Friday I'm heading north, crossing the Mackinaw Bridge, pointing my car west for several hours, then north into the Keewenaw peninsula all the way to Copper Harbor. It is at least a seven hour drive. I will have my kayak, my 8 weight rods, and my camera. I will be joined there by four other anglers- Wayne Snyder, Brett Watson, Chris Reister and Bob Miller. Chris and Brett will take a plane from the town of Houghton, but the rest of us will board the Isle Royale Queen IV for the cruise to Isle Royale.
We've done our homework, packed our bags, tied flies, bought supplies. We've spent months planning, poring over maps, discussing plans, the weather, lodging, travel. We have contacted scientists and fishermen. We pored over the maps some more. There is nothing left to do but go.
We're going to Isle Royale in search of Coaster brook trout. For me this is a fantasy in triplicate. Coasters are a dream fish- large native brook trout that can weigh up to ten pounds. Isle Royale is a fantasy land, remote and rugged, difficult to get to, the playground of moose and wolves. Kayaking its rocky shore dotted by dozens of smaller islands will round out this trip.
|this fish is so bad ass. upflyfishing.com|
This won't be a backcountry trip unfortunately- we'll be staying at the lodge, and I'm bringing my laptop, camera and cellphone, but it's all for a good cause. The lodge where we're staying advertises it has wi-fi (we'll see what that means to them) and so I'll be posting updates on our Facebook page daily. The point of this trip is to catch and chronicle some Coaster brook trout and hopefully build some awareness of their current status, and what needs to be done to restore them on the mainland. Coasters used to number into the millions throughout Lake Superior, but only remnant populations remain. Isle Royale is one of their last strongholds.
Let me introduce the crew.
Wayne Snyder is a Michigan author and historian extraordinaire of Michigan fly fishing. His book "The Golden Age" is the touchstone tome on Michigan's rich legacy.
Brett Watson has been fly fishing since age 12, and is currently the president of the Paul H. Young chapter of TU here in Michigan.
Bob Miller is the latest addition to the team. He is the founder of Ryan Rocks Outdoor Adventures, which takes children with a history of cancer into the outdoors.
Chris Reister is the sole owner of Willow Classic Reels. He has fished the world in search of rare and beautiful fish.
Me? Meh. I'm just a guy who fishes, and with a name like Fontinalis, this was a natural fit.
|alex cerveniak photo|