What an afternoon and evening on the Muskegon! Back from the cottage and a week of great memories with son Steve and his family along with my daughter Julie, son Ryan, and my wife, Judy, here I was prefishing for my float tomorrow with good bud and dear friend, Captain Don Graham. Man, was it wonderful to be back on the river! Small streamers produced all afternoon and right up until dark—mostly stocked rainbows but some browns and carry over bows, too, with some special fish coming oh, so close to taking the fly, only to slip back into the depths of their hides. Caddis on top allowed us to savor the delights of dry fly fishing with the light rods, too. And, then…
As a fly fisherman at the landing with whom we spoke noted after hearing of what had transpired, “When your fly is in the water, you never know what will happen!” How right he was: as I stripped my streamer back to the boat in readiness for my next cast, as I had done countless times earlier, something absolutely obliterated the fly and shot upward, clearing the water easily by two or three feet!
“It’s a summer run!” shrieked Don.
Indeed, it was—now searing off line; there, catching full air again; and, there, again! The speed and stamina of summer run steelhead astonishes, and this fish certainly lived up to its species’ billing. It just kept going and going and going! So, with Don at the helm and my pleading out, “Slow down; speed up; go left; now right!” and so on, the chase was on, all the while our losing count of water-clearing leaps. The fishgods smiled, though, and eventually, spent and shining chrome bright, the steelhead slipped into the net, deftly handled by Don.
Seven pounds on the Boga and mint fresh from Lake Michigan, the steelhead—with its sorely testing us and its resplendent beauty there before us, glistening in the net— reminded Don and me about how blessed we are to guide and fish the Muskegon River and to share its bounty with others. The Muskegon truly is an extraordinary national resource, sometimes replete with surprises that will last a lifetime.
Captain Tom Kuieck