Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Norlands Curse

The State of Michigan has instilled a curse on Old Man Norland.  Every time he seems to hit these magical waters things tend to go south and today was to prove no different.  Having struggled for the past couple of months to secure a date to head up to the cabin we finally landed on this weekend.  The conditions looked like they were coming into shape and there was a slim possibility that this could be the time.  After too many cold ones the night prior we woke pre-light for a morning session on the Big River.  Knowing full well that it was Saturday and the circus would be in town we settled on the couch for a couple of coffees and conversation before dragging our sorry asses to the river.  The access lot was jam packed.  We weighed our options and  hit the trail towards the Tunk .  Along the way every inch of the river was being exploited.    Much to our surprise the Tunk hole was almost void of pressure with the exception of a couple of guide boats.
The river was carrying a surprising stain and the level was up about 6" from the week prior.  We fished the old girl hard but couldn't seem to put anything together.  Getting discouraged by the amount of pressure we cut our losses and headed to some private water on Bear Creek.   The water looked promising but the day's surprisingly high temps and full sun were more conducive to sitting on the porch versus steelheading.
We made our way up river picking apart all the sexy water we came across.  I managed to pick up my first Bear Creek Steelhead out of the slack water of an inside bend in the river.  She was a pretty 3 or 4 lb drop back hen that really didn't want her photo taken.  As I fumbled with my camera she managed to wiggle free and find freedom in the dark waters of Bear Creek.  We continued on up river fishing everything that seemed fishy but the full sun and prolific bug hatch were not working in our favor so we cut the outing short and made tracks.  Norland really wanted his homo Swiss and Morel Sausage so we hit the Dublin General Store for some prepared meats.  Morel Sausage, Jerky Dip and Maple Jerky was our poison and the plan for the remainder of the afternoon was to sit on the porch with a couple of cold ones and some good eats.  By now the skies were clear blue and the temps we in the high 60's.  The chairs on the porch were sure a welcomed relief as we cracked a cold one and dove into our treats.
After filling our faces with goodness we decided to take a drive to the Weir to see if the Eagles were sitting on the nest and how the Steelehead Egg collection was unfolding.  Much to our surprise the DNR had two pens full of Steelhead and they were jumping fairly regularly at the Weir in an attempt to migrate up river.  It brought back childhood memories watching the steelies attempt to jump the man made obstruction.  It was Norlands first time to the Weir and first time seeing the Eagle Nest.  I was certain I had seen some movement on the nest when all of a sudden a giant white head appeared out of nowhere looking down upon the river.  It was nice to see they were on the nest tending to this years offspring.    We spent some time admiring the Eagles and Steelhead before heading back to the cabin for the remainder of the day.  On the way back we decided to do some scouting and check out Pine Lake.  We had gotten a tip of extremely large Blue Gills taken this winter through the ice.  Apparently Bluegills in the 13+" range are very possible on this system.  The lake is virtually in my back yard so we thought we better check out the scene and get the down low on how we are gonna get the Hyde out on her for some Bluegill action on the fly later this spring.  Much to my surprise the lake was a decent size and the access was excellent.  Another thing for the must-do list.
The day was a gift after such a hard winter and it really was nice to reunite with Norland.
Later that evening we went for a nice walk through the bush and explored the property a bit before settling down for a  home made Lasagna dinner.
Sunday morning came way too early and was repelled by the mystical snooze button.  The early morning thunderstorm left be longing for more sleep and with little ambition to face the Circus.  Finally I managed to raise my weary body from bed and put a pot of coffee on.  Out side there was a fairly heavy fog and as I approached the picture window to peer into the front yard I startled a large Tom and 3 hens as they foraged around in a remnant snow bank for captured seed from the feeders.  This was the first time we had seen some Turkey on the property and was kinda special.  My wife prides herself with the amount and selection of bird feed she has available so for her the encounter was extra special.  After a lazy hour of drinking coffee and chatting we decided to make an attempt at the river.  We hit Horseshoe bend in hopes of some isolation and solitude as well as easy and accessibility.  We were granted both but under a torrential downpour.  The river was very stained but we gave it our best only to come up empty handed.  (Norland curse thing...you know!)
Not wanting to totally pack it in just yet we doubled back towards Tippy and the Tunk Hole.
Once again we were dealt another blank.  By about noon we were both ready to hike out.  The temps were in the low 70's and we were damp , sweaty, and most likely smelling like a$$.  Norland also had to get on the road and get home for a dinner date.
We made our way back to the cottage and parted ways.  It was nice to get together with a good friend.  I certainly wish the fishing conditions were better but as in life some things you cannot control.
The big river is in her prime as I type this.  Early to mid week she should fish outstanding but who knows... I am at my whits end on attempting to predict her outcome.  Tippy Dam pond is ice free and today's rain was big and very warm.  A huge push should have come up from the lake.  The next couple of days will certainly tell the tale.  Dare to dream...


Trotsky said...

Fuck that river and fuck you...
That morel sausage is the bomb...but has left my bowel in a terrible state!!!!
I just passed a mucus plug that had hints of swiss.
Thanks for the invite in spite of that stingy bitch.

GT said...

Still a shitty day in paradise is worth more than 4 hours of constant uselessness at my office. Thanks for sharing although I can't eat swiss all of a sudden. ( Cheers Gene!)