Finally, finally, I was able to get back on the river! After competing in the annual northern Michigan, Deming/Kuieck “pasture pool” tour based at our cottage in Leland, I was thrilled to be back in Captain Don’s boat on the Muskegon. With the river up, slightly colored, and running at 62 degrees along with a cool shower from above, we decided to fish streamers. The trout liked our choice, though the larger fish proved elusive. Blue winged olives, sulphers, and a caddis here and there graced the water, but little happened on top until later in the evening when, much to our delight, the grey drakes started popping to the surface. As the hatch increased in density, the trout took note, and the rises came fast and furious. Don and I shotgunned the rises with only a one mid-air tangle—the result of our rapid-fire casting. We were rewarded with confident, first-drift takes. Very, very satisfying. We wished the emergence lasted longer than its fifteen minutes, but the temps continued to drop, shutting down an otherwise excellent hatch. Pictured is a carryover rainbow, taken on a grey drake dry fly and likely stocked last year. These fish run 13-15″ or so and are fat and feisty. Here’s hoping the water-cooling efforts of the DNR and Consumers Power keeps our river temps below mortality levels this summer so that this year’s stockers can live larger to test us next year.

Captain Tom Kuieck