Interesting evening on the water last night—in this case the Manistee River below Tippy Dam. RiverQuest guide Don Graham and I are hosting family and friends whom I’ve come to know by virtue of the fact that their cottage is next to our family’s cottage in Leland. So, to spare them the long drive to the MO from Leland, we opted for a Manistee float. Hence, Don and I thought we had better trek north to assess the Manistee’s fly fishing.
The trip proved challenging and rewarding: challenging because our “go to” streamers and nymphs did not produce, save one powerful fish that Don hooked on a streamer that eventually raked his 10 lb. tippet over a gravel bar and cut his line, most likely on a Zebra mussel shell. We never saw the fish. Powerful and fast, it could have been a summer run steelhead or outsized brown trout.
Cinnamon caddis, however, produced, though the fish were small, but plentiful. By 7:30 blue-winged olives, sulphers, and grey drakes made their appearance. The trout quickly switched to the drakes, and a few larger trout began rising. Just to rub in his dry fly fishing superiority over yours truly, Don spotted the rise form of the fish below, moved the boat, and promptly hooked up with a classic, first drift take. Beautiful!
We had the river to ourselves on a gorgeous night. A couple of fly fishermen waded and cast upstream; osprey soared overhead; the birds sang; and all was well with the world. We’ve much yet to solve on this special river but look forward to giving it another go next week.
Captain Tom Kuieck