Captain Don Graham and I had postponed a “guides day” for summer run steelhead on the Manistee River a couple of times, so we were fired up to hit the river with all we had. High pressure, temps in the mid 70’s—in short, a perfect day for tourists, sightseeing, and soaking up some sun, but not the sort of low light we like for shallow water steelhead. Nonetheless, we gave it our best shot and were rewarded with brown trout, rainbow trout, walleye, and…summer steelhead!

We went two for five—two brought to net of the five we hooked. All went airborn, some multiple times with leaps exceeding three feet in height. A couple ran us into our backing before we could fire up the boat moter to give chase, and one raked a tippet over a zebra mussel-infested gravel bar.

But what a great day it was! Champagne egg flies and Viagra caddis were the ticket. We fished 2x carbon tippets with no problem, despite the bright skies. We even were able to sight fish to some of the steelhead and, in a couple instances, watched the takes. We both agreed that when it comes to quality of fly fishing sport, the summer runs are right up there with 15″ plus trout on a dry fly with a four weight rod.  All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better time on the water:  great weather, great fishing, and great friendship.  We are blessed.

Tom Kuieck