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.**