Today marked the best Chinook fly fishing I’ve been privileged to experience as a guide. The Manistee is flat-out filled with Kings, and thanks to Captain Don’s directions, we got into fresh fish eager to take the fly. I lost count of the fish we hooked, but nearly half of them took green caddis, Steelhead Buggers, and purple egg sucking leaches in the mouth. The higher water, cooler water temperature, and cloud cover really turned the fish on. Lots of fish were rolling and flying around the river. And the numbers and size of fish—well, we haven’t seen this many fish of these sizes for years. In short, amazing!

My guests today were Tom Sr. and his fishing and hunting pal of some 65 years, Doug—who incidentally is a former Lake Michigan charter fishing guide out of Ludington. Although Doug has fly fished, C & D was new to him, but he caught on quickly and soon was into fish. Tom, now 80 years experienced, is about as passionate about fishing as any of my clients. Usually, I can’t get him to put the rod down to eat, but today, as I was getting the grill out, he busted off a fish, so he was out of fishing commission until we finished our meal. Needless to say, the hunting and fishing stories that rolled out of these guys’ mouths were a delight to hear. What a wonderful thing it is to witness two lifelong outdoors buddies spending a fabulous day on the river. Both showed their fish fighting prowess, which they certainly needed today given the power and speed of the bright fish they hooked all day.

Big fish honors fell to Tom, though Doug put some high teens fish in the boat, too. Tom’s gorgeous buck weighed 23 pounds on the Boga. As you can see from the photo, the fish had pink hues highlighting his appearance. Tom’s fish is the largest King I have had a client boat in my eight years of professional guiding, and to have a guy like Tom whip him, was special to see. All in all, one terrific day! Thanks, Doug and Tom; hope we can do it again. I’ll remember our time together for a long time.

Captain Tom Kuieck