Monday, August 5, 2013

One Dead Trout, One Live Trout

Tom saw it before I did. It was laying near the bank in about two feet of water, it's gleaming silver side looking like the deck of a skateboard. It had a red cheek patch, and our first thought was that it was a steelhead, but then we saw the spots- definitely a brown. The red spot turned out to be a chunk of missing flesh. It looked fairly fresh so we used our paddles to bring it to the surface, losing it in the murk several times, waiting for it to clear so we could see it again, but this fish was so gosh darn HUGE that we had to measure it.

It was 28 inches long.

no fish were harmed in the making of this picture

Considering that the bank just down stream is mowed and has a chair and prop sticks set by a bait fisherman (and that we found a couple of other staked rods elsewhere) it's likely this fish took a hook deep and didn't survive it. I doubt the locals are releasing fish like that. We fought rain storms and cold nights and floated downstream in a canoe on the blackest of nights, arriving at camp just before dawn, having waited out yet another rainstorm under a providentially placed bridge at 4 in the morning.

But that fish, even in death, made our weekend. We'll be going back soon.

The next weekend found me fighting the weather with another friend, Chris Reister. Friday night was bitterly cold. We were mousing on the Au Sable. We never rolled a fish.

The next day we decided to do something different. We went and floated the fly water on the Manistee River, our reasons being that it get's less traffic and a better hopper bite than the Au Sable.

After I missed a couple fish Chris kicked me back to the sticks. He hit a deep pocket perfectly with one of my own orange Chernobyl hoppers and the water exploded and his fish immediately took him to the woodshed.  Due to Chris' nerves of steel, and some expert, expert boat handling we managed to land this fish.

Chris with a hopper fish

17" is a great daytime fish in Michigan. I'll take it any day.