Sometimes it’s more than fishing….
For the last three days, Captain Don Graham and I relived our trout fishing genesis—the Jordon River, one of Michigan’s finest river jewels. Our expedition was the result of a mid-winter pact Don and I had sealed to “get back up to the Jordon and do it like we used to—rough it in the tent, fire up the Coleman stove, and keep the campfire going.”
Since our clients and friends know Don’s and my general ages all too well (We’re “well seasoned”!), and since we both started trout fishing in our youth, our return to the Jordon was a pilgrimage of sorts—a tribute to a beloved river and to great times past. So, two older, but wiser, fly fishermen returned like kids to their river—a stream changed in a few respects, to be sure, but still the special place we remembered. And there they were, too: lots of memories of trips, special spots and trout, and, of course, most meaningfully, treasured times with friends and family.
The simple fact is that Don’s knowledge of his stretch of the Jordon River surely rivals, and probably exceeds, anyone plying the river today. For seemingly every run, hole, and glide, he can rattle off a name or story. Don remembers specific trout netted and lost—some from decades ago! My memory of the river, on the other hand, is cursory at best and made even fuzzier by the 30 years plus that had passed since I had last fished it.
But fly fish the Jordon we did: tossing streamers, nymphs, and dry flies. No big trout came to hand, but the action was hot and heavy on browns as they went berserk over an excellent Hexagenia Limbata emergence. You know how it goes with the Hex hatch—nothing happening, no rises, no bugs in the air, and then, fish rising everywhere! And so it was.
Great time that fishing the Hex hatch was, though, it was eclipsed by the deep slurping gulps that one very substantial trout continued to make well after the emergence ended. Don and I both tried to hook him, as did the very gracious gentleman who had called us upstream to try to take a shot at the big guy. The fisherman had thrown everything he had at that trout, including a mouse (which he said the fish bumped a couple of times)—all to no avail. Even though he had earlier landed two very good browns, he couldn’t solve this one, and neither could we. With full nightfall upon us and only the sound of the rises to guide us, Don and I kept finding the brush cross-stream that shrouded the fish’s lie. Three flies lost, we ambled our way back to the truck, awed by what we had seen and heard. What a fish! What a night!
And so, our return to the Jordon was a fantastic experience. Pictured is our humble campsite and various shots of our time on the river. Truly, the Jordon is flat-out dead gorgeous. Thanks, Captain Don! I’ll tuck this trip away in a place never to be lost.
Captain Tom Kuieck