Archive for June, 2008

6/28/08

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Dan Holtrop and his good hunting and fishing partner Gordy joined me last night for my last evening dry fly trip before my family vacation.  Streamer fishing and swinging bead heads provided the bulk of our action until dark. Though my better judgement said to leave the river once the storms moved in; we chose to hang and hope the lightning would not be too bad. Once the rain increased in intensity it basically began to knock the Gray Drake from the air which led to a good amount of risers for about 15 minutes. Trouble was keeping the dry on the surface with the big drops. Small fish were had and a good evening rounded out my June trips. I will try to post something from the big blue in the next week.

Tight lines,

Captain Steven Kuieck

06/26/08

Friday, June 27th, 2008

June 26, 2008 Muskegon River Gray Drakes

What a great finish to my best Spring guiding season! This was my last guide trip until September so this summer I can play retiree, spend time at the cottage, and get some personal fly fishing under my belt. Steve, Don, and Fred will carry the River Quest guiding mail for the summer for smallmouth bass, summer Steelhead, and Atlantic Salmon.

This night, I had the privilege of hosting Paul Younggren and Jerry Holwerda, whom I came to know in the 1970′s when they were leaders and officers, and I an active member, of West Michigan Trout Unlimited. Our hangouts were Dick Pobst’s Thornapple Orvis Shop and Dick Nelson’s Angler’s Corner. We tied flies, fished Western spring creeks and rivers, and spun yarns about our fishing exploits. It was a wonderful time for us and for fly fishing with Swisher & Richards taking us into the modern era, and there we were to learn all we could. As my family grew and I became a school administrator, however, I had to back away from TU and hanging out the guys so I lost contact with Paul and Jerry.

This Spring, though, after we at River Quest decided it was time to get back into supporting our local TU chapter, I reconnected with Paul at the Annual Banquet. That night, too, Paul successfully bid on the River Quest float trip we donated to Shrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited, and he invited Jerry for an river reunion of some guys who enjoyed one another’s company a bunch. The result last night: we simply had the best of times in a classic, “perfect for dry fly fishing” evening—warm air, no wind, a red sky sunset, and great conversation.

Once again, as its been all this week, no big fish, but enough action with the small guys to make the fishing interesting and a Gray Drake hatch as heavy as one will ever see. Yellow streamers took top honors under water, and Paul’s Isonychia dry fly tie, which can be fished as a Gray Drake spinner, was the best dry fly. The river continues to clear, but the only hatch of significance where we fished was the Gray Drake. The flies were in our eyes, down our shirts, and so thick I shot the photo above, which, at first glance, looks like a snowstorm! Paul holds a nice brown, and the other photo of Jerry and Paul reflects the wonderful friendship these two gentlemen enjoy. Thanks Paul for bidding on the trip for TU, and thanks Jerry for joining us for a most enjoyable afternoon and evening of fly fishing to be sure, but also for a special trip for me down trout fishing memory lane. I truly hope we can do it again!

Tom

06/25, 26/08

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Great time with a couple of instructional float trips. On Tuesday, I hosted my good friend and colleague Dave from Indiana, and on Wednesday, Charlie and Josh, who were part of a son, father, grandfather float with Steve and me. We started from scratch in teaching how to cast the 300 hundred grain sink tips and later in the evening the floating lines. All of the guys did a great job in learning how to cast, manage line, and get a drag free drift. The small trout cooperated taking Treat or Treat, Zoo Cougar, and Crafty Sculpin streamers, as well as small Stimulators in the afternoon and Grey Drake spinners in the evening. We had a cloud of drakes on Tuesday with a good spinner fall. Wednesday night, in a different location, brought only a few drakes and few Isos. The river continues to drop with clarity improving daily. Despite failing to get a good hook set in a large trout on an Articulated Zoo Cougar on Tuesday, both days were simply the best. Lots of learning and newfound excitement about fly fishing and each guy’s future with our sport.  Pictured are Charlie and Josh with their first dry fly caught trout.

Tom

Hype

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

With July and August knocking on our doorsteps I thought I would let you know that we have great dates remaining for Atlantic salmon fishing in the “Soo” and summer run steelhead on the St. Joseph and Manistee Rivers with myself. And quality smallmouth bass fishing on the Muskegon and Grand Rivers with both Captain Don Graham and Captain Fred Vargas. Pictured are some archived shots from the last couple summers of fishing-enjoy and hope you can join us on one of these fantastic fly fishing opportunities!

Respectfully,

Captain Steven Kuieck

06/25/08

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Last night on the river was one of the “made to order” evenings for dry fly fishing on the Muskegon. Jon Rudolph and Wayne Blessing joined me for what we hoped would turn out to be a great big fish bug night. Small trout were on the take; trick-or-treats, and articulated fatheads brought many small fish out. Sulfers, caddis, Isonychia, and Gray drakes filled the air quite late. With the number of Iso’s we had in the air it was only  matter of time before a big fish showed but as is the case with bugs and fish it was just not in the cards. Small fish were frequent risers but with big fish as the goal we chose to watch the little fish play in hope of that one good shot at a good one. Last night was perfect but the fish and the bugs thought different- can’t catch’em if you’re not on the water…….

Tight lines,

Captain Steven Kuieck

6/21/08

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

The Ken Hofman family joined me last night- Grant, Mike, and Steven and father Ken. Fishing with these guys is always enjoyable. The three brothers are always competing each other and this year it was my pleasure to say that Steven (6th grader) took top honors out fishing his big brothers and dad decidedly! We left the river a bit early so that the eldest brothers could get some sleep before their morning trip to Montana. At 9:00pm as I was sending them off Iso’s were in the air!

Tight lines,

Captain Steven Kuieck

6/19/08

Friday, June 20th, 2008

After my glorious streamer fishing with the guys on Wednesday I could not wait to hit the river with them on Thursday. Just when you think you have a plan a harsh dose of reality slaps you in the face! We started right off in the area where we turned the really big one the day before; turned two more really good ones and then nothing- I mean nothing! The fish just would not chase? The water for some reason has continued its climb though visibility is improving; current water flows are around 4300cfs-100% boat water!! Last night the air temps stayed up and the hatches improved dramatically over the past couple of days. Drakes, sulfers, caddis, bwo’s and are first really big Isonichia hatch of the year had some fish looking up. Too bad for the big water or the feed would have been sweet!

Tight lines,

Captain Steven Kuieck 

06/18/08

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Remarkably cool weather has gripped us for the last couple of evenings on the MO’; though the 60 degree temps sure make it pleasant on the water the bugs seem a bit miffed. Minimal Gray Drakes last night combined with the off color water which rose again provided us the option of extremely good streamer conditions. Caddis, sulfers, and a daily increase in isonychia’s provide a sense of anticipation of warmer weather and cleaner water.

Jeff leinigers group was with us both last night and tonight had no trouble excepting the streamer challenge of “put-out or get-out” style of fishing. The group of guys in my boat were rewarded in some fantastic charges of some very large browns that just wanted that streamer out of their territory. Small trout were easy pickings but the big guy’s just made us wish- one particular brown that surely would have been our x-mas card fish pushed 30″ and gave a violent chase twice left me and my guy’s in awe.  Large Articulated Fat-heads, Swimmy Jimmys, and T&A Bunkers did the job on 300gr streamer express lines. Pictured is Marty with a huge Muskegon River smallie that I was sure was going to be a huge brown by the fight.

Tight lines,

Captain Steven Kuieck

06/16,17/08

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

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.

Tom

6/16/08

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

picture credit Steelcase 2008

 

Sorry for the delay on reports….very busy with a project! I spent last night fishing with the company of Norman Barkley and his son Bill Barkley. Some of you outdoor adventurists may recognize Bill’s name; Bill- a marketing director for Steelcase travels the country speaking about his battles loosing his sight and hearing. Born with Usher syndrome, an inherited condition that causes progressive hearing and vision lossBill will not let him self be taken from the outdoors! Bill recently traveled to Africa and along with his instructors successfully completed a climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This amazing story was captured on film by Outside Magazines Adventure Productions with Micheal Brown.

I was initially a bit concerned as to how I was going to handle and instruct a person who was unable to see or hear a rising trout. None the less I thought it would be a good experience. Bill was able to not only fish but catch a few respectable rainbows on dry flies- had mother nature only given us a bit more temperature I am sure that Bill would have been able to find a few more fish. The entire time Bill was in my boat he kept saying how peaceful it was to be on the water- I think I will have to remember more often how lucky I am to be be able to call the Muskegon River my home. Bill was a true pleasure to have in my boat for the evening and I hope to be able to share another great day outside with him in the future.

Tight lines,

Captain Steven Kuieck