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!