It’s been a great fall so far, and even September had some bright spots amongst the Salmon Army that invaded the river for the easy impalements. Steelhead Run 2018 is off to a STELLAR start as of yet, and though up till recently we have been battling a little more in the clearer waters, our watersheds were just given a huge chunk of moisture that should ensure several more pushes of chrome in the weeks to come. Water temps are dropping, fishing numbers increasing, (at least ones that bite), and the fishing pressure is all but gone thanks to no more fish spawning on their beds. These rivers, will be almost vacant of any anglers come the Gun Opener, just a week out; and that leaves allot of great fishing to be had all the way too, and through the Holidays. Steelhead are running very large overall this year and my boat has already scored several middle teen fish, and there looks to be another push entering the system following this big low pressure. We are headed to Arkansas in just 3 months, we need THREE SPOTS filled before we are booked up for the 3 week stay on The White River. Base line trip rate for 4 days fishing and 5 nights lodging will be $1,300 per angler… And I’ll drop a few more details below, but this is all but booked up, and the wife is nailing down the very best accommodations this year, and bit more upstream for strategic and dramatic reasons. It’s shaping up to be a great Fall/Winter here for us, and the books are all but booked. Once I get down to a few open dates for this fall, I’m going to take the rest off so I don’t go nuts… Bookings following the 15th of December will all be based on conditions date to date and really won’t be booked more than a week in advance. Folks… Thanks for a very awesome year, and sorry to some of you that had Hex Dates this year we had to cancel, on what was likely the very best Hatch in years, but if I’m to set a good example on all fronts, one of those first and foremost is to never take your fisheries for granted, and to respect the resource on it’s terms, and not mine or yours. My family took a 6K pay cut this year to ensure that we weren’t killing trout to simply fish them for sport, even when other Lodges & Outfitters were doing just that by taking trips in water temps well over 70 degrees; which is a death sentence for any trout that would be hooked! Looking to the future, with some of the newer Trout Unlimited, CRA, and even now the MDNR efforts and organizations, all getting more instep to make sure these fisheries are here long after we are gone is encouraging, but it starts also with us guides too, by setting better examples instead of keeping with the caveman practices that guarantee a few months of guide business, lodging fees, and fly sales. The Pere Marquette River is far to precious a resource to jeopardize it all for a few pay checks, but I just hope nothing has to bottom out before they see these truths. With all the recent rains this past couple months it’s no wonder why the resource is so well off right now with a strengthening chrome count, and the brown trout even have a nice vail of water color to get their business done. Encourage all of you to get involved if you love the PM and push for better ethics for such a Midwest Gem, and maybe one day a trout angler might actually be able to find a spot in The BLUE RIBBON, Catch & Release, Flies Only, Nationally Scenic… etc… Section of The Pere Marquette during the migratory fish runs without having to watch a salmon or steelhead being dragged upstream by it’s ass by some fellow who cares NOTHING about the resource, and would call it sporting and still pull off a hero shot with a fish that never ate. Too me it seems sad that a river with so many hood ornaments on it, one that is loved by so many, can still be raped for revenues 4 months of the year… Just Sayin! Took a pay cut to have this opinion as I’ve done the nasty, and none of the guides would even argue my facts, but they would argue NOT taking a pay check to do the right thing and set a better example; but instead just the opposite where most of them would say, (yet never in front of their clients), “None of those fish are taking those flies, but it pays the bills so you, (the clients), don’t need to be any the wiser!” If they will sell you lies for guides and flies… I’LL GIVE YOU THE TRUTH FOR FREE & EVEN TAKE A PAY CUT TO SET A BETTER EXAMPLE!
Steelhead fishing lately has been the talk of the town, and for good reason… They are running big and are willing to take streamer flies with extreme prejudice lately! Both stripped and swung, the oversized rainbows are taking it personally when the flashy mess picks a fight. Fishing pressure has been dropping when it comes to salmon anglers, but the real anglers have been showing up in some numbers for the better biting fish and it’s really great to see so many these days into THE BITE vs. THE BUMP! Best colors have been anything with green or gold for me on the swing, and on the strip, it’s all had it moments at some point… But ginger & white this fall are some stand outs. Buck Rodgers was hot early in pre spawn back in September with the browns when the Egg Bite was stupid good, but slacked off with the egg bite in the first week of October. Yellow is always tough to get off of, but if I were stripping one color only the next few days… Chartreuse, (as it has been for a week now), is paying the bills. Indicator fly fishing simply gets it done when you need it too… Eggs always trump the nymph when fishing to steelhead, as when a nymph pattern is doing well, save a couple key stone fly happenings late winter, they are only keeping up with the caviar patterns if you have enough variety to choose from. Don’t just fish the day with a couple flavors, have a couple dozen in size and variety to spark the round interest, as they fancy them more than anything else save maybe a sculpin. Swing patterns, and even strip patterns, need to be fished better to more water to provoke that smaller percentage of steelhead willing to not just take a fly, BUT KILL IT. When fishing more naturally to the hourly forage, with eggs and nymphs, the patterns should be considered as much as the presentation in that you want them to critique and still take, unlike the presentation of fleeting or fleeing opportunity a streamer ensues. Another way to think of it is when nymphing, hatch fishing, or even soft hackle swing, you are fishing the fly to the fish for it’s consideration and then take… Which is unlike the swing or stripping of streamers where you beg the fish too the fly and encourage chase and assassination of the pattern. Steelhead are bored and willing, this versus the brown trout that are reserved and critiquing; fish to them like they are more interested than not and you will be surprised what the migratory rainbow is willing to give you audience for.
Eggin for the browns late September was epic with all the rains that brought the Kings way up, really early, and in strong numbers… Then they got fat!!! Brown trout bite was tough the first ten days of last month, and it slowly came back online into Halloween, and for the last week has been very good as far as fish moved and pricked, but the spring shark attacks are limited so handling a small percentage has been par, yet terribly fun in seeing so much Grrrrrrr… Fishing pressure for the trout is all but nonexistent lately with the failing king numbers lending fewer eggs to the roll of protein that would bring them out for the easier egg fair; however, with the spawn, pre spawn and even post spawn events unfolding the last couple weeks now, the time for protection over predation is hear. Fishing streamers right now will out fish most applications considered only because you can fish them everywhere, which is very needed right now as the fish are too. Variation of fish mood amongst the gold is creepy this time of year, where some are considering spawning, others are socializing with ones that are; or are in fact actively spawning, and even the few that never spawn that year at all and are just looking for a bite to eat while watching all the “fish porn” in the act. When considering the protection over predation presentation angle, try and localize your presentation to a single area instead across a long period of sale looking for the suicide swing of a brown. Typically if you are seeing him chase, it’s harder to close the deal, but you instead would prefer a fish simply roll and kill the pattern before you even noticed he was there. Provoke the sack of the fly, not the chase, and in that frame of mine you should vary your presentation till the scabs are being picked. Until you see the fish sharking the patterns, instead of just taking notice and coming up to the boat to say hi, keeping changing your presentation… Not the pattern! Too many fish are caught on too many different colors over the course of any one day to assume that color means much at all; in the same breath one could also say that those that are presenting the fly with the idea that it’s being watched are the ones that are seeing 99% of the fish! Whenever someone sees a trout come up behind a fly on the retrieve, they begin to fish the fly with all this twitch and directional change, even pause and kill to allow the fish the time for set up; all this following the angler noticing the fish in chase… My Argument Is This////Why the $(&*$# didn’t the angler fish that pattern each and every cast the same way he did when he noticed the fish!?!?!? Too many out there are simply pulling color, and not enough people are selling a fly, and there is a difference! Don’t be in a hurry to make another cast, but more so, be in a hurry to fish the cast that is already in the water… BETTER.
Looks like a great winter in store for all of us here in MI as all rivers on the West Side of Michigan are seeing some incredible early starts the 2018/2019… Fall/Winter Steelhead Season, and with the current forecast in place the fishing looks to hold all the way into Christmas, and even beyond if you have the cold weather sand… Again, we will be booking a few more openings this Autumn, but following December 15th, we will book based on weekly or daily conditions till I leave for the southern fronts in middle February. Arkansas is fueled and ready… Just adding some finishing touches so we need it packed tight. Arkansas isn’t for the beginner anglers, and where streamers of size are thrown by many here in MI, throwing them far enough, over the course of as many days is a very advanced approach, as a few of you already know, so there will be no beginner streamer fisherman this year, and all of those going will also be needing to be ready for some night fishing options if they present themselves. Spey Rod veterans are beyond welcome for the 2nd & 3rd sessions, (though the 3rd session is booked and goes for a whole week), as we are implementing some really cool techs a night with the two handed plain tickets we can send with those big sticks runways in such a cool watershed; again, adding those techniques of Michigan to the White River scenario continues to play well. All in all, the groups are loose, fun and into the fishing, and we act like a team while down there. If they are running water, we fish streamers; if they are not, we regroup, then also welcome the dark side of trophy hunting. Begging for a technique in tough conditions is no different, than say asking for a Hex hatch in the dead of winter; and it doesn’t make you smarter or a better fisherman, it just makes you a clueless one. Fish the conditions, never beg the technique… Especially in a watershed you would drive so far to engage in a shortened time period. Amount of knowledge one gains from being on this crew is worth a dozen clinics, and likely even twice as many trips as all guys on squads are down with the BIG FLY tactics as issued here in MI. If you want to get your skills up to speed for this event, MI is a great way to gain experience and techniques needed for engaging those fish down there. Contact us directly if you think you would like to be on one of the first two sessions… 1st Session will be from the 13th of February-16th, with 5 nights lodging…. 2nd Session will be the 19-24 fishing for 5 full days/nights pending conditions as we are planning on some night options by that time. 3rd Session is booked, and is a full week of fishing for those hard core streamer guys that are holding their breath for some good night options. As always, White River Unicorn Hunt is always a blast with fellows down for THE BIG FLY STRIP & RIP, and a real need and desire to see those next level fish no matter what conditions are thrown at us; as it is such a drive to get down there, especially when considering the great trout fishing we have right here in the Midwest!
Fishing pressure around here will drop to almost nothing following the Gun Opener in just a week, and following that you could argue the best fall/winter fishing for wild steelhead anywhere in the lower 48 occurs into Santa Time. We strive to make you a better angler here at The Fish Whisperer Guide Service, and that’s to say there are no shortcuts in good fly fishing practice. WE DO NOT PUT CHUCK & DUCK GEAR IN YOUR HANDS, as we are fly fishing guides who actually know how to instruct & teach, and to put it frankly… IN NO WAY IS CHUCK & DUCK A TYPE OF FLY FISHING, as it is simply conventional drift techniques done so with a fly reel attached. Tapered fly lines, casting, mending, and even presentations skills are all cornerstones of this fine sport of angling with a fly rod… And to shortcut or abominate it with lead and hook sets as a means of indication or probing a hole is more of a bait & switch used by some of the local, far less talented guides that would take your money non the less. Having guided allot of the local guides into proper strategies over the last 26 years of guiding, it’s apparent to me that there are plenty of great fisherman these days in town, with only a few great guides, no matter how pretty the lunch, or how much sunshine they can blow… You should ask yourself when you book a “fly fishing guide”, should that guide know how to instruct someone on how too fly cast!?!?!… If you answer is yes, you could also void 90% of the existing guide pool up here; and you could also say that if that person, whom is providing the guide trip, were too put that type of Chuck & Dork gear in your hands, was in fact pulling a Bait & Switch by selling you on a “Guided Fly Fishing Trip”, but then dumbing it down with conventional techs because they aren’t confident in their skills as instructors… And that’s a fact! Ask around, and don’t follow “endorsements” as these days they are often handed out before they even take their first guide trips; make sure and ask your guide for techniques he’s good at teaching, or can teach… Or will! As soon as you start getting steered towards the C & D, you kinda know your getting the Walmart version of a fly fishing guide up here. Too many clients get in my boat after being in others and realize why it’s hard to get a date in my book even without a lodge, company, or shop pumping me with new business each week or season… It’s because I can make you a better fisherman or woman all around. No matter your skill set, from beginner to advanced… I can improve your game, perspective, and productivity. Think of The Fish Whisperer Guide Service as THE TOP GUN of fly fishing knowledge, presentations, and awareness to this fine sport, as we do nothing but… And look forward to always making you a better angler, instead of NOT and still taking your money.
Again, thanks for all the work this year folks, and following the hottest summer I can ever remember, with at best so, so mousing that followed an incredible Hex, but a short lived one with the water temps… Our fall as been ahead of the curve save a ten day stretch in early October when the browns were as round as pumpkins. Lately the steelhead have the clients grinning and with the conditions in place, I don’t see any reason for you not to fill the last of these few dates I have open this fall, and even into this winter pending those weather conditions. If you are local, that’s within a few/four hours from the local, watch the weather and your holiday plans, but don’t wonder if there will be fish this year… All these rains have the runs looking great for at least another month, and likely longer so long as the weather keeps coming. Pictures in the snow with the winter colored steelhead and browns really draw out the colors of the fish, and coupled with the lack of fishing pressure, and incredible numbers of steelhead in the system by Christmas, their might not be a wrong time to be here for a few months, especially with some of them looking like Orca… Drive Safe one the way up, and especially the next few weeks while deer are in rut. Drive during higher light, and mind the roads in the morning as things have been starting to get a little frosting in the AM. If you need to get the right gear and clothing to get in the game this fall & winter for the da bob, strip or swing game… Make sure to get with Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti MI for all your up to date clothing from SIMMS, and every other piece of fly fishing what have you that may be needed. They are FULLY AWARE of my programs, and how to outfit you for a better, more pleasurable, and certainly more productive day of winter fishing here in Michigan for the high pay off of Great Lakes WILD Steelhead here on the PM, and many other westside streams. Ask for Sled Dog, or “Ike” himself and they can get you squared away in short order. If getting there is an issue, those guys can have anything drop shipped to your lap within a day or two in most cases and unlike other shops, are excited for your business and are all quality anglers in their own right, so they know they products they push. Schultz Outfitters is comes highly recommended from The Fish Whisperer Guide Service! See ya soon folks…
NOVEMBER OPENINGS::: 20,21,25-27….
DECEMBER OPENINGS::: 1-4,9-11,12,14…
Following the 15th of December,
Weather Based Bookings Till Winter Loosens…