After 10 days of having been barred from the river—first by extraordinarily high water and then by order of the Newaygo County Emergency Management Director—Captain Don and I were able to get on the water to check out the condition of the river and the steelhead run. Special thanks to all our RiverQuest clients who graciously understood that when Mother Nature takes over in such a demonstrable fashion, we mere humans need to step back and say, “OK.” Thanks for rescheduling your float trips with us; we appreciate it very much!
Don and I started the day with the river flowing at 5100 cfs, but by midday, it had dropped to 4200—still high, but completely fishable. As the photos attest, the steelhead cooperated, as did the resident brown trout I’m holding. Rare to see a brown go water-clearing airborne, but this one did, with an STS Bugger ensconced firmly in the lip. What a thrill and privilege to bring such a fish to hand! As always, Don masterfully maneuvered the boat so we were able to share the fish with you.
Barring more substantial rainfall and a rapid rise in water temperatures, steelhead fishing should hold up for a week to two weeks for sure, maybe longer. As for the browns, with the river temps steadily rising now, they are becoming more active. Even in the heavy flows of today, we witnessed trout rising. Get the thin sticks ready; we have the best of both worlds—steelhead fishing in shirtsleeves and rising trout!
Oh, and for fishing buddies Jim, Bill, and all the junior RVRQST guides, Captain Don and I offer this reminder: “OGR!”
Captain Tom Kuieck