Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Return to the West Side

I have wanted to return to the west side of MI since my last visit Nov 10/07.
In particular, I have longed to fish the Manistee River or Big M as it's often referred. I love this river. Literally! This river has a hold of my spirit. This river gets my blood pumping and makes me feel like a kid again and that's what fishing is all about.
The Big M flows strong, clear and clean and the river bottom is strewn with expansive gravel bars, troughs and ridges. All this located in a scenic mixed hardwood backdrop known as the Manistee National Forest. One should consider themselves blessed to fight a Wild Manistee Steelhead in this river as it truly is a gift.

On this trip I had the privilege to fish with Steve H. This was our second attempt at fishing together and I was hoping this trip would bring more success than the first. As I recall, the first trip we arrived at an Ohio trib beyond flood stage. Bad flash back...

We arrived at the Tippy Damn Angler access Park shortly after first light and were greeted by a friendly attendant who informed us that we were the second to arrive.
A smile quickly donned my face and we proceeded down to the parking level. A quick check confirmed the river was in perfect shape. We geared up and made our way down to the river. A few drifts into the morning and I hooked up with a large fish. As we were the only ones in this section of river I had plenty of room to play this fish and needed it. With lady luck on my side I managed to put him on the bank. This fish was pushing 30" and Steve weighed him out at 9lbs. A few pics and he was on his way unscathed. My day could have ended there and I would have been satisfied. Not 5 mins after Steve hooks into a chrome hen that demonstrated why these genetics are so highly sought after for stocking programs throughout the Great Lakes. There cannot be enough said about both parties putting those initial fish on the bank. Once that is out of the way the rest of the day is just a bonus. We were lucky enough to each manage another and a few bonus resi-browns through the rest of our stay. Going in to this trip I had not set my expectations too high but today we were very fortunate to have exceeded them. I look forward to my return.

**Special thanks to Steve H. for his companionship and camaraderie. We will do it again.**


Anonymous said...

The pleasure was all mine Brian - definitely a memorable day!!

Truly was a magnificent way for me to kick off the 2008 season. It will be a tough act to follow but I sure look forward to trying!!!!!!

Great report!


Trotsky said...

Nice fish... I hate both you clowns.

lambton said...

I'm certain we can top this outing if we can manage to coordinate a trip with Old Man Norland and JFL.
It sure would be nice to spend a couple days over that way when the fish are stacked in there. Only problems is the S_Rat's stack in there really heavy as well.

G, are we on for this Thurs and or Fri? I have it booked.

dave.wallace said...

Nice one guys.

How thick were the S-rats above the coffer?

lambton said...

Thanks Dave.
Funny thing...There was virtually nobody fishing above the coffer. We hit the North side in the afternoon and tried it but not for long. Ended up picking up the last one below tight to shore in the deep slack almost at my feet.

Anonymous said...

A nice, personal recount, and some really clear, sharp photos. Whatever camera you are using, it has great results. I would bet if you logged some serious time drifting those real 'Michigan Wigglers' or Red Worms (*ducks*), it would have been hammer time, especially given the warming trend.

I would really like to do an MI trip, on a weekend if possible. Easy for me to suggest as I do not have family, but still worth considering, yes?

Well done,


lambton said...

Thanks for the comments. Any trip to MI is well worth considering. Weekends are a possibility but I must warn you that it gets fairly busy at the popular spots on the weekends.
I mean like opening day busy :0(
There is lots of water and if you are willing to wade and stray from the obvious you can find some elbow room.
Real wigglers creep me out. John P told me you have to keep them in a small damp container so they cannot swim themselves to death.

As for the camera it is a Cannon A720IS. I just got it at Christmas. I still favour the A80 and will bring it the next trip. I am a full out Auto mode photograper. LOL!
Let me know when you would be interested in going and perhaps we can figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Very Nice! I hit quite a few fish up thee this week too including a 32"er and a wild hen I thought was 12lbs until I saw her, lol.

Let me know when you and Joe want to come over and I'll try to meet you guys up there.


lambton said...

Hey Trev! Thanks for the comments.
Nice to hear from ya. A 32"r WOW!!!
We just may be over that way this coming Thurs/Fri. Right now it's a toss up between OH and MI as the OH tribs are on the drop. Not sure if they will shape up or not but if they do it will be crazy. I will most certainly be in touch!!!!