A semi-coherant collection of ramblings,misdealings, and Tom Foolery experienced in pursuit of Great Lakes Steelhead.
Friday, April 01, 2011
The Lower River
The last time I floated the Big Manistee we put in at Rainbow and motored up river. We were fishing on the front end of a cold front plus we had big off coloured water. We still managed to find some fish and christen the Hyde. Today I was flying solo and quite excited about heading down from rainbow into the wintering water. We really haven't seen a decent push of fish this spring and with the warming trend and snow melt I thought the lower river might be the place to find a few new fish along with some privacy. The early morning drive across the rural Michigan countryside was stunning. The sun was rising and the fields were full of deer.
I really is quite amazing just how many deer you can see in the fields at dawn or dusk in the spring over here. Arriving to the launch I was pleased to see this section of the river was indeed quiet. I quickly put the motor on the boat and finalized the remainder of details before I backed the boat down the ramp. Before I knew it I was drifting down river but not before netting a nice 7lb female for a shore angler at the launch. For the next five hours I pulled anchor, rowed the boat, got snagged, and re-tied. I could not buy a fish on this section of river now matter how hard I tried I must have re-tied no less than 20 times. There were a few guides on this section today and they shared my predicament. "No fishies in the down-low".
The float and solitude was good for my soul and the boat maneuvering experience was money in the bank. I'm actually starting to get the hang of it. I decided to cut my losses and head back to the launch with hopes of dropping the Hyde off at the Cabin and fishing Tippy for an evening session.
I managed to get the boat in the garage in good time and headed toward the river.
On the way down the stairs I ran into a gentlemen taking a rest mid way. He indicated that he had not seen a fish hooked down there all day. By now I had nothing to lose and made my way down towards the river. Much to my surprise my preferred location below the coffer was free so I quickly slipped in and made the cast. Three drifts in and I decided to change my roe bag to a fresh one and pierced one of the eggs for good measure. The float hit the water and went no more than 10 feet before it disappeared and it was fish-on. It was very nice to feel the rod finally load up. After a decent battle the fish was on the bank and success was realized. After a few pics the fish swam away no worse for wear and I turned my body around just in time to see someone slip into my spot out in the run. I decided to carry on down river and see if I could coax a couple more before sunset. There is a certain time of the day when the sun starts to set that the river takes on an amazing glow. My secret gravel knoll was occupied so I had to go to plan B just slightly down river.
I slid down the bank and into the river. A drift or two later and I was into a decent 1 1/2lb brown. Some of these river browns are just stunning and this one proved to be one of those fish. By now the days activities were taking there toll on me and I still had a decent hike back to the truck so I packed up and started back. On the hike out I thought about the days events and the irony of catching fish at the dam versus the boat. That's fishing I guess and I'll take it any day over catching nothing or worse... having to work.