Isn’t summer just so fricken awesome?!?!?!   I mean, the last report I did was on the trout opener and it seems like yesterday, yet it was three months ago.  We’ve had an interesting summer between higher waters, early mouse seasons, lacking mayfly hatches, and even some lampriside in the river to keep things interesting as we go into August.  Fishing pressure is par for the season, and though the Hex Hatch did happen, it was never all that great this year; with that said, I’ve never seen so many golden stones hatch on this river as I have this year and they larger stone fly is still cycling as we lean into my favorite time of the year and the tailings of summer!  Lately the hopper fishing has been coming on line nicely due to the waters cooler temps and flows thanks to recent storms which are typically rare for MI this late into summer.  Mouse fishing seemingly always works to some end as long as you can muster the sand to engage… Varied approaches and sections seem to be the ticket this year with numbers maybe just down for normal, but the overall size of the fish being ahead of the curve since we have been hunting in less populated trout sections.  Sorry for such a lapse in reports, but do to the local wanna be guides climbing up my skirt whenever a spot sheet crosses their path, I’m learning to be more of a reporter instead of a forecaster.  We are sneaking up on what is MI’s trophy season with rodents and other assorted waked protein posers… This really is my favorite time of year when the trout, setting up pre spawn calories, allow themselves to be vulnerable with low and clear conditions and a need to feed that keeps their eyes on the prize… Those being my flies.  Still have a few openings for the trophy season this August and September, and I will be running mouse & hopper trips all September long this year to utilize the longer nights and the lack of people engaging.  As soon the salmon caviar starts to dump late September, we’ll be flipping to more of a daytime schedule with streamers and eggs so to adapt to the condition.  Get out there folks… Michigan summers are not something we should take for granted.  Sleep in the winter, fish till the wheels come off, it’s summertime!

 

 

Following the trout opener we continued some great streamer fishing all the water into the middle of the Gray Drakes around the second week of May.  We had likely a dozen good nights out of 30 that I could say the drake fishing was worth being out, and though the Grays were lacking this year, the giant golden stones were flying like I’ve never seen and picked up the slack nicely.  Hex Hatch 2017 was more or less a high water event that we tried to make into a dry fly scenario, and though we did land 22 fish over 20″ long over a period of a couple weeks, that is sub par by any other years standards on the hex.  Cleaning up with either stones pre hatch or mice post hatch, we worked a bit harder, but got it done nicely.  Blaming the higher water for over fattening the trout pre hatch, and then again keeping the water high and dirty almost throughout the entire hatch, we found the Hex wanting as well and we had that hatch in our rear view mirror by Independence Day.  Strangely this year the mouse fishing was saving our ass early on starting in May with the clearest water of the summer still being of that month.  June was fishing with the rodents early on, but not like May because the fish were spread with the excess water keeping the undercuts available and a daytime bite still feasible.  Running my data from past years, I’m starting to notice a trend between poor mayfly hatches and mild winters, where the they enhance our stones and caddies; but when we have longer and harder winters the mayfly hatches seem to be more prolific.  Might be totally off line here, but the last 30 years of watching them it seems to be semi consistent.  Just before the past rains a week or so back, we spent most of July recovering from the more extreme flows in June with drowned our whatever hex potential we had; yet when the water did clear and drop it was apparent how well the terrestrial fishing was tipping for the better.  We had been fishing giant stones for almost two months straight and we can now stay with the bigger foam all the way through summer thanks to the flows and big stones so prevalent this year.  As of last night, the lampricide is in the water and the fish are fattening, but it’ll be short lived and they’ll need some protein soon enough.  Recapping, this summers fishing has been good without being great, but the folks I’ve been able to fish with this summer make it all worth it… Good nights & bad nights of fishing never kept the good vibes from being the staple of each run.  We had fun, we caught some fish, and we look forward to the next evolution as the seasons change and offer new agendas and techniques to engage our favorite… The Brown Trout…

 

 

Looking ahead, the hopper fishing looks to improve greatly over the next month or so, and even into October in recent years.  Mouse fishing will work whenever you’re willing to engage it, and do yourself a favor and mix things up on the terrestrial fronts… Cause lets face it, a mouse is just another variation of a terrestrial as it leans from the bank and is a common sight and opportunity for the brown trout.  Only difference between chucking hoppers in the daylight versus bigger mice at night is the lighting and canoe traffic. While hopper fishing, always appreciate that they do enter the river from the banks or the trees which tend to be on one side or another and not in the middle.  Considerations are always in play for the middle river wood structures or the eddies that are out a bit, or even under overhanging trees where things tend to fall with some frequency.  Fish terrestrials with allot of action and then several seconds of dead drift to first attract and then to offer the fly to the fish.  They often like to set up the sip or gulp instead of chase down the foam offerings.  If your damsel is in distress, then choose an approach suitable for the prey… Fish directly upstream and same sided to allow for maximum bank time as damsels are abundant and noticed by the trout in those areas… Especially those with hanging grass and less even banks.  Don’t be afraid to be offensive with your size in hopper choice… Fat Alberts, Chubbys, Chernobyl, etc…  Fish them so they are noticed, yet not fleeting to ensure he sees it, but isn’t turned off by its retreat in shortened order.  Fish away from the craft or person as it applies… 20-25′ you’ll see a few, and when the lights get low you may have a shot, but for the most part it’s just casterbation at best with a few dinks to keep you looking. At 30′, fishing the deeper pools out in front could score you something of value even with the lights on, and almost guarantees some good love before its time to put a head lamp on… At 35-40′ away from your person, shit starts coming on line… Fish will blow up the pattern, completely unaware of anything but what might offer above. There are no fry or minnows alerting the aged resident of the incoming leg wakes or vessel, and so to shut down offerings for safety sake.  Even if they don’t spook, they aren’t going to feed either.  If you fish away from your person up to 50′ in such a tiny corridor such as the PM, YOU ARE A HERO, and you will be catching fish so long as your presentation is consistent and you bank proximity is on step.  I’m all about mixing up some patterns over the course of a day, but I’ve noticed it’s more where and how you are fishing a terrestrial, hopper or mouse, that really ends up selling the fish to your presentation.  As you fish more and more, become a better angler each time you engage the river so to improve your overall chances each time you do.  If you are just one of a thousand carbon copy casts in a river that is fished like the PM, your results will be less then if you raised the bar and fished one better cast instead of 3 cheesy ones… Zimmy Knolph once said, “The PM Will Fish As Well As You Fish It”… As I age I’m seeing that logic clearly, even as the bar is raised with so many people angling these days, which really is a great thing… Contrary to the negative Nancy’s out there that all think they invented the wheel.  Nobody wants to fly fish to catch more fish, they do so to add more sport to each event they engage… If you want to catch more fish, grab some crawlers and Rapala and go get it done.  Be an angler as much as a fisherman… Or simply be an angler.  For me, I just like casting these days!

 

 

We’ll be planning a trip to the South Holsten this year for an array of different rivers to engage based on flows and our motivation to either fish in the daylight or at night.  Anyone interested in this should consider that this is a streamer/mouse event and we are all pretty hard core anglers looking to see that next evolution of brown trout instead of just going fishing.  This trip isn’t for everyone, or even other guides, but the fellows we have pinned down for this winter are all VERY on step with angling and are pumped up to not only fish the conditions, but also are hungry doing so.  We are going to limit this run to 3 boats per session instead of 4 because things seemed a little less personal per group last year, and the six man group seems strongest and more mobile.  Three sessions is the goal, and it’s looking like January this year per our guides favored engagement.  This trip isn’t for a beginner or even novice angler looking to learn the ways of the big fly by day or night, this migration is to rally allot of serious anglers, devoted to the brown trout and especially those that are bigger and of higher character at any time of the day or night pending the conditions or our prowess.  Already have most of this filled and haven’t even really got on step to get this done outside of some chatter, so this is just a feeler to see if any of you regulars feel like it might fit and maybe bump it up to 4 sessions instead of 3.  It’ll be later in January, we’ll be renting a house again, and all things are pretty much save the location and the guides… 4 Day fishing blocks, with 5 nights of lodging.  Blane Chocklett & Chris Willen are likely on step for being two of your three swingers and all are very excellent anglers and guides as you know, and again, this is all in the making so bare with.  Excited as always and hungry… Hell, I just guided 6 nights in a row, and tonight’s my first night off… Guess what I’m doing… Going fishing just as soon as I finish this report my wife told me to do since it’s three months old… But again its summer in Michigan, and we feel as if we are always on a clock to have a good time so sleep is optional, much the same way we like to fish when we go away to the southern tail waters looking to beat the winter blues and possibly swing big with the mutants of those watersheds.  Contact me at home if you think your on pace with some serious anglers, and an even better good time with great dudes all into the big fly/big trout approaches…

 

 

Locally we have very limited openings this later trophy season in Michigan’s terrestrial/mouse season.  September still has some solid openings, and October is filling for the brown trout egging, and streamers and even a few early chrome cruise missiles.  November is almost booked, but don’t dismiss those early December dates as I’m seeing the better fishing every fall leading into Christmas.  If you want to fish the mice in a little more light to help the learning curve, we’ve been instituting some great programs on those higher light nights that are paying nicely considering, and during those bright moon phases is a great time to be hopper fishing because the trout can’t hunt at night as well as they would like, and often will feed midday on terrestrials to make up for it.  On those darker moon phases we are seeing our better trout fishing as the darker it is, the more trout are available and out to sack your rodent.  Varieties of stones, muddlers, frogs, and varied mice are all doing well right now as we clear up post a couple inches of rain that gave us some decent streamer fishing a couple days last week and again, as soon as she gins out in a couple of days, the bank bugs will be on step in a good way.  Mouse fishing the last couple evenings, post streamer runs, has been there, but not hot hot… That should change as soon as the water clears and they stop gobbling dead lamprey and crawlers that have been bleeding out of the banks this past week.  Water temps have yet to be an issue on the PM as the entire top end has been very cool this summer.  Lower sections got close to 70, but not quite and weren’t there long thanks to the rains.  August is the very best month of the year in my opinion, even till the middle of September, there is no better time to be a night angler as the nights are longer, the fish are starving and are on a pre spawn bite to click it up a notch.  Water levels make for accessing more water across the state, and the wild flowers add a great whiff to what is already a great time to cast and watch the stars.  No noisy paddlers in canoes and rafts, no beating sun and middle to higher 80’s, but more the quiet end to the day with more noise coming from raccoons and coyotes in the distance then a bunch of drunks with no love for the river dumping beer cans and F bombs.  Your section seemingly your own, and void of the aluminum hatch and all the riff raft that comes with it.  Fishing in the daylight the other 6 months of the year, I live for the 6 I don’t as I have embraced the dark side of trout fishing more so than any other per preference and need to see that next level brown trout that would remain elusive all day under some log jam so not to have to duck and weave the traffic and noise of the midday parade.  Embrace the dark side… It may change your life… And if nothing else allow a perspective on the brown trout you can never know unless you meet him on his terms, that being at night!

 

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