Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Morning Coffee- March 31

Yeeeauupphhh- yawn, stretch, scratch, sniff- what is wrong with me? Resolve to wash hands thoroughly, then bleach rest of self.

But hygienic issues aside, it is Monday morning, so let's have some coffee.

We can skip over the rest of last week because this weekend was pretty darn good. It started with Pleasant Friday, then Bright Saturday, followed by Sublime Sunday.

Sunday was by far the nicest day of the year to date. It was, was, was- warm. It was pleasant. There was no wind. The sun beat down and left its mark on my face. So I did what anyone would do and beat my streamer curse.

If you haven't heard this before, it is true that until now I have been unable to catch fish on a streamer. Oh, I've caught a couple, but mostly by accident and bad luck (for someone), and never any of the largish fish you see on a regular basis bandied around like so many pin-up girls.

Alex Cerveniak of Northern Michigan Fly Fishing Guide Service called me on Wednesday via Bat Signal. I have no choice but to respond. We roped in our friend John Schmidt, but of course he came willingly. We met at Gate's Lodge then hit the river under bright sunny skies and warming air.

John and Alex at the takeout

It is difficult to explain to you, the rest of the country, the exhilaration and joy of being out on a pleasant day after a hard winter like the one we've had, to catch not just any fish, but some really good ones. It was like that moment in Shawshank Redemption but with sun and beer instead of rain and sewage.

Okay, so on my first good fish of the day Alex dropped anchor as soon as I made noise and we soon got it into his meager net. My next fish was different.

We dropped into a great spot where fast riffly water spilled over a deep flat. Sensing opportunity I wound up and made a reverse cast. On about the fourth strip my fly stopped.

I didn't react instantly, but when my rod bucked and a great golden slab rolled in the current I shouted enthusiastically  to my friends- "Big fish, big fish, BIG fish!!"

They did nothing. As a matter of fact they laughed at me and kept yakking, while my fish started to run downstream. When my line nearly wrapped around John in the front of the boat they turned and looked. Alex looked into the water, saw a dull yellow flash the size of an oar and started shouting expletives. He dropped the oars and the anchor and we managed to net it. It was 23" long and heavy, with thick shoulders and a mercenary look.

Alex Cerveniak photo
John Schmidt caught a really nice fish on an old glass rod that had belonged to his father, which had him totally thrilled. John works a night shift. He basically got home, slept one hour and then met us at the fly shop, yet he was energetic and upbeat the entire day, the kind of thing that can make you hate young people.

Alex, he worked the oars and kept us in position. He fished a little but not long enough to score. It's early yet, the streamer bite is just getting going. We're at that point when mid-afternoon when the day is warmest and the water has had some time to warm a little is the best fishing time. The slight stain to the water added by the daily run-off doesn't hurt at all.

It was a fantastic day all in all, with warm sun, a few good fish, and good times with friends. If I had to make a fishing forecast I'd say this coming week is going to be stellar- the forecast is for mid-thirties to mid-forties for the next ten days with no blow out rains. The steelhead should be pushing into all the rivers in earnest and the streamer bite will continue to improve, though at this stage sunny afternoons that warm into the forties will be best.

I'm out of time and out of coffee so I'll leave you with a few more shots of the day.

Let's get after it.


  1. Great fish, great times. Orange shirt with MONSTER fish; don't look that stoked. I would not be able to fake a straight face.

    Thanks for sharing your story.


    1. I was very stoked, just probably struggling to hold a lively fish when that shot was taken.

  2. Sounds like a great day, brother. Glad you had fun and caught a big 'un.

    1. Thanks sis. Good to see you are drinking your coffee when you read this.