Saturday, November 17, 2004
Again, what a difference a month makes. Saw one salmon today and no steelhead. Greg took Eric and I out for a nice half day on the river. We floated from Thornapple to New Bridge. Weather today was very overcast and pretty much misty and cold. Seemed like good steelhead weather, but not for us. Eric had one trout on for a second, but beyond that we went home with our tails between out legs. Gregg made a great steak dinner on the shore, only slightly affected by all the dead salmon carcasses.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
What a difference a month makes. Salmon were on every piece of gravel near Pine Street. A few fresh ones were tossed in with the moldy oldies. I went with Greg, Sarah, Johhny O, Curt and Mike in the boats. We parked in a couples spots all night long and caught all the salmon we wanted. I think I landed two. Each were fairly fresh and fair hooked. I probably had 10 on the line. With the fairly low water, it could have been a snagger's dream. Pods of 6-10 salmon were hugging the bottom with their dorsals sticking a couple inches out of the water. Got some good photos of the spawning. Funny thing, three weeks later I was still hearing about fresh salmon in the river. It was a late run this year.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Salmon really ought to be in full swing on the Muskegon, but I couldn't seem to find any I could fish to. I floated my pontoon from Croton to Thornapple in the afternoon into dark and saw little if any gravel worked. That would be okay if I could find some salmon in the eddys and holes, but I only found them in the slowest, deepest water down near Thornapple. I wish I had a spinning rod or sinking line with me. I couldn't get any kind of drift. Thankfully I brought along my trout rod. I got several nice rainbows on a dead-drifted elk hair caddis. All of the fish were in the foam lines.
Thursday, July 8, 2004
Another SWMTU outing. About 15 guys showed up to float from Croton down to Pine. I fished with Chad and John. The first place we fished was incredibly productive. It was an area I had always overlooked before, but was loaded with fish. We caught fish on a variety of streamers and caddis. As we worked our way downstream, the fishing slowed down. We worked the likely areas hard and matched the varying hatches. It was work, but we did hook up. The weather was downright cold. I think it was warmer in April. Most everyone stayed until dark and I think everyone caught fish.
Thursday, June 17, 2004
The boats guys took two boats from Thornapple to New Bridge this evening. This is a stretch of water I really hadn't fished much before. The suprising thing was to catch smallmouth. What a blast! I caught several good sized fish on dark streamers in likely looking trout water. later, I caught good sized trout in the slowest, stillest water I could find. I used slow strips on the inside bends and did well. The weather was so cold, we were all wearing our winter gear. I'm sure no one caught anything on the surface and I'm having trouble remembering anything hatching. This was a very nice stretch to fish, but defintely warmer than above.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
We organized a SWMTU fishing trip for today. About 20 guys in 8 or 9 boats floated from Croton down to Thornapple. Most everyone hooked into something. I had two good steelhead on the line but couldn't get either landed. In my boat, both Dan and Larry landed nice steelies. Saw a good number of trout rising to stone flies. Wish I had targeted them a little more. It was a great float trip. Got to know bunch of the TU guys better. Hot and sunny today, even got sunburned!
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Fished with the "boat guys" upstream from Pine Street. Our boat of Will and Dan didn't land anything besides a few trout, but we hit some steelhead in the pockets behind the redds. The boat of Greg, John and Sarah, got several nice steelies and trout into the boat. Fished until nearly dark. Nice day on the river.
Sunday, February 8, 2004
Snowshoed in to Carmichael Flat. I could have walked, but it would have been a lot more effort. Fortunately ice didn't cover the water as snow covered the ground. Unfortunately all I caught was some cold feet. I fished my favorite spot. It was obvious no one had walked into it since the snow started piling up. After hitting all the prime lies in search of steelhead, I walked back upstream to where people had been fishing. I didn't fish this as thoroughly but hit the best looking spots. It was supposed to get a little above freezing with some sun today, but all of that held off to the south. Saw one drift boat go down and one jet boat roar up.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
I worked early to go fishing with Greg, Curt and Dan in their drift boats. We drifted down from Thornapple and fished below the Highbank access. Nearly all the fish we saw were working the gravel. Few were fresh arrivals. We all hooked a good number of fish, although I think I was the only one not to land anything. Funny, because I had several of them hooked pretty well and they felt like headshots. It was a great night to be out on the river. We motored back up in the dark.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
I got to the river as light began to creep over the trees. Luckily only two other anglers were parked nearby and chose to fish further upstream. I had my favorite hole on the Muskegon all to myself -- for a while at least. On my second cast, a medium-sized king slammed my orange egg. I didn't land that one, but would end up landing four today. Two were faired hooked, one of which was a fairly fresh fish. I watched it attack my egg sucking leech. The water was very low and very clear. There were also more salmon around than I can remember for several years. Both upstream and downstream I watched people catch salmon. No sign of steelhead yet. Plenty of dead salmon lay on the riverbottom.
A couple evenings in June, 2003
I'll lump these days together because they were pretty much the same. We had strech of hot clear weather and that seemed to really put down the hatches. On the first day I caught a few, but on the second only had one or two. Very little activity on the surface. On the first day, I did see another guy hook into a steelhead which was quite suprising. It took a rattlesnake streamer. Saw a good amount of wildlife, including a deer swim across the river. Just a few people out on these days.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
I spent most of my time fishing day at Bigelow Creek searching for trout. I also had to search for some access -- couldn't get near the mouth, so I went up where the railroad tracks ares. I found little trout here and there, catching a few. Very tight casting. One crazy moment happened when I spotted an 18-20" trout swimming in the current just underneath a log angling into the stream. I was able to get about 6 good drifts past it's nose without spooking it. I even changed flies three times trying to tempt it. Finally it spooked, turned toward me, looked up at me, and then darted way upstream. Hanging out of the corner of it's mouth was a 3-inch streamer. Maybe that explains why it wasn't hungry and was swimming so actively in the current. After wandering the creek for several hours, I headed to Pine Street. Seems like the hatchery truck was just there. Hundreds of little trout were easy, easy pickings at the boat launch. Further upstream I did some actual fishing and found they would grab an emerger on the dowstream swing almost every time.
Saturday, May 3, 2003
Can never have too much of a good thing, so I was back to the river at daybreak. It took several hours for the fishing to heat up. There were certainly less fish than earlier. However, once again, the first steelie I hooked, I landed. The new reel was awesome. It let the fish run when it wanted and would hold tight when I wanted. This time I brought the camera with me.
Monday, April 28, 2003
Thinking that my steelhead season was over, I didn't have high hopes of a successful outing. But for a few short hours after work, everything fell into place at Carmichael Flats. They say steelhead are fish of a 1,000 casts. It felt more like 10,000. The first steelie I hooked, I landed. It took an orange egg with a bit of flash. I measured it against the net, and it was an honest 30 inch female. I hooked two others, one leaper and one thrasher. Both got free quickly. I stayed well into the dark. They got frisky a few times, but my best chances were while it was light. Wish I had brought the camera with me.
Sunday, October 28, 2002
After having some good success the other day, I wanted to try a different section of the river. I waded downstream from Croton to nearly Pine Street. The only way to do this is in very low water. The gauge at Croton read about 4.9 feet. Even then, it was dicey in a few spots. Near all the riffles above Pine it's easy enough to cross. Near the large boulders I got one good salmon and a hot steely. Quite suprised by this. A downed tree is creating some new habitat that's worth checking out for steelhead and trout. On the way to Pine, there were several good spots where salmon congregated. I think I hooked a couple out of these. Down by Pine there were many more fish, but they were almost all near death. The very, very clear water made it tough to fool most fish.
Saturday, October 27, 2002
Jim and I headed to Charmichael Flats in the afternoon searching for salmon. We got into a good, reliable run and they were easy to find. Both of us hooked many and landed several. A couple of them were fresh, but most were past their prime. Some dead ones even floated by. They hit all the usual suspects although a purple egg sucking leech was especially hot. I got one nice looking steely.
Sunday, July 13, 2002
Another hot and sunny summer day. I fished below Croton and didn't see another angler out. Stayed until near dar, but the fishing was actually a bit better wehn it was light. With little surface activity, I started with a streamer. No go. Switched to deep-water nymph. No go. Switched to a hopper. A couple strikes. Switched to a drake pattern. Landed a few. Switched to a mayfly emerger. Landed a few.
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Decided to spend the evening of my birthday out fishing. While the day was very nice, the fishing was bad. Very little surface action at Charmichael. Tried a bunch of different flies above and below the water and only got one solid hookup. A few strikes, nothing landed. It's been hot and sunny for several days.
Sunday, June 2, 2002
Another nice evening on the river. Trout began surfacing toward evening. The planters would take just about anything. With the water a little high, the channel down from the dam was flowing and the planters found refuge there. I caught a whole bunch of themjust to teach them a lesson. In the main stream, I got a few on the top.
Sunday , October 21, 2001
The salmon season seems to be ending. All the fish I saw were in real rough shape. The one I landed was very nasty. Also got a nice rainbow.
Saturday , October 17, 2001
Boats galore out today. Jet boats racing up and down stream. Mostly annoying. Water had come down quite a bit. I got there real early to get a good hole and the good ones were taken. I ended up heading downstream to an area that I usually avoided. Ended up landing a nice brown and hooking into several salmon. Later in the day I got into the holes and hd a lot of hook ups. Landed one salmon that bit a yellow glo bug. Not many fresh ones around. Lots of skunky looking fish.
Sunday , October 14, 2001
Jim was able to drive over from Lansing for a good afternoon of fishing. More anglers were out on the river -- lots and lots of drift boats. Today was a day to need a drift boat. The river was up about a foot from last week. A lot of heavy rain pushed it up. Still we found two good spots to hit salmon. I landed two jacks and hooked into about six.
Sunday , October 7, 2001
Looking back at past years, I've always skipped the Big Mo the beginning of October -- no more. There were plenty of fresh salmon in the river where I was, and very few anglers. I landed two and hooked into six. One was a normal size and the other was a jack. Water was easily wadable.
Thursday , September 6, 2001
Tried a new spot for me today. Rudy took me to the county park access off of M-82. I'd always thought of this spot as a little too close to the road for me. Kind of like fishing under the bridge at Croton. But after decending 200+ steps to the river, the road is a distant memory. We found decent number of fish even though there wasn't much of a hatch. The bottom is virtually all gravel and the river is fed by numerous springs in the high bank. I'd guess that would keep the water cool in the hot weather. It's easy enough to wade although a few spots that look shallow might be above your waders.
Wednesday , July 25, 2001
Today was the hottest day of the year so far, so I decided to cool down on the river. I didn't think the fishing would be very good and that was the case. I saw very few rising fish in the Flats, so I used a couple different nymphs. No luck. Patiently I waited for a rise. When I saw one I would work my way there and try my midge pattern. In every case I had to wade a long ways to make a couple of casts to where I thought I saw a rise. The hard work finally paid off and I landed one rainbow of 11 inches. Another similar fish broke off. Still, a good way to beat the heat.
Wednesday , July 11, 2001
With the water levels back down, I went to the Flats where I could get out and wade a bit. The fish were very picky and I worked my way through about a 10 different flies until I found what they wanted. It ended up being a a size 22 emerging midge pattern. No wonder I couldn't see what they were eating. I caught three on that pattern and another three earlier on various patterns.
Sunday , June 17, 2001
Another late afternoon visit to the Croton area. A few anglers were in "my spot," but just as well because it looked like a Father's Day outing. I headed downstream a bit further to try some deeper water. Evern though the river level was at about 6.1, I can remember it much shallower with a lot more rock exposed.
I didn't have much luck down there so I slowly headed upstream, picking off small trout along the bank. Toward dark, most everyone cleared out so I could fish where I wanted. Using a gray drake as an indicator and a bead head hares ear as a dropper, I caught a good number of trout. Most all were small, only a few were above 10 inches.
Weather was warm, not muggy. Very little hatching this evening, but what did hatch was a mixed bag of drakes, sulphurs, midges, and other assorted mayflies.
Wednesday, June 13, 2001
It's my birthday and I'll fish if I want to. Especially since the wife just got me a new 3 weight rod as a birthday gift.
The new rod casted very nicely, though it took some getting used to. My line was a twisted mess a couple times. Although I guess that isn't too unusual.
The river had come down maybe a foot, and that opened up a lot more wading possibilities. I used a small emerger pattern with a bit of a parachute. A lot of my hits actually came at the end of the drift as the fly skated across the top or swung just under water.
There wasn't a lot of activity on the surface, but it was just regular enough to keep the fishing interesting. Toward dark, I considered switching to a grey drake since I could see a few of them hatching.
I was glad I stuck with my emerger, because I got one solid 12" brown just as the sun set. A good fish to go home on.
Sunday, June 3, 2001
With the weekend still free, I went to the river with Jim in the afternoon. The river had come down a few more inches since yesterday.
We saw a few risers, so Jim went with caddis and sulphers. I stuck with my streamers, but didn't get much action. The risers would come and go. It would be hot for about ten minutes and then cool off for twenty. I finally switched to a parachute adams and got a half dozen or so trout. None of them were very big.
Saturday, June 2, 2001
I headed to the Big Mo as an afterthought on my way home from the PM. The fishing up there was really slow and rainy. But as the rainclouds lifted and a few hours of daylight left, it was worth heading to Croton.
The reports of high water were right on. However, the river was wadeable if you knew where to go. While I couldn't get out to some of the spots I wanted, I could cast to plenty of fish.
I saw a few risers, but stuck with my streamers. The one that worked the best imitated a small steelhead/salmon fry (silver body, white fur, black eyes, very sparse). In a couple hours I landed a bunch of the little guys and even a couple holdovers.
Monday, February 19, 2001
A break from the cold weather (well, really cold) got my urge to fish up. I headed out to a reliable winter-time trout hole near Pine St. to fish the middle part of the day. Sure enough, there was plenty of snow but no shelf ice. Also, no fish. Saw two boats of anglers, but other than that no one else was out. After a couple hours of standing in near freezing water, I had to walk back to the truck or loose a couple toes.
Sunday, October 29, 2000
Thursday, October 19, 2000
However, there were still some fairly fresh fish to hit. I ended up hooking six and landing two. One was even a chop-shot on a black marabou I tied myself.
I fished around Carmichael Flats and there were about 8 other trucks when I pulled up. Those guys all headed upstream to the big bend and seemed to be slaying them with all the hooting and hollering going on.
Stayed till after dark. This time of year it's the only way for a working stiff.
Saturday, September 23, 2000
It was a beautiful day for a slow, easy float. We stopped at virtually every hole we wanted. Some salmon were in these upper stretches, but they were very spooky and very fresh. This is just what we came here for.
Early on, Jim hooked into a big old sucker. Must have gone 15 pounds. That was pretty much all our action for the day. Had a few hits here and there, but we couldn't find that good salmon hole we wanted.
We made a nice fire despite the wet wood and grilled a whole mess of hot dogs for dinner.
Sunday, September 24, 2000
Since we didn't spot any salmon near our campsite, we launched the canoe to float to the better holes. A couple spots looked really promosing, but still yielded nothing.
By the end of the day we both had a few hits and I landed a nice rainbow. It was a great float, but very disappointing fishing. It seemed a few weeks early for the big migration.
Thursday, July 2, 2000
We had a pretty easy time of wading, and I think I could have even made it across the river. The water, as usual, was crystal clear.
Early on, Bob showd me how to fish a wet fly, my first lesson in this old, old method of fly-fishing. I ended up landing a few browns by swinging the fly down below me and giving it a few subtle tugs. Sometimes the fish took it at the very end, sometimes they took it right away.
Later in the evening the caddis came out along with some fairly large creme mayflies. I switched to dries at this time and landed browns on both emerger caddis and a parachute creme mayfly. I was most suprised by the mayfly opportunity!
Bob and I both caught a fair amount of nice trout and had a very nice evening.
Sunday, June 25, 2000
Wednesday, June 14, 2000
Sunday, June 11, 2000
I fished the San Juan riffles in the evening. A few caddis and sulphurs were hatching, so most of the time I used an elk hair caddis as an indicator and a small green caddis nymph a foot below. I also used a case wing caddis courtesy of Jeff from Orvis. Fishing it just below the surface, I left that fly in the jaw of something big and beastly.
All my other takes were on the dropper. It helped to slightly skitter the rig on the surface. Often times the little twitch would bring the trout up from the bottom for a slashing strick. Most of my cast was cross stream and the hits came at the end of the drift. I think I ended up catching seven browns, the biggest about 13 inches.
Sunday, February 6, 2000
Saturday, January 15, 2000
It took a couple hours of searching, but I finally found the honey hole I was looking for. Out of the slow, quiet water, I caught three rainbows, the biggest 18 inches and the smallest 14. I also landed one chunky brown that was 17 inches long. Each fish was beautiful and tested the drag on my reel. Only the middle-sized rainbow had a clipped fin.
All four were caught on a scud pattern that I tied myself. It had an olive/gray body, a black/translucent back and a size 14 hook. Above the scud, I had a green caddis tied on the line, but the trout didn't seem as interested. I caught a few of the scuds in a small net and noticed that my pattern matched them almost exactly.
Sunday, November 28, 1999
Wednesday, November 3, 1999
Sunday, October 31, 1999
Near the east shore we found a great spot where fresh salmon were stacked in thick. Deeper, darker water surrounded a bright gravel bed. We hooked into salmon after salmon. So many that we completely lost count. Some we tried our best to land. Others that were obviously foul-hooked, we broke off. Jeff was a great help all the way around.
I felt we could have stayed in that spot all day long and hook salmon, but we had plenty of holes left to find. We stopped at a couple more places and continued our good luck before finding the second best spot of the day. Below the power lines, a glassy smooth slick provided some great spawning areas for the salmon. We both hooked into several nice fish and took some great photos.
After a steak lunch at Carmichael Flats we anchored in a stretch that offered up some nice steelhead fishing. Jim and I casted our way down the run, but it was Jeff who hooked our only steelhead of the day. Jim reeled it in, and again we took the required photos.
The numbers of salmon definitely decreased as we made our way to Thornapple. Jeff said that 75% of the salmon would be in the first half of our float, and I think it could have been even higher than that. For a long time on our float we tried spotting some of the chinook but could only find a few skittish fish at a time. Nevertheless we still hooked into some of the fish we saw.
Across from the take-out, we targeted the last few fish of the day. Jim and I both got lucky at the same time. Me with a beat-up, fly-decorated hen, and Jim with an acrobatic fresh fish.
It was a great day to be on the river with a great guide. Unseasonably warm, maybe 70 degrees, and a water level of 7.0 at Newaygo.
Thursday, October 14, 1999
Thursday, September 30, 1999
Thursday, August 27, 1999
Friday, August 6, 1999
for my fishing, it was all caddis, all hatchery trout.
Thursday, August 5, 1999
Tuesday, July 13, 1999
Monday, June 28, 1999
I saw a good variety of hatches on the river -- from blue-winged olives to cahills to caddis -- but very little surfacing on the part of the trout. However, I stuck with the caddis on taop and a bead head nymph down below. The fish hit both, but mostly they hit the dropper on the downswing.
A suprising number of people were fishing here. I counted ten guys wading in the quarter- to half-mile stretch of water I could see. That still left enough room for everyone to fish some good productive holes.
Tonight I got six rainbows and one brown. All from nine to thirteen inches.
Wednesday, June 23, 1999
Although evening fishing is supposed to be the best, I've been having great success here while the sun is still high overhead. Using a cinammon caddis as an indicator and a bead head pheasant tail as a dropper, I would cast 45 degrees downstream and let the rig drift naturally. At the end of the drift, I would raise my rod tip a bit and that's when I got the most hits. Because the water was so clear I could actually watch the trout turn and follow my pheasant tail downstream. When the nymph would start to rise, they'd either smack it or turn and head to the bottom.
I lost track of how many trout I caught, but it more than 10, less than 20 and mostly rainbows. Also, most of the fish appeared to be planters, but several were definitely holdovers. It's a good day when your net gets soaked.
Monday, June 14, 1999
Tuesday, June 8, 1999
Monday, June 7, 1999
Wednesday, May 20, 1999
Using the longest casts I could manage, I hooked into a few trout and landed a robust 14-inch rainbow. No fins were clipped, so maybe it was wild. I also caught five or six of the little guys just to keep things interesting. All of them had fin clips.
Elk hair caddis was the hot fly. Many strikes on it, and very few on the caddis emerger I used as a dropper. The caddis were hatching at a pretty good clip. Even saw a few sulphers and a few big drakes in the air.
Weather was sunny and about 60 degrees.
Tuesday, April 27, 1999
I caught a good mix of rainbows and browns, everything was 5 to 7 inches. Saw a few "big ones" out further, but they were a bit wiser than their new visitors.
The only fly that worked well was an olive tent wing. It kind of looks like the small black stone flies I've seen on the water lately. A BWO didn't even move the little guys.
Yea! Trout season is here.
Tuesday, April 20, 1999
See you next year, steelhead.
Tuesday, April 13, 1999
The water was cloudier and up a bit from last week due to the recent rain. The gravel near where I usually fish is sometimes exposed. Now it had two feet of water over it.
On my tenth cast or so, I hooked into a steelhead at the outside edge of the gravel where it dropped into a dark hole. I believe it took the black stone fly on my chuck-n-duck rig. After a minute or so, it thrashed it's head and my fly came back to me in a hurry.
Right after that, I saw some more steelhead hanging around the gravel near the bank, and then the other guy who had been wading, walked by with a good-sized steelhead on a stringer. The adrenaline rush of all these steehead sightings at once fueled me for the next hour as darkness fell.
Wednesday, April 8, 1999
Conditions looked good, even spied a couple of steelhead. Couldn't get a bite on any fly from anything. Maybe the DNR electroshocking had something to do with it. Or maybe the lightning flashing in the sky above. Very disappointing.
Sunday, March 21, 1999
In the morning, no one was around. But by 2:00 I saw 40 to 50 people wading and floating the river. It seemed like very few people were having success with steelhead, although I watched one guy float by with a big one on the line.
Also saw my first hatch of the year. Little brown stoneflys started appearing in the foam lines in the early afternoon. I didn't see anything rise to them, but it was a nice to see the hatching begin.
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