“Oh, what a difference a day makes!” What an absolutely gorgeous day to be on the river! Light winds, nearly 100 percent sunshine, clearing water, and some willing steelhead. I was privileged to host Kevin and his dad, Ray, for a second day, and Kevin got us off and running in grand fashion within minutes with a nice male steelhead. The bright, bright sunlight rendered action slower than yesterday in the snow, but the bite held up throughout the day. Ray finished the day off by making just the right cast and drift moments before I was going to call for his rod to end the day. His reward was feisty male skipper that fought well beyond his size. Toss in some more steelhead and a walleye, as well as some “never saw its,” and you have our day. Well not quite….

You see, Kevin’s Kentucky neighbor, Don, had been flashing his big fish Riverquest pictures for a couple of years and hence had urged (if not challenged) Kevin to book a float trip with us. Accordingly, Kevin did so, caught some nice steelhead—so end of story. Again, not quite. It seems that a particular gorgeous Muskegon river buck steelhead, weighing 13 lbs., had other ideas. The second steelhead of day for Kevin to break the surface of the river, this fish was in an entirely different year and size class from the 6-7 lb. fish the guys had been taking earlier. Kevin, who fly fishes all over the United States, including his beloved Ausable in Michigan, masterfully fought the big one, and when we swung it into the boat, Kevin proclaimed it the largest trout he had caught—ever. Needless to say, we were thrilled for him. The big boy took a chartreuse and cherise nuke egg, as did all of the other fish of the day, except for Ray’s afternoon fish, which perhaps on response to stone fies coming off the water, popped his sparkle stone fly, size 10. As for the ride back to Kentucky, I suspect that Kevin will run all sorts of “Let me tell you about my fly fishing trip” scenarios in his mind in preparation to his flashing 13 pounder photos past neighbor Don. Should be sweet, very sweet.

Thanks Kevin and Ray for a great two days; congratulations on a most successful steelhead adventure.

Pictured is Kevin with two of his steelhead. I especially like the shot of his releasing his teenager. Let his doing so stand as a reminder to us all about the importance of “Catch and Release” for our Muskegon River steelhead and trout. Researchers have established that Michigan steelhead will spawn multiple times over their lifetimes—if given the chance to do so. Kevin’s releasing a fish like this increases the probability of the genes of this fish and his progeny living for years to come for the benefit of us all.

Captain Tom Kuieck