Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I don't have to catch fish to enjoy fishing, but after awhile it's nice to bring something to hand. We all try to pretend we don't care, almost as if actually catching a fish is beneath us. That's how we display our maturity as angler's right? We're all grown up now, and don't bother ourselves with catching; we've found an aesthetic in the simple act of participating, going, doing, practicing our craft- "that's why they call it fishing..."
We'll keep telling ourselves that. My itch this fall has been to catch a fall steelhead. I've caught tons of spring fish, but November steelhead have this vicious reputation as slashing, striking, fighting machines, a fish so testosterized you may not want to put your line in the water. As a matter of fact, you should just stay home and watch Matlock. It's too cold for you to be out there anyways.
But not me. I want one of these fish. It's not really that hard, but I don't have any of the major Michigan steelhead streams close to hand- a lot of my local rivers get marginal runs. Still, if you know where to go, there's fish to be had. I decided to quit screwing around and focus on steelhead. Sunday I drove north to a small ditch which hardly qualifies as a river, but gets a decent run of fish. In the first twenty minutes I hooked up on a good fish which quickly took me to the cleaners. It had been a warm weekend, but a front blew threw Sunday, and a cold north wind pounded across Lake Michigan, the roar of the surf drowning out everything else, despite the distance.
Yesterday afternoon, I drove further north, and fished near the mouth of another river. In just a few minutes I picked up this fish- a lake run brook trout. She was spawned out and very skinny. She practically had stretch marks.
I flogged this series of pools for another hour, and just as I was getting ready to leave- I had said this was my last cast- I hooked into this guy.
That's right- a juvenile steelhead. It put up a decent fight, and I was extremely happy to be able to take his portrait. Today I went back to the same spot, and landed this fish.
Does it look familiar? My best guess is that it's the same fish- same hole, same size, suspiciously similar "scars".
One Pere Marquette River guide says that when you catch a rainbow, you won't catch it on the same fly the rest of the year. Mind you, I was chucking egg patterns, and this one hit the same pattern two days in a row. Maybe eggs are too irresistible. So what do you think- same fish? Have you ever caught the same fish twice? Let me know what you think.
I was a little tired tonight, and left the river a little early. On the way home, I was treated to this spectacular sunset, which I had to share with you- enjoy.