Is half the fun getting there or the anticipation thereof...you all decide...'cause...it was not Nassau...Belize...Mexico...Andros...it was to Chicago O'hare to Manistee Michigan Blacker on a twin piston engine across Lake Michigan...
OHare Spring break zoo parade at the Spirit Airlines gates...I was flying with Cape Air which was between this mad house
Then on my way with beautiful O'Hare saying goodby...
Streamer/Swinging for Lake Michigan Steelhead...last week in Baldwin and Wellston Michigan guided drift boat on the Pere Marquette and Jet "sled" on Big Manistee. The water was high and stained so the PM had marginal sight conditions and the Manistee was non-existent. Both rivers required IMO an experienced and knowledgeable guide otherwise you are guessing the fish locales...unless you have local river knowledge accessible from public accessible walk ins or an experienced boat owner. I use two dual purpose fly rods. A 7wt Igniter blank with a 3" butt with an Abel 3N spooled with a 300 grain OPST integrated and a 10' sink tip and a custom 10' CTS blank 9wt tip and 10wt butt with a 3" butt with an Abel 4N with a 450 grain OPST Commando with a 10' sink tip...for reasons of my bad shoulders, at 80 no knife for me...these rods are a spey type casting two handed compromise. I can cast two handed spey style 30-60 feet which is sufficient for my Michigan rivers. The fly set up is a streamer followed by a nymph about 16 in back... tippet to streamer is .012in fluro and streamer to nymph is .009-.010 in fluro.... When in KW I switch spools and they become a light bonefish rod and a Permit rod.
This is the Pere Marquette high water starting in the flies only section. For the most part it is 40-80 feet wide
Starting time in the cold rain...
Above two were caught on the Pere Marquette guide holding...all released ...for two days swinging I caught three lost three to rolls and woods...narrow river and light trailing tippet...fish were hitting the trailing nymph on .009 fluro tippet.
Igniter Blank with extended butt
The PM look
There are numerous indications of private ownership on the PM...this is of recent vintage most are the usual Keep Out...No Trespassing...this, however, "No Admission" struck me as remarkable for its benign warning...upon returning to the lodge I asked the group staying next to me what's with no admission sign of the PM ...collective response was the owner must be a Michigan graduate not State...
Sun on the snow Big Manistee
Snow on the Manistee
Big Manistee no snow
Manistee Steel lost three to rolls and of course the biggest to the only submerged tree mid-river after two runs of 75-100 yards chase down...could not hold him out of the tree...but keeps me coming back just like KW Permit...
Great story. Lovely fish. Grim conditions.
grace finds goodness in everything ...