A Different Kind of Chrome

For years, Devin Boetsma, owner of Schut’s Body Shop in Hudsonville, Michigan has repaired, renewed, and—in the case of the 1972 Corvette that I bought new in ’72—restored our family’s vehicles. I remember his urging me to have the Corvette’s bumpers replated with “show chrome,” a term with which I was only vaguely familiar. But, of course, Devin knew what it was and convinced me to go with it—a decision I’ve never regretted.

Well, today Devin boated a different kind of chrome on Michigan’s Muskegon River. The hen he poses is the brightest steelhead brought to my boat this year, and a truly special fish she was indeed! The Muskegon is a “late run” river since the river remains icy cold longer than other west Michigan steelhead rivers due to the ice that blankets the three reservoirs upstream of Croton Dam. So, only now are the early arriving hens starting to show up. Their increasing numbers is notice that the big push of spring steelhead on the MO is about to happen.

Devin brought his son Justin, who had never cast a fly rod, let alone drifted flies for steelhead. Although in the tough fishing conditions we had today (36.5 water temperature, above average flow, and bright sunshine) Justin didn’t hook a steelhead, my hat is off to him since he caught on to the cast, drift, and line management as well as any one I’ve had in my boat in this my 17th year of guiding! Dad Devin later reported to me that Justin said that he learned a lot and flat-out loved fishing with the fly rod. Here’s hoping he can get on the water again because with his handling of the long rod, he’s bound to connect with some chrome just as Dad did.  Thanks much, guys; I enjoyed our day on the river a ton!

Captain Tom Kuieck