Sunday, March 14, 2010

First River Fishing Day for 2010

I decided that ice fishing was getty iffy with the warm weather.  I had a great day (for me) and caught 29 smelt last Wednesday but packed the ice fishing gear away.

The weather was in the 50s and it was cloudy so off to the river I went.  The South side parking lot of Manistee River at Tippy Dam is only 2 miles north of my house.  When I arrived I saw about 8 cars and wondered if I could find a fishing spot I liked.  I had my waders on and just grabbed my fishing pole and headed to the steps of Cardiac Hill.

The snow was still around and a little slippery.  This is just before the dreaded steps down to the river.  See how the right side gets warm afternoon sun and the left side only gets morning sun. I am facing north.

The  top of the 140+ steps were fairly clear of snow and ice.  Down I go wondering if I didn't need the ice creepers I had on my waders.

As I got to the bottom of the steps the ice was covering the steps and slippery.  This is where you better be holding on to the railing.  Now I was glad for those ice creepers!  I had heard that the steehead are now moving in the river and from the number of cars in the parking lot, it must be true.

The scene from the lower steps shows only about 4-5 guys below the the dam.  I always enjoy this picture of the river.  It is just as I remembered from my last trip in November.  I noticed a few fish on a stringer by the larger rock in the foreground.  I'll be these guys were here early,like 7:00 am!

I moved down stream below the last guy and waded out to my knees.  The water isn't too bad and the flow is ok.  I tried to drift some wax worms on bottom but the Zebra mussels are so thick that they cut off the wax worms so I tie on a Manistee Wiggler fly and bounce it along on bottom.  After about 20-30 minutes I had a hit.  Wow, first fish of the year.  I hope I can land it.  I decide to try to get a picture while I am fighting the fish.  I may not be successful.

It is a 16" rainbow, not a steelhead, but is giving me a nice fight.  Come to Poppa!  I get out my forceps and take the hook out without touching the fish and he lives to fight another day.  I have plenty of fish in the freezer and I want to catch him some other day.  He gave me a nice fight so I released him to give someone else a good day.    Ah, fishing on the Manistee River....priceless!

It was then that I remembered that I have to go up Cardiac Hill again! 

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