I was up fishing in the Manistee River with a good friend a few weeks ago and want to give brief synopis of our weekend. For a great detailed account of our trip you can check out my friend's blog at "November Rains". The whole trip was great but with every trip there are memorable moments that stand out. Mine was the 1st day when I decided to leave the float rod back at camp and decided to take my spey rod (being a aging steelheader in hopes of saving my shoulder for the float trip later on). So after a full day and at the end of our trek down the river, we concluded that our only luck was with the steelhead that my buddy had on..... I had no luck at all with the spey.
From the bank above I suggested it was time to call it day. He was finishing with a couple more casts to the run he was in. Just about fifteen feet upstream of him, there was an aggressive male Chinook scaring any fish that came near a spawning hen. I asked my friend if he minded that I go a little upstream and swing to this aggressive male. With his assurance I proceeded down a steep sand bank with trees to the right of me and a downed log to the left, so it was a very tight area to cast and swing. So with determination I got to the river side and started my first couple casts. This male Chinook seemed to have a bad attitude and followed my fly as if to warn it not to get to close. With the next cast this big brute had had enough and slammed my fly with aggression.....having had a long day with no fish on,,,,, in my excitement I pulled the fly and spent the next 20 minutes trying to get my tippet, sink tip and fly line out of the tree. I thanked my good friend for not taking any pictures to add to my embarrassment.
After spending some time retieing my line I was ready to do battle again.... and this time I really pissed this bad boy off. It didn't take more then 5 casts before he hit my fly again and this time being a little more patient I let him have it...... Fish on!!!! Or I thought.... This smart old male took me into the lumber in the river and proceeded to get my fly hooked up while swimming back to his lair no worse for wear. So,,,,, this is the time when a fisherman swallows his pride, gives kudos to the fish, thank him for the memories and move on.
Another part of fishing is subjecting your fishing partner to all the whining about the big one that got away...... over and over again. However, we had some good laughs about how I got snagged in the tree and that's what makes it so memorial..... So, I have no picture proof of this elusive monster, but one of the fly I used....and since it's one I tied myself it's rewarding to know that it worked. Watching the fish attack with all mother nature has given him to survive and the respect you give him after being defeated in the battle.
Oh by the way that fish had to be 50lbs (OK 20 ) but in my mind he will always be bigger then me.
Here we are well into Nov and there is absolutely no water in the river. The first picture is a rock on the Maitland I like to use to judge water lever. Usually 3/4 of this rock is under water what I will call normal fishable levels. Once this rock is completely under water then the river is in prime water conditions. As you can see we are at least 2 feet below normal water levels, The white on the rock is where the water should be.But I will save that rant for anther day.
So I need a post to get my blog going I though I'd post my Fav Four Woolly Buggers for my home rivers the Maitland and the Saugeen. The top two flies are great on the Maitland, specially the olive. The Brown is my own colour creation and very deadly in the spring on the Saugeen. I think it may represent a march brown mayfly and i will usually swing it in tandem with a pattern that is called a march brown bunny spey. The last fly is just a good fly for any river with low clear conditions.