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

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

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Hexaritaville-It's On!


 It’s a happening...like swarms of a plague to a dry fly dopers delight, the largest mayflies on earth are emerging at dusk. The chance for the biggest brown trout of a lifetime awaits when the tug on the glow line in your hands after midnight is the drug. The iconic Hexagenia and Lithrobrancha ( Dark Drake) hatch is on! In the complete anthology Mayfly issue of Hallowed Waters Journal ( coming soon in hard copy glossy print) the big mayfly hatch is explored from every angle in “ The Mayfly Aristocracy” piece. Michigan “Hexaholics” like Pitzer, Lynch,Vanderwall and poet laureate Linsenman with his “ Hexaritaville” saga, delve deep into the dark side and things that go bump in the night... come and subscribe to

The passion of the Trout Bum starts here!


( Please watch water temperatures on your waters which are approaching or over the 70 degree mark. Fish colder spring- fed waters when possible. The bugs will hatch, the trout will feed, but a big brown fought hard in the middle of the night in warm water temps retained from a warm sunset , despite your release, might not live to see another Hex hatch! A big brown is a terrible thing to waste!)

Monday, June 13, 2022

Please Visit Us on Social Media!


 Our latest updates and fishing conditions are on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages along with Matthew Supinski's private page. Hallowed Waters Journal is publication that Matthew Supinski publishes and has an Instagram Page. Also Matthew's Face Book and Twitter pages is updated daily for the most accurate stuff- also feel free to call us anytime at 231-250-2846....see you soon!

SPRING MAYFLY HATCHES AND COOL WEATHER HAVE BEEN AWESOME!

 

With the cool weather and good water flows the spring trout fishing has been excellent. This bodes well for the summer for sure! But sometimes the stars align for the perfect late morning/ noon hatch... Cold, clear  50 F night, started with bright sun turned into a cloudy, humid  day with drizzle/ light rain, air temps mid 60’s , water temps 59-60. Not a boat or angler to be found and Viola!, Steno Cahills emerging and spinning- dirty rusty spinner did the trick on this beautiful Loch Leven spotted brownie. Sometimes timing is everything! But this magnificent bastard refused emergers and duns with at least 4 fly changes- selectivity at its finest! 
(Stay tuned for the next Hallowed Waters Podcast coming June 15th on the “Mayfly Mystique”, when I host guest author and Obi Wan Kenobi of all things Ephemera and Hatches- you probably know who? ) 



#muskegonriverhatches #mayfliesofMichigan #hallowedwaterspodcasts #graydrakeoutfitters #hallowedwatersjournal #stenonema #catskillhatches #cahillhatch #mayflies #browntrout #flyfishing #dryflyfishing #selectivitytrout #rustyspinner #matchthehatch #alcaucci #hatchesbook #comparadun #browntroutatlanticsalmonnexus #selectivitybook

NOAH'S DRAKES

                                                                       



( Like manna from heaven a gray drake spinner lands on us. After a brutally hot and drought filled summer of 2021, our Gray Drake/Siphlonurus hatch disappeared mysteriously-but they are back to our surprise and joy. Client and Montana Trout Bum magnifique:John Gryzbek, prepares his Bamboo rod for action to spinner rises)

It's amazing how nature and what was the old normal is now the new bizarre and unusual. Nature is an amazing force that kicks our ass and embarrasses us. Just when you think you have a good understanding of it, it marvels and baffles you. 2021 was a brutal year on our Michigan and Midwest rivers. We had one of the worst sustained droughts in a century, after one of the heaviest rain filled flooding years of 2020 that flooded entire Michigan towns like Midland, broke dams and destroyed crops and fields. Such bizarre weather extremes are the new normal with climate change. Mayfly hatches like moisture/humidity, cool air and water. Those were next to impossible things to find in the dry and hot drought conditions that stifled Midwestern rivers. But unfortunately to our immediate gratification "streaming now and in the moment " culture, we could barely remember what happened yesterday, let alone a year ago.To mayflies having extreme dry and hot weather are catastrophic concepts. The catastrophe happened.

( For 30 years having named my guide service the Gray Drake we have had blizzard hatches of Siphlonurus mayflies for 6 to 7 weeks in May and June. The earth stood still in 2022 when literally not a bug was found on our lights we monitor at night and mornings. Spinner falls on the river were non-existent. It was true amazement and despair all at once.)


Certain mayflies like Siphlonurus, Leptophlebia and even Isonychia are shoreline emergers. They thus migrate to shore and backwater sloughs and swamps on the river's shorelines as nymphs and hatch by crawling up on vegetation, woody debris and rocks in the middle of the night to emerge. Once there they climb into the trees and molt into spinners to return the following evenings and mornings to spin, couple and mate, laying their eggs above the riffle's.
                                                 ( Drakes in trees molting into spinners)

               ( Here the "Bug Doctor": guide and entomological master Johnny Miller wandered the swampline shorelines of Michigan's Muskegon River, night after night in search of a the elusive gray drake dun adult whose image and sight of was extremely rare even for entomologist's to trace except for western versions that tend to emerge often from the water. Here is one of the rare adult dun gray drake images in the world. Miller set up aquaria and spent the night listening to heavy metal and photographing the rare hidden world of this phantom hatch as noted Michigan fly fishing icon and Orvis fly shop owner Dick Pobst labeled them in one of his many articles for Fly Fisherman Magazine. He had a 100.00 reward out for anyone that would find an adult. Miller answered to his challenge and won it! Notice the nymph crawling up on the stick and hatching. Siphlonurus drake nymphs are rapid swimmers and swam around like tiny minnows along the shoreline, which confused Miller as he was scooping and seining for drake nymphs- he thought they were tiny fry and pinhead minnows!)

( Entire riverbeds drying-up in 2021. Also the lack of good care by our Hydro-company controlling the dam's tailwaters is a disaster to put it mildly. That stalking Heron amongst the many was responsible for wiping out many trout sadly and their numbers are alarming growing and protected)
( What a door looked like in the morning during heavy drake activity in normal years)
When the spinner clouds of drakes didn't appear in 2021 in massive swarms like they were in 2020 all the dry fly addicts and hatch chasers were stumped and in disbelief, Nobody had a clue other than low water conditions and dry, heat induced conditions had an "off year" effect on the mayflies. We had seen dry drought years do that. But nothing in the magnitude of 2021.Theories were flying and I was about to figure it out somehow, someway. I called entomologists and university science and entomology departments. They really didnt have an answer for me since very little information is logged in chronicles and research papers on the elusive Siphlonurus.


( One of the largest browns taken on a gray drake spinner- massive hatch of 2020 Covid year. 27 inches on a cool moist morning spinner fall )


So left to my own reasoning and mayfly acquired knowledge from good friends and authors Carl Richards, Dick Pobst and grand mayfly guru Al Caucci, I began to use my understanding and reasoning about mayfly life cycles and emergences. One thing we knew for sure was that drakes laid their eggs over broken riffle waters. The nymphs' hatched in the gravel and spent their first 9 months in gravel mainstream bottom areas feeding and migrating from different foraging sites. About two months before emergence ( March/April time period) they start their slow and steady migrations toward the shorelines from the main stream bed riffles. At precisely that  time our river levels were dropping drastically from no winter snow precipitation and melt-off, no spring rains and very dry and bitter cold nights. No rains came in the spring of 2021 and more exposed gravel bars and stream banks were showing every week at alarming rates in a time where our rivers are usually flooded and full of water.

As can be seen by the river images above entire sections of river and gravel bars were drying-up. Areas that should be waist or chest deep were now ankle deep or dry. Th avian predation from herons, osprey and eagles was become vicious and brutal for the trout populations. Every trout caught had claw or poke marks from birds.

Thus as the water levels kept dropping as the gray drakes nymphs were migrating to shore. Often once in a shoreline area, the next night or day found them in dry bedrock and frozen to death by very cold spring nights of high Arctic pressure system parked over us and not keeping any moisture in the air and climate. It was a "slaughter" akin to Pickett's charge for the Siphlonurus nymphs as they attempted to climb the banks and shorelines to emerge.

Most people dont notice mayflies like dry fly, trout bum junkies do. So when..."where are all the drakes?...have you seen the gray drakes?...what the hell happened- I was out at prime time and there were no drakes?" started to be the normal chatter, the mayfly world stood still. How could we go to the most insane blizzard hatches Michigan rivers had ever witnessed in perhaps a hundred years just a season before to almost nothing!!-impossible.The hatch matching dry fly chaser's world like mine started to collapse.Despair and pandemonium shook us.
 ( What gray drakes looked like when you shined your flashlight- like stars in all the galaxy numbers- never in my lifetime or in any place on earth have a I witnessed mayflies like tgis))
 
So I decided on the inevitable verdict,that 2021 year-class gray drakes all died and pershid as they migrated to the shorelines in a bizarre unnatural drought event that made no sense with the normal evolutionary climate of wet cold springs that the temperate climates have been accustomed to for millenia.. Yes we had droughts before, but nothing as severe and long sustained as Michigan  climatologists were complaining about. VERDICT OF CORONER: DEAD-GONE! could only explain it. It's not like they have multiple spawning life cycles like fish that forgoes or can a year class of spawning. It's a 365 day life style and what you sow you reap next year, not what was previously reaped.

Months later when I started my Hallowed Waters Podcasts https://open.spotify.com/show/5jeEdcGqhGMZFn0xMcLZOj
I had my first guest: The Brown Trout Night Stalker-Tommy Lynch" I reveled my findings to Tommy in the broadcast and it made perfect sense to both of us. We estimated it would take ddecades or never if it came back. 

But Wait!-They're Back!

Trout fisherman and bug experts are plagued by too much knowledge and also the lack of it. This is what happens to us the more we think we know and how dare we lose faith the beauty of nature to protect, preserve, buffer and have a back-up plan and heal in the finest natural way. We often see that about streams we say" are fished out- no fish left!" to only later discover by a fish electro-shocking crew to have a bumper crop of wild trout living under the radar. In a spring poised for despair and no gray drakes, we started to despairingly chatter until a guide friend Michael D. asked the bitter question:" See any?"..."nope", my reply. Then it came. His cell phone video came one eveninglike the start of Bethlehem, or as the doors of Noah's Ark opened. That same night he saw spinner mating flight clouds of drakes in the lower river heading up river fast. I was startled , teared-up, elated and perplexed all at the same tiime.I failed to take into account the mayfly hatching migration cycles from lower to upper river, and different water habitat and river structure that all have the ability to buffer and protect- forgive me mayfly gods!



CASE SOLVED

Though the hatch this year was very weak to a scattering of a few spinners in the sky compared to previous years, the joy resides in the fact that we didn't lose them. Each mayfly generation must leave eggs to have another brood and generation. One generation lost in a 365 day life cycle is a population totally eradicated.The upper 14 miles of tailwater of the Muskegon is considered the prime trout and drake mayfly water by its gravel/pool structure.The lower river can be flatter, deeper, swampy and total void of specific trout stream-like structure. It is here that the drought would have the least impact since the river structure is not as gradient filled and thus would not dry up as severely in this flood plane setting. It is here that the haven and harbor to keep the Siphlonurus drakes would occur and so it did. With depth and vegetation and wooded debris closer to the banks, along with wet land swamps as part of the banks, the severity in drought was not as visible and impactful. And it was from here that the first flights of drakes probably took flight and origin. The mayfly spinner flight progressions usually start in the lower river waters where temperatures warm up sufficiently and the quickest, and thus migrate up stream nightly to the rivers source.

Thus it is here that "Noah's Drake Ark" had refuge and safe haven. And through here our dry fly joy owes much too. Long live Noah's Drakes!

Matthew Supinski
Gray Drake













Monday, January 18, 2021

OUR HALLOWED WATERS JOURNAL-PASSION FOR TROUT/STEELHEAD/SALMON

 

In case you haven't seen it yet, Laurie and I have been launching a cool new magazine concept.The new issue just came out Jan 15th- our second issue, and the accolades and subscripotions we atre recieveing have been truly amazing!- we hope you can come to this passion and journeyt for all things trout/steelhead /salmon fly fishing.


The winter issue has amazing pieces on winter spring creeks, cold weather steelheading, how to fish winter tailwaters and the snowbound early black stonefly hatch...plus 12 departmental columns on evry facet of the sport! 175 pages, 450 color images, 40 fly patterns and recipes and even my gourmey food and spirits column!


Hope you can join us on the passion and journey for what we all love!...to subscribe come to our website...https://hallowedwaters.com/

Hope to see you in a better and brighter 2021 at the Gray Drake!
Matt & Laurie





Wednesday, January 6, 2021

FINALLY SEEING SOME JANUARY CHROME

 

Finally seeing some January Pink Chrome...where "they should be"

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

January is the new Novomber




 Fresh run of steelhead is here and on the move!...the brown and rainbow tailwater nymphing has been exceptional!...warm up coming!





Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Annual 3 for 2 Holiday Special- Great Gift Idea

 

Want a Christmas or Hanukah gift for that special someone in your life?...or maybe treat yourself! 
Offering our annual "3 for 2" Holiday special- Buy two guide trips and get a third free! (Purchase before December 25th and schedule it anytime in 2021 depending on what style of Trout/Steelhead/Salmon fly fishing you like to do- including instruction for beginners wanting to get into this amazing outdoor passion!
Whether you are thinking steelhead, amazing dry fly action for big browns and rainbows on the tailwaters and rivers to mayfly, stonefly and caddis hatches, spey swinging and instruction, small stream wild brookies and browns, streamers for big browns, wild King salmon or our unique Atlantic salmon program we have in Michigan- WE HAVE IT ALL!
Email us at our web site www.graydrake,com or call us at 231-250-2846
A better 2021 is coming and its time to start planning it now (Gift certificate print-outs are provided if you are giving them as a gift) #graydrakelodge #flyfsihing #trout #steelhead #spey #browntroutonstreamers #dryfly #hatches #kingsalmon #atlanticsalmon #christmasgiftideas



Sunday, November 29, 2020

Winter Steelhead Manifesto- An Obession

 

Coming in the winter issue of Hallowed Waters Journal..."Cold Steel Dreaming-An Obsessive Winter Steelheader's Manifesto". The complete Zen bible and passion on this brutal winter game that is a cult gig where endurance, karma, obsessive/compulsive Merlin-esque sorcery qualities are needed to often conjure up the deep freeze bite. The tactical and psych skinny is shared here by the top steelhead guide gurus form the Great Lakes to the Pacific northwest. The fisheries are changing, the tactics becoming more intense and refined, but the fish and the chase are still the burn for the dope and fix in this "tug is the drug" obsession...come to www.hallowedwaters.com, your passion and journey starts here!-where all waters and the Trout/Steelhead/Salmon are sacred -subscribe today! #hallowedwatersjournal @Watershallowed #steelheadflyfishing #wintersteelheading #steelhead #flyfishing #greatlakessteelhead #pacificnorthweststeelhead #graydrake #steelheaddreams #matthewsupinski




Friday, November 13, 2020

More precipitation coming!- Steelhead, Atlantics and browns knocking on the door!


 For those that have waited with all this bizarre low water and heat wave of November, the best is yet to come!!! 



Saturday, October 24, 2020

STEEL CHROME IS HERE!

 

Finally we have rain!...and fresh chrome fall steelhead are here!





Monday, August 10, 2020

Hallowed Waters Journal


 

After nearly 3 decades of writing magazine articles and books for other publishers, guiding relentlessly for over 25 years and fishing around the globe, I am extremely excited to announce that I am launching my own digital magazine called “ Hallowed Waters Journal-The Trout/Salmon/Steelhead Passion”. This endeavor is the culmination of all of these efforts and  the perfect vehicle for me to continue my endless pursuit of excellence and share my passion for the tactical sport, science, theories and art of fly fishing for these amazing fish. In this quarterly magazine I hope to bring you in depth content, stunning photography and videos and feature  provocative and innovative talented anglers and artisans of our craft-past and present. I will explore tactics, examine and decipher historical and scientific foundations and intriguing tales that will give you endless approaches and perspectives in the never ending pursuit of the trout/salmon/steelhead angling journey. From there you will be able to apply them on your own backyard hallowed waters as well as on a global scale  -  no matter where the rivers of your dreams take you.. 

Please take a look at the new website and read the Preview Issue, Mission and Editor’s Blog  which tells the whole story. I hope that you will be enticed enough to become a subscriber and will share this link with anyone you know; from die hard fanatics,to curious novices,. I will truly appreciate your support and welcome you to come along on this exciting new adventure in my life as we all continue the joy and passion of learning and adventure.


Please join me at: https://hallowedwaters.com/


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A very good friend and fishing partner- Dick Pobst-RIP



I am very sadden to say my good friend, supporter and an Icon in the fly fishing world passed away yesterday- the one and only Dick Pobst. Dick was a good fishing partner on the Muskegon and a bug /hatch matching fanatic up until a few years ago. Dick introduced me to Orvis 25 years ago when I first started out in an old wooden/fiberglass drift boat. He and Carl Richards "Selective Trout " fame put bugs and hatches into perspective for everyone. Dick's "Trout Stream Insects- and Orvis Pocket Guide" was a master work that made bug Latin simple. My upcoming online magazine will feature Dick and Carl in the "Caddis Conundrum"...may God rest your soul brother, and may you and Carl find all new species of aquatic bugs in heaven to harass and enjoy!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Big Mayfly Time- The light giant drakes of Summer ( and heat wave warning)

( A Hex/yellow drake/ Danica  imitation- author image and tie)

Summer's  giant drakes are one mayfly hatch period that guarantees big trout will be on the prowl for them. Besides the legendary Hexagenia/( light hex) and Rithrogena (dark hex) hatch of Michigan and the Midwest, Hexs' /giant drakes exist all over the globe and east coast were you have silty stream bottoms and fine gravel . Even on classic eastern/western freestone/cobblestone rivers, the lower silty portions of them have Hexagenia hatches, as do limeteoners and spring creeks everywhere. Big trout will pack on the weight from these hatches, and the fact that many do not fish late into the night on ice cold spring creeks since they fish well in mid-day, they often emerge without notice.

Europe's Ephemera Danica comes off a little earlier starting in May ( thus the word Mayfly). It is very similar to the Green Drake emergence cycle, but will continue its hatching throughout summer on the ice cold spring creek/chalk streams of Europe well into July. I once encountered excellent Danica hatches on the River Avon spring creek/chalk stream in Salisbury England in late July, and the big browns went ballistic for them!) For the amazing landlocked salmon/lake/sea browns of Michigan , and New England/Scandinavia/Baltic areas the Hexagenia is a big appetite arouse where the Hex nymphs comprise an amazing part of the diets of big water salmonids where found- especially in Great Lakes/Finger Lakes.


                 (What we see of the Hex hatch is only skin deep. An amazing autopsy from a  Great Lakes charter guide friend (James Chamberlin image )on northern glacial inland lake in Michigan- lake trout belly stuffed with hex nymphs)
(Hex nymph image J.G. Miller)
( massive vertical growth takes place on these lake systems with hexagenia overload- Landlocked Atlantic shown here- browns get even more glutton-like. Author image)

Here they emerge from their burrows to relocate by massive schools/pods, especially in fall and spring, and the salmonids chow-down heavily on them in deep water depths. Atlantics' , steelhead and browns, plus char binge down on them all year. Sometimes the sonar graphs of fish finders in these lakes are a blizzard cloud of them on the graph)

                                  ( I'm a big fan of the amazing foam mayfly bodies of Frosty Fly  https://frostyfly.com/. , a Slavic based company in Canada that does excellent mail-order.They come in all varieties and are insect specific ( here is Hex, Danica)- tell them I sent you. You can combine them with wings of CDC, duck feathers, Snowshoe rabbit, traditional hackle- you can custom infuse them into your creations like I do)
              ( my Nexus Hex wiggle nymph from my "Brown Trout-Atlantic Salmon Nexus" Book- author image)
                         ( light and dark Hex- sometimes a gender or species specific trait= J.G. Miller "the Bug Doctor" image)
                (Top: more traditional yellow drake/Potamanthus wiggle from my "Selectivity" book- a killer on many classic freestone and spring creeks in late summer...Below: a beautiful wild  Catskill's/Neversink brown trout of September that love to eat them in between meals of olives and beetles ( fish embodies the Salmo Nexus morphology- author images )

The other Yellow Drakes : Potamanthus, Ephemera varia and Epeorus vitreus , all emerge sporadically many times on most waters and stand out like a giant yellow flower on the water. You can be sure they will get gulped up fast by any trout due to their meaty proportions and being extremely obvious.
On the ice cold Catskill tailwaters they float for long duration's and will get extremely long compound/complex  rises from the trout, which have been used to sipping # 20's. Both Classic eastern freestoners and spring creeks have them, and they start to hatch in June, but will sporadically hatch all summer at odd times of the day- you will never know when they turn up! They are excellent indicators of good healthy freestone and spring creek water qualities.

More to come in the "Rise Forms" departmental column of my new online magazine being released this month- cheers!, stay cool, give the trout a break, and turn off all electronics in the house to save electricity- use solar chargers for your smart phones and tabs- mine is working great!
Matthew Supinski

                                       (NOTE: Please stay advised on heat wave conditions: carry a thermometer, and don't fish waters that are approaching or are over 70 F . Only fish cold limestone/subterranean spring creeks that stay ice cold year-round, alpine environment brooks ( Rockies/Appalachians etc.) also Catskill and other tailwaters around the globe that have very deep 150 plus impoundments depths for bottom draw. Michigan is loaded with subterranean spring creeks and they are the tiny creeks that you never fish because they are obscure and require the art of walking-they carry more wilds than you ever thought!, but watch out for heat stroke and carry lots of water) Usually very tiny feeder springs of tributaries of rivers will have icy conditions that hold up. But the farther you move away from spring sources, the warmer it will get. Also watch out for large thermally stressed fish in springs that have migrated there for survival, They are usually larger and darker and move lethargically- MOST WILL SURVIVE IF YOU LEAVE THEM THE F' ALONE!- best to stay inside and tie flies, READ!, yes read books (long lost art due to modern society's ADHD) until the heat breaks- you can do it!, like the commercials say "we're in this together eh!)


( for more reading and  fly tying recipes /tactics on this subject and others. Lots of  in-depth/code cracking hatch matching conundrums :