Today, Herb joined me for a streamer stripping trip. With snow flurries to the North and the wind whipping from some place cold, the day started frigid enough for us to pop on the beanie caps! No matter, once the guide figured out how to manage the boat with his new bow-mounted trolling motor and how to cope with the wind, we were in business. This was the day, too, on which I would break out my new Sage 9 foot, 6 wt. Z-Axis rods loaded with Scientific Anglers’ 250 grain Intermediate Sink Tip lines. Recommended by River Quest guide Don Graham, I can’t thank him enough for the recommendation. What a sweet casting combination this is! Clients new to streamer fishing will have no trouble casting respectable distances with this set-up. Very forgiving, slick shooting, and light to the hand—a total pleasure!

As the day passed, the sun popped out and the fishing warmed up. Herb missed sticking a large trout when he struck just a tad too quickly, only to redeem himself with smaller trout and smallmouth bass. When the wind would lay down at all, small trout rose to surprisingly good numbers of caddis. The cold put off the suckers from getting back to their spawning chores, though some trout were roaming behind the gravel bars, along with some steelhead that haven’t yet checked the calendar. As the temperature rose, we had many more chased flies and takes (most of which we seemed determined to miss!). One beautiful brown trout, though, decided my streamer looked especially tasty and was rewarded with a boat ride to the shore, where we took some photos of this fat, spectacularly colored trout. The fish measured 18,” surely not the largest brown in the Muskegon, but no doubt one of the most handsome. Pictured along with the trout is Herb with a typically sized Muskegon smallie. In short, a fun time filled with the promise of more action in the weeks ahead.