Guides’ Day!

When Don Graham retired as a long time RiverQuest fly fishing guide due to health challenges, the Muskegon River guide community lost one of its own. Don is sorely missed on the river, and today exemplified that fact as guide after guide expressed happiness that, there in my boat, was Don chasing his beloved steelhead on the river that he loves and on which he has fished for decades.

And not only the guides. “Is that Big Don in your boat?” exclaimed Charlie from his riverside home.

“Sure is!” we replied. And so it went. Person after person welcomed Don throughout the day. Don was pleased. moved, and maybe even humbled. I was privileged to witness it all.

Don and I fished hard for steelhead today, but only the one I pose here found its way to the net. As Don is my witness, we lost track of the water clearing leaps and screaming downstream runs this hen made. This is my twenty first year commercially guiding on the Muskegon River, and the fact is that no steelhead I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting fought like this one. That we landed it was nearly miraculous for all sorts of reasons, but land it we did. And, once revived,  as she glided away from my supportive hands, Don and I couldn’t help but marvel at what a spectacular game fish fall steelhead truly are.

And so it was on this “Guides’ Day.” A day on the Muskegon River the two of us will never, never, ever forget.

Tom Kuieck