Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fly Brunch

There's a place in Bayview, Petoskey called Staffords Bayview Inn (I rent a lot from these people truth be told). They have a fabulous Sunday brunch. The bacon is thick cut, the fruit is fresh, the baked goods are hand made, thick and moist. The scrambled eggs never have that dried out crust. Ditto the hollandaise. They make your Belgian waffles while you wait. You walk up to the buffet tables and are lost for a moment. Where do you start? If I eat the eggs benedict will I have room for waffles? What about the Virginia ham and boutique sausage? Still, you have to saddle up and give it your best shot.

And that's how I feel right now about the fishing at home. We are finally in a stretch of steady warm weather with warm nights. The insects are popping all over the place and the trout are finally looking up. The weeds in the lakes are sprouting. And the fish everywhere are on a gluttonous rampage.

One interesting thing about this late spring is that several of the local steelhead runs just took off in the last week. I checked the Boyne River last week and it was full of fish. The downside is that when the run is this late it tends to be compressed, and the fish get very tight lipped. I fished another local stream on Memorial day, and despite seeing large numbers of fish I only  hooked up on a couple and didn't land any.

So here I stand poised at the brunch of fly fishing, surveying the tables. Over here the bluegills are in pre-spawn mode and ready to eat. The pike are in post-spawn mode and still up shallow while the water is still cold. The largemouth bass are also pre-spawn and ravenous.

But then there's the smallmouth bass fishing. Wilderness should be dynamite right now, but so is Grand Traverse Bay. If I go to Wilderness I can have a wild and lonely experience; if I go to GTB I can have a gourmet lunch.

The Hendrickson hatch is in full swing on the Au Sable; something I think I should try, but the brook trout in my local creeks are calling too. All the little pothole trout lakes still have good hatches with rising fish. It's like having to choose between three kinds of bacon.

And now that the nights have warmed up the mouse bite is going to turn on and will be fantastic until the Hex hatch.

Crap. The Hex hatch. Will I have time? What about all those patterns I promised myself I'd tie? I'd better get busy. And I need to wrap up that annoying side job before the hatch starts. I'm not missing a minute of it.

And what about carp? Oh the carp! They should be moving into shallow water any time. And didn't I promise myself I was going to catch a muskie this year? A walleye on the fly wouldn't be bad either. I can go for both on Crooked River right outside my door, at least until the boat traffic gets too bad. If I drop my bike at Mission road I can do an evening float down and pedal home. Or yo-yo the float since the current is quite negligible.

Every year I say I'm going to hit the sand flats on Burt and Mullet lakes for walleye, steelhead and browns- you know- sight fishing. I need to get on that. Wish I had a skiff. I'll check with my friend Brett and see if he is up for that.

And what about the UP? There's a dozen or more rivers there I promised myself I'd fish this year, and time is slipping away. Then there's the secret spots- rivers and lakes talked about in whispers, things I dare not say aloud in my prayers. Here There Be Tygers.

Should I go for big rock bass on the fly? Should I try to strip streamers for channel cats at Cheboygan River? Is there some way to get a Sturgeon to eat a fly? Cripe- the suckers are running. They can be a lot of fun. Of course there's lake trout and steelhead in the surf in Little Traverse Bay. I commute past it every day but I never stop. I guess I take it for granted.

So I stand here at the start of Fly Brunch, slack-jawed, eager and hungry. Everything is fresh and ready. At the end of summer I hope to stretch back and scratch my belly  and yawn, and try to remember what happened, savor every moment, every fish, every sunset, the laughter of my friends, and those moments spent cradling a fish in the water.


  1. So Josh, are you saying Winter is finally over?

    1. Harold- it snowed ten days ago, so I'm not holding my breath. I'm also joshing you a little since I get called Josh a lot.


  2. Sounds like the table is set now all you have to do is chow down!

  3. the beautiful choices are overwhelming! It's hard to slow down, take a deep breath, and accept the fact that i cant do it at least. Maybe...if i quit my job i can? Anyone have a couch i can sleep on? Choosing between 3 types of bacon is the perfect analogy!