As I’ve noted in the past, family trips—and especially those with three generations—are the best. Today was no exception with my hosting grandfather Arlan who brought his son, Doug, and six year old grandson, Grant. Arlan was the successful bidder for the float trip at the Christian Reformed Conference Center auction. None of the guys had fished a fly rod before but they caught on quickly, and soon we were into salmon. Grant distinguished himself by bringing to net a mini-King or as he called it, a “kid King.” Throughout the entire day, Grant remained keenly interested in everything around him—flies I had him choose from my fly boxes (his favorite was the purple egg sucking leech!), the blue herons, my fly fishing gadgets, and, of course, the salmon. Dad Doug and grandpa Arlan should be very proud of Grant. Grant learned about the life cycle of salmon, insects, casting angles, and knot tying. Yes, he missed a day of school, but he learned a ton and made a memory with Dad and Grandpa. Grant is one special boy, so much so, that I couldn’t resist getting into the photo with him.
As for the river, more fresh Chinook showed up over night (as did lots of bank fishermen). With the boat, though, we were able to find our own quiet, private spot. Our best fly was the chartreuse nuke egg once again. We lost a number of very bright mouth-hooked fish when they raked our 10 lb. tippets over shallow gravel so I bumped the tippets up to 12 lb., and our boating success then improved. The Manistee surely must be at its peak of the run or close to it. The numbers of fish in the river are very impressive. Pictured, too, are all three guys with our best King of the day, a 14 pounder boated by Dad Doug. Thanks, guys, for a special day for me—my last on the Manistee for the season with all of us at River Quest on the Muskegon from now on. Thanks, too, Arlan, for bidding on the trip. Your generosity is noted, respected, and very much appreciated. As for you, Grant, you have a wonderful lifetime of fly fishing ahead of you. Wear your River Quest hat with pride. You earned it!