Michigan Sportsman Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,247 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was fortunate enough to get out trout fishing twice in the last week. Once was on Tuesday and the second time was on Sunday. On both days I didn’t get started until about noon. Since some statements have been made about trophy fish available in only gear restricted waters the only comment I’ll make is that after these two trips I have caught close to 50 trophy trout this year between 15 and 20 inches. Not bad for public rivers with plenty of public access and open to all legal types of fishing. These trout were caught on 5 different rivers and so far I have not fished the same water twice.

Tuesday I started fishing at a public campground and floated 200 yards before I ran across two adults with a kid. They were using forked sticks to hold their fishing rods and in four hours they had caught exactly (1) 10" fish. The young kid caught it and was very proud as he held up his stringer. Except for a few kayaks I didn’t see another person until about 5 PM where I met three young men who had been fishing all day with spinners and so far had only a couple of followers.

Sunday there were even less people, but I did see my first bait container of the year. I must say that with all the summer growth fishing from shore would be difficult and wading would require a fair amount of effort as well. This is probably true for most rivers with few exceptions and is probably the biggest reason our trout rivers don’t get much pressure after opening day. Maybe we are getting lazy, but it seems like I saw a lot more fishermen in NW Michigan when I was growing up than I see now.

Anyway most often I am the only car in the parking lot when I start and when I finish. One day earlier this year I got a permit to fish the Pine and I was the only one to even request a permit that day. The economy probably has something to do with it too, and I think just getting a permit keeps lots of people from using the river especially those like me that decide to go on the spur of the moment.

While I love having the river all to myself, I don’t mind seeing other people on the river having fun weather they are fishing or canoeing and it doesn’t seem to bother the fish much either.

Back to Tuesday. I floated another 300 yards or so past where I encountered the kid with his trophy trout and hooked a decent fish on my first cast. The day was partly sunny and warm, the water was about 4 inches high and dropping with a nice stain and the fishing was steady and about an hour after starting I stopped in about 10 inches of water about 30 feet before the riffle slowed into a deep pool. I dropped my bait just in front of me and worked it down toward the pool when I saw my line twitch and immediately set the hook on a nice 16 inch brown. He took drag into the deep pool and slugged it out in the depths. I am still amazed how hard a 16" trout can pull. An as you can see he had great color.


Later in the day I hooked this nice rainbow that went airborne immediately after feeling the sting of the hook. It always makes me smile when that happens and wild rainbows like this one definitely make you wonder if you should be using heavier tackle. I second guessed myself about 8 PM when a brute of a brown trout almost took my 5 wt out of my hand. It was one of those memorable battles, but I was pretty confident I would land him as I had lots of deep water and plenty of room. After about the fourth run, I thought I had him. When he finally came out of the deep water and I got a look at him, I was thinking 20 plus, but he was stubborn and made a desperate roll and at that moment the hook and the trout parted company. He was at the surface and for an instant he looked at me and once he realized he was free, dived back into the depths and was gone.

That’s alright I said, I was going to let you go anyway. Of course there was no answer and it gave me something to contemplate as I put my gear away and rowed out the last mile.

A little later I landed his little brother.


Sunday was warmer, the water was normal, the river changed, but the fishing remained good. I caught a barely legal rainbow on my first cast and it turned out to be the smallest fish of the day. In the second hole, I caught 3 trout and the largest was a spunky 13 inch brown. I could have limited out in the first half hour but I had planned to be on the river for at least 6 hours. I had originally planned on fishing with my good friend Dennis, but he caught some bug so I was on my own again which doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

When I arrived at a deep hole where on my last trip last year lost perhaps the largest trout of the year, it had changed. A large tree lodged in the center of the hole and slowed the water on the far side of the river. I tried anyway and caught 4 fish on my first four casts, but instead of trout they were fat 7 inch bluegills. My last cast in this hole was closer to the fast water and I was rewarded with a feisty 12 inch brown. No doubt what would be on his menu in a few short weeks. lol

For whatever the reason, fishing improved as the clouds drifted away and the skies cleared. Half hour after the bluegill hole, I hooked this beauty.


What a great day. Almost every hole produced either a fish or at least a bite and when it got to hot I simply put my feet in the water to cool down. No waders needed this day and along with the fried chicken and potato salad I had fresh plums and strawberries for nourishment.

In the middle of this section of river it drops quickly in a 200 foot rapids and ends in a deep pool at the end of the rapids. I first fished the slower water on either side of the chute before I dropped my line down the center of the fastest water. Almost before I could reel in the slack I hooked my biggest fish of the day, a 18" plus rainbow. Most often the larger fish are brown trout, so it was a surprise when I hooked this beautiful rainbow.


In the fast water he fought like a steelhead, but no steelhead exist in this water. The fish had plenty of talent, but I had a little experience too and I managed this picture before releasing him back from whence he came.

In the end, it was a wonderful day on the water and I’m happy to report there are still plenty of trophy trout available to be caught even in the middle of a clear sunny day. Summer is now here so think light, be patient and be as stealthy as you can. It is not always easy, but it is also not as difficult as some think.

My best asset is my DryFlyFloatBoat because it quietly gets me to where the trout live and with some practice allows me to position myself in the most unintrusive way. You can use a kayak or canoe or even a float tube and have success, but the float boat offers more flexibility, control and stealth without having to exit the craft. In places where the water is to deep to wade, I simply drop my anchor.

On smaller streams and rivers where the boat might spook the fish, I park my boat, walk down river and fish up to my boat. In the end, it all works better as you become more familiar with the water but fishing the same water to often educates the fish. A perfect excuse to explore new waters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,462 Posts
Nice!... I would think the continuing decline in license sales has a lil bit to do with the lack of pressure, plus the economy!
 

·
Steelhead Addict
Joined
·
3,509 Posts
Very nice. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Great write-up Split! When you fish off your dry float boat, who spots your vehicle for you? I want to buy a dry float, but without two people with vehicles..........

Thanks again for the report and "visual aides".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,452 Posts
Great story and pics, thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
Nice report...

You guys are going to have to keep fishing and throwing up the reports for me. I'm pretty much done until early September. My wife is due with our second daughter any day now, so straying away from home any time soon is out of the question.

So until my next excursion I will be living vicariously through all the Michigan sportsman trout reports. Keep them coming. It'll help keep the withdrawals at bay. Or make them worse:dizzy::D

Thanks for the story/pic's, Ray. I always enjoy your reports
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,857 Posts
Great post!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
Nice post and great pics. I wish I could get out more often lately but between football practice and games I haven't had much time. Earlier in the season I have caught two of my biggest browns ever and seen one landed by my buddy. The two browns I caught were 20" and 22" and the one my buddy landed was 27" it has been an amazing trout season thus far.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,039 Posts
Splitshot,
excellent post with pics. the description of positioning the boat to direct your bait to a likely BIG trout is great advice.

thanks for sharing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,462 Posts
P.S. Looks like the Bow in the first Pic. had it's upper jaw broke prior to you catching it... a nice way to keep track of fish....NOT!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,269 Posts
Nice job man. You are right, I should be trout fishing....;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
646 Posts
Nice write up and great photos there Splitshot. From mid May until mid August I see very few anglers on the Pine, Platte or Little Man. I see a few on the PM but for the most part it seems like a couple weeks after the opener everybody disappears. Hope to run into you someday on the river.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,247 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dtm, Many times I hitchhike back to my car after I hide my boat, sometimes I hike, sometimes I have friends spot me and sometimes I pay a spotter to spot my car. Some guys spot a bike at their take out point. The fact that it is a hassle is why many don’t do it which is to your advantage. If you decide to by a Dry fly float boat, it will open up a whole new world of trout fishing for you and I doubt you will regret it.

Brookies, keep the faith and before you know it you will have two great fishing buddies.

Mettlefish, That fish looked a little strange in the picture, but I don’t think there was anything wrong with him. He took off like a bullet when I released him. Over the years I have caught some strange looking fish but usually not wild fish.

John, I’m waiting for your call.

Fsutroutbum, The odds aren’t great, but if you keep fishing it could happen. Since I have been a member here I have seen about 20 members on the river and some in the most unlikely places.

As far as the big trout, your best chances are with plugs and spinners but overall you will catch less fish. These days I spend less and less time fishing for the 20 inch plus fish. I still get a few every year, but I like my sneaky ways and I still get a thrill catching a 12 inch trout. I call it finesse fishing which means light everything and changing tactics. Changing little things can make a big difference and I am fishing much different today than I was even two years ago. Lots of time the difference between no fish and a great day can be one or two minor changes.

Five or six years ago I hooked a 30 plus brown on 2 lb on a little leach I picked off my foot and fought him for about 20 minutes. I had parked my boat on a sand bar in about 3 inches of water and had him 4 feet away when I decided to step out of my boat to beach him. He was spent but still found enough energy to turn and slowly take me back into the deep hole and finally into the log jam where he got me hung up.

I fish that hole hard every time I fish that section, but have never turned a big fish since. I have hooked a couple of other fish that might have come close to 30 inches, but that was the only one I hooked in a river with no access to the big lakes. I remember feeling bad about it when it happened, but now it is one of my fondness memories. It was a great battle and I was very lucky to even get him that close, but in the end his heart and will won out. I like to think he remembers me and tucks up under the log jam a little tighter every time he feels the slight vibrations of my approach.

While I know a couple of places where I have a reasonable chance of hooking a 30 inch stream brown, my desire has waned perhaps because I’m getting older or perhaps because I feel I won in a way. Had I stayed in my boat I think things might have worked out differently, but that’s my story and an ending we will never know.

I have tried store bought leeches a few times, but with little success. It might have been the leech or he may have just been hungry. Anyway fish em all’s post about a 27 inch brown brought back the memory and I just started typing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,419 Posts
There are loads of big trout in Michigan. I have caught them drifting, wading, and using forked sticks. I have caught them on flies, spinners, spawn, crawlers, and spoons. I have caught them at 1:00 in the am and 1:00 in the afternoon. I think that it catching the bigger trout takes a little more knowledge and effort on the part of the fisherman. The guys that go out once or twice a year cannot expect to catch a trophy unless it is luck. The guys that get them either have alot of experience or put forth alot of effort.I have paid my dues on trout streams and have had my days where I can chalk a trophy up to both luck and experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,645 Posts
Great story on the leach Ray. Many, many years ago I fished the upper Man A LOT and one very hot day in July was tagging some fish under a stump hanging off the bank. Two suckers for every brown, but the water was low and clear and I knew a decent fish just had to be there. Caught a brown with a chestnut lamprey on it, pulled it off the fish and put it on my hook. The next fish I caught is on my cabin wall!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top