Great to be back on the water after a couple of weeks at the family cottage up North. With the river some 1500+ cfs higher than normal, air temperature 10-15 degrees cooler than normal, and “breezy” (a weather people term!) conditions the last two nights haven’t made for ideal dry fly fishing, but we’ve taken good numbers of small trout on streamers (anything brown and crayfish/sculpin looking) and on dry flies (grey drakes, Isonychias, and caddis). After blowing strongly enough throughout the afternoon to cause us to fish in more sheltered locations, the wind finally settled down on both evenings, and we encountered fair to good emergences of grey drakes, sulphers (more and more of these showing up each year it seems), and caddis. Monday night yielded some Isonychias, imitations of which yielded all of our dry fly taken fish. Tuesday night was caddis night with a #16 tent wing tie doing the job, sometimes with doubles the result.
On Monday night, I hosted two experienced fly fishermen: Curt who fly fishes in Colorado a good deal and Bob Gwidz of the Grand Rapids Press and now the DNR. Tuesday night I had two Jeffs: one with experience with sink tips and dry fly rigs and the other Jeff new to it all. For the two experienced guys, it didn’t matter that the big trout were in a funk; they long ago learned that we accept what Nature gives us from night to night. So, they had a blast taking large numbers of small trout on streamers and dries. I respected their macro view of what makes fly fishing special: it’s simply more than numbers and big fish. For Bob, watching a Scarlet Tanager feed streamside was a special treat. He reiterated again for us how amazing the Muskegon fishery and resource is, particularly given its 35 mile proximity to Grand Rapids.
For the less experienced fellows, the small trout gave instant feedback, yea or nay, to the instruction I gave throughout the afternoon and evening. Both did exceptionally well. Jason Borger’s “Hello, it’s for you” metaphor for the cast and the “Tite Loop” casting aid enabled both guys to cast effectively so they could pay more attention to getting drag-free drifts, which they accomplished more often than not. For me, the night was especially satisfying because, as a former educator, I enjoy instructional trips and particularly so when the clients are so successful with what I’ve tried to teach. They simply did a great job, and the trout rewarded them. Pictured is a typical small Muskegon River rainbow with a caddis fly affixed to the roof of its mouth.