere in a profound way. The Germans have arrived to conquer the trout world forever!
                   ( Michigan/Federal Fish Commission car that carried 5000 brown trout fingerlings of Black Forest/Schwartzwald German genetics arrived in Baldwin on April 11, 1884 and started a whole new dynasty of trout fishing in America )
This week I had to take my power drifter boat up to Stealthcraft in Baldwin, which is 35 miles due north to get a winch repair. I got out to fish for a couple of hours as I waited on the hallowed Pere Marquette, one of the most iconic historical trout streams in the world. The water was still high and very peat stained from all the rains and flooding we have had, so I decided to throw a few big articulated streamers for its extremely elusive and selective wild browns of the true ground-zero lineage. I managed to elude one 8  inch beauty that took a white game changer as long as its body- a testimonial to the aggressive kill-artistry browns are noted for.
( This little "truttasaurus in training" beauty has the typical characteristic red spotting along the lateral line so distinctive  of browns form the Black Forest/central European stock) 
( A P.M. wild from years back when I was writing Selectivity- again laterally  thematic )
(Tuesday's walk just gave me a strong dose of what a wooded paradise is all about- browns and wood are synonymous )
( The movement of the Chocklett Game Changer should be illegal it is that effective. This one a 4 segmented articulation was gifted me by good friend and streamer fanatic Paul Zagorski. AUTHORS NOTE: check my prior blog on "Stump-Jumpin Leviathan Browns for small stream brown tactics)
But when I walk trout and salmon rivers and streams today it is more about the echos and reminiscing of days long past that gives me the most joy. Being a true fly fishing romantic this nostalgic dreaming has always given me the most joy. It is evermore so satisfying today now that I have fished most places on the planet and have caught thousands of trout , steelhead and salmon- everyone was very special and unique which I cherish. But my chase today has taken on a new meaning of all  natural ecosystems  great and small  including a level of depth and perspective of simplicity that can never be satiated.                                                                                  
"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it's not the fish they are after"-Henry David Thoreau.

 (My first author's copy of : River Journal: Pere Marquette (1994, wrote it when I still managed corporate hotels) And a nice sampling of my Hendrickson ties: adults, spinners and emergers ready to serve up to the trutta Buddhas of the ground-zero hallowed P.M. ( Hendrickson- E. subvaria- magnificent images by the one and only bug Doctor: J.G. Miller )
(The Manistee Forest parcel in our lodge driveway was planted during the 30's depression by conservation corps paid by the Feds to put people back to work and forests back together after the massive and catastrophic logging era. Even though it is 35 minutes up the road I haven't spent that much time on this beautiful natural and scenic national treasure that the P.M. is since I wrote the journal.(Rzeka is river in Polish and feminine for lady) Last Tuesday's very brief visit was a retrospective wake-up that I need I need to come and spend more time enjoying my micro-ecosystem wold of springs and forests.I now look at rivers with the blinders off. Blinders that can  become inbred in individuals that work in beauty day-to-day. They are blinders that kills the sensitivity and awe that we once had as children when we saw and heard running water. I remember the days of growing up as a boy in Niagara Falls and playing by the falls with my friends. I would sometimes stare forever at the rushing waters that truly hypnotized you  by their negative ion effects ( why so many are called to jump into them like a demonic curse) A river now to me has so much more intrigue to investigate every component part and understand it's complexity.image Roman Kahler)
So now let's get back to when the train conductor , the brakemen and biologists who took turns ladling for oxygen in the milk canisters for those 5,000 German brown fingerlings on their destination to the P.M. and Baldwin rivers. Did they realize that the historic planting they were about to make had the same ecological components of habitat as did the German Black Forest?, or was it just circumstantial? I would love to go back in time to have a whiskey with them to chat about their thoughts. When Von Behr sent his promise of eyed-up eggs to the ichthyologist master:Fred Mather in New York's Caledonia Hatchery via a ship to Long Island, I doubt that they intentionally dropped a "Google Pin" on the perfect location for them to take seed like their native waters. Coincidence is often a gift of nature. 
                                       ( A toothy ground-zero P.M. Brown-R. Felber image)
To a wary and elusive brown trout that hates light and loves dark places, this river is the prime predator foraging profile for the kill: night hunting ( this reminds me I have to spend more time this summer with my friend , savage madrigal of the darkness, the one-and-only "Trutta Buddha of the Night"-:Tommy Lynch) Night stalking is perfect in these dark wooded debris and undercut bank places they love. It is in these dense woods gifted with a plethora of cold springs that this Salmo trutta Eco-nirvana exists. Couple all these dead-falls with ice-cold springs that emanate from the ground every few feet, add some gravel and silt for aquatic insects and spawning and you have a brown trout utopia! Identical to the Black Forest they came from.
                                (Sifting along the banks for morel mushrooms and ramps on Tuesday, this image really caught my eye. You really dont appreciate or realize how many or how pronounced underground cold spring emanations are on Michigan spring-fed rivers until a springtime walk along them. When the ground is still a dull brown you see all the bright green watercress and duck wort vegetation as emerald as shamrocks. Here a massive spring bog empties into the river next to the train tracks that brought the browns by rail. Despite such an acidic forest/bog environment, surprisingly Michigan's spring-fed rivers are alkaline which is why their insect life and fertility is so pronounced) 

Finally, here is an image that friend Jacek Kaczynski  from the Gdansk/Pomerania/ Baltic part of Poland has shared .It is here I fished as a boy when I briefly lived there on my Dad's farm that had a trout and salmon river running through it.. The streams there look exactly like the P.M. and Michigan's/NY'S/WI/PA's  forested rivers. He shared this beautiful wild brown that portrays all those German Von Behr brown attributes. 

More tales, the science, the tactical chase and the journey of the brown trout are in my Nexus book.
Final Note: I have been working on starting my own online magazine you will be hearing more about in the days to come. There are still great magazines out there, especially the ones that I have been honored to write for like Fly Fisherman, and along with the ones I admire with great respect for their amazing content:TROUT magazine and Atlantic Salmon Journal. 
But I hope mine will take on a whole new perspective that is actually somewhat  retro .It will hopefully be what fly fishing magazines used to be, and what fly fishing was meant to be. The biggest constant complaints I get from social media friends is... "what happened to the quality of content in magazines?"..."why were the magazines so great in decades past!"..."I still love to read all my old issues, they had so much more substance back then".  But let's face it, we are living in a retro-society that still yearns for nostalgia. 
I will attempt to re-think your relationship with fly fishing and the way it used to be. Some things are pure and sacred-this is one of them.
Stay safe, strong and positive!
Matt Supinski/