Archive for September, 2009


Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Today marked the best Chinook fly fishing I’ve been privileged to experience as a guide. The Manistee is flat-out filled with Kings, and thanks to Captain Don’s directions, we got into fresh fish eager to take the fly. I lost count of the fish we hooked, but nearly half of them took green caddis, Steelhead Buggers, and purple egg sucking leaches in the mouth. The higher water, cooler water temperature, and cloud cover really turned the fish on. Lots of fish were rolling and flying around the river. And the numbers and size of fish—well, we haven’t seen this many fish of these sizes for years. In short, amazing!

My guests today were Tom Sr. and his fishing and hunting pal of some 65 years, Doug—who incidentally is a former Lake Michigan charter fishing guide out of Ludington. Although Doug has fly fished, C & D was new to him, but he caught on quickly and soon was into fish. Tom, now 80 years experienced, is about as passionate about fishing as any of my clients. Usually, I can’t get him to put the rod down to eat, but today, as I was getting the grill out, he busted off a fish, so he was out of fishing commission until we finished our meal. Needless to say, the hunting and fishing stories that rolled out of these guys’ mouths were a delight to hear. What a wonderful thing it is to witness two lifelong outdoors buddies spending a fabulous day on the river. Both showed their fish fighting prowess, which they certainly needed today given the power and speed of the bright fish they hooked all day.

Big fish honors fell to Tom, though Doug put some high teens fish in the boat, too. Tom’s gorgeous buck weighed 23 pounds on the Boga. As you can see from the photo, the fish had pink hues highlighting his appearance. Tom’s fish is the largest King I have had a client boat in my eight years of professional guiding, and to have a guy like Tom whip him, was special to see. All in all, one terrific day! Thanks, Doug and Tom; hope we can do it again. I’ll remember our time together for a long time.

Captain Tom Kuieck

Where’s my camera?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Great time on the Manistee with long-time friend and client, Jeff, and his new business colleague, John, who while having distinguished himself as an offensive lineman for Lloyd Carr during the Tom Brady era, had never fly fished before. John caught on as quickly as anyone I’ve hosted, and throughout the day was into salmon. Action was continuous and after lunch nearly nonstop. The river is loaded with Kings and spawning is widespread. We had numerous lip takes today on green caddis and steelhead buggers. A couple of the fish moved multiple feet to take the flies. John’s largest fish isn’t shown here (as of today) because Gramps Tom midway through the day couldn’t find his camera. When fellow RiverQuest guide Don Graham suggested over the radio that I look for it in my shirt, I fired back with a “Well, duh!!” or something like that-only, of course, at days end to find the camera…You guessed it: in my shirt! When I flashed the camera at Don at the landing, he started cackling like a demented chicken! Oh, he was so tickled to burn ole’ Captain Tommy! Needless, to say, this mind lapse of mine, will probably earn me the “What the Fat Award” presented each year at the annual RiverQuest guides/wives Christmas Party to the guide who has pulled off the biggest screw-up of the year! So, John and Jeff, I apologize for the cranial flatulence: I will post your big buck, John, when Jeff sends its photo to me.

Finally, a word for one Kyle Roy, turkey shooter extraordinaire and champion carp whacker and now new Kan-tucky resident. Kyle, as Jeff’s picture will attest and as the Almighty was witness, John took the 17 lb. male on a #10 caddis with a fly rod and fly line with fly affixed to the upper left lip of said fish. Hence, no dispute; no dissembling; just accept the fact that John topped your best!!

Thanks, guys, for a most enjoyable day. Looking forward to seeing you again, Jeff, in couple of weeks and, John, next Spring for some chrome steelhead action of the Muskegon.

Captain Tom Kuieck

Different days, different conditions

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Fall weather finally made a return the past couple of days filling the watersheds with much needed cold rain. Both the Manistee and the Muskegon took big jumps in flow surely providing that magic carpet ride needed for the migrating salmon.

Joining me Friday was longtime guests Bill and Ida Sidor and Monday Ken Longstreet and John from H.M. Fishing Friday was beautiful as sunny skies provided a superb back drop for the day on the water. Conversely Monday was a soak-er with big rain and wind. While both parties enjoyed many opportunities with the salmon their trips were entirely opposite.

The current weather as stated above has brought the Muskegon River the best water flows that we have seen in the last 3+ years; this is very exciting as we come home to fish enjoy the our home-waters!

Capt. Steven Kuieck


Saturday, September 26th, 2009

What a great day to spend on the river fly fishing for salmon. This fly fishing trip was a birthday gift from Jenna to her husband, Patrick. What a great gift, time together, enjoying the outdoors and catching fish.

Capt. Don Graham

Boom–How too clinic!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Danny Viss and Kirt Vandyken joined me today on the Manistee River for a day of sore arms. Danny and Kirt put on a “how too clinic” today on the river- mostly a how too “lose clinic” but none the less they were on fish practically every third cast! We lost a bunch (mostly since we foul hooked them) but managed to land the majority of the biters. Look for the harvest to kick in this weekend; bring your body armor! Pictured is Danny and Kirt with their best from today.

Capt. Steven Kuieck

Paul & Ron 9/23/09

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

I was joined on the Manistee today by Paul Owens & Ron Cook. Paul took a day off from his day job as a teacher for Sparta Public Schools and Ron took some time away from turning wrenches as one of Grand Rapids finest mechanics to chase salmon. This morning was a bit slower than it has been as with the rains we got last night the river flow rose over 1000cfs from yesterday and our clarity went right out the window. Ron did manage to get a couple of the fish we did hook to the boat (above). Unfortunately, Paul could not buy a break, despite many hook ups, none made it to the boat until finally the last hook up of the day brought redemption and Paul landed the nice male shown below.  Thanks again for making the trip up guys, it was good getting to know you both a little better.

Capt. Dave DeVries


Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Tim Hicswa and Al Eavey joined me today on the Manistee River. Fishing was a bit different today as the water rose better than a foot from the recent rains. New and old salmon were taking advantage of “magic carpet ride” and were on the move. Pool fishing became difficult this afternoon so the gravel program became the go too. Big fish continue to be the game; pictured is Tim above with a 22lb king from this morning.

Capt. Steven Kuieck

Maryland Magic

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Matt from Maryland joined me today for some salmon fly fishing. Matt is in the geologic mapping business and has a keen interest not only in geology but in the out-of-doors as well. Although Matt fly fishes his native North Carolina and Maryland for trout and striped bass, chasing Chinooks (and for that matter, visitng Michigan) was all new for him. No matter, Matt caught on quickly with C&D and fished an indicator rig on the switch rod as well. As days go, action ebbed and flowed with, of course, most of the action coming when the grill came out! No matter, Matt prevailed and brought fish to net. As I told him, it was evident that he had fought large fish on fly rods before because he handled the salmon very well. All in all, we had a great time together. Thanks, Matt, I hope we can get you in the boat again soon.

Captain Tom Kuieck

Now that’s a Salmon!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Pete Vredeveld along with his father-in-law Craig joined me today for Pete’s annual fall salmon trip. Fishing was good with plenty of opportunities for success though as it goes with salmon fishing many fall short of the net.

If I haven’t yet convinced you of the overall health of the salmon this year I hope that Pete’s massive king drives the nail home for you! 20lb king are quite common this year and this beast tipped the boga to an even 26lb without even a jiggle. This salmon is the largest salmon I have boated personally in 4 years; a 30lb Chinook will be caught this year! Look for fishing to really crank up over the next week or so as these fish need to hit the river regardless of flow.

Capt. Steven Kuieck

Never too old!

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The next time you and anyone you know slips into “I’m getting too old to do whatever,” remember this post. John commemorated his father-in-law Harold’s nintieth (yes, that’s 90th) birthday with what Harold likes to do best—fish. Harold took his first steelhead on a fly and fly rod when he was 86 in my boat, thereby giving him the “eldest fisherman with RiverQuest” honor. That is, until today when Harold picked up the long rod and fly line and began working the Manistee for kings—once again blowing away the RiverQuest eldest client record—his own record! Experience benefits the fisherman, though,and it showed as Harold deftly played the salmon he hooked. He was rewarded with a 15 lb. hen that inhaled his Steelhead Bugger fly. Not to be outdone by pops-in-law, John boated 13 and 14 lb. class fish. Harold, though, had the last laugh when he took a male pink salmon on an egg fly presented with a switch rod, indcator, and switch fly line. Just like casting his fly rod to gills and bass in the condo pond!

So, all in all, it was a superb day—one that I will remember to the day my memory checks out for the next life. Thanks, John and Harold, for affording me a most meaningful float trip. Pictured are Harod, John, and yours truly with some of the fish the guys hooked today.

Captain Tom Kuieck