Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Second Fish Camp of 2010 - Fish Camp ll Duh, part 1

The First Fish Camp was over Sunday morning and Fish Camp ll was to start at 2:00 PM..  Not much time to recover but I don't have to clean up, it is Fish Camp!

Here are the next patch of professional anglers to attend Don's Legendary Fish Camp.  These guys are ready to hit the water.     Chris, Jim, Gary, and Mikey-Pikey in their gear.                                                                 

Sunday afternon we headed down to Tippy Dam.  We walked down Cardiac Hill with those 200+ steps.      The small trout were biting and we caught a few.  Then it was back home to Chris's Spaghetti Dinner.                  


Not too far from shore but in a good spot, maybe the elusive trout will bite. Jim is ready for the next hungry trout.                                                                                                                                                        

This spot looks good.  After a few hours of fishing the next day, Chris finds a nice spot to sit and fish.  Mikey is in the background.  The second day we fished the gravel bars found the fish ready to hit our flies.     We didn't see many steelhead on the beds but we did get a  few nice brown trout and   rainbows.                       


*Remember to click on any picture to enlarge it! 

Here is a picture of a trout in the gravel.  The water was clear and you could watch the fish and see the behavior of the fish.                                                                                                                            

The weather was good and the fishing was slow.  It was nice just to set around the front yard and tell stories about how great the fishing was.  This was in the afternoon of the second day and right before the next afternoon outing.  Tonight would be Gary's Pulled Pork dinner.  He put a pork loin roast into the crockpot and covered it with Root Beer and turned it on for 6-7 hours.  Then he drained the Root Beer off and flaked off the pork and put hot Bar-B-Que sauce over it.  It really is simple and very tasty.                           


While we waited for the dinner to cook, it was back to the stream for more fishing.  Gary is out a little deeper and fishing a nice drop off.  Note the boat that is silently drifting down behind Gary.  You don't see or hear them until they drift right behind you and it does tend to startle you!                                                

Another trout comes to hand.  The steelhead are hiding or busy reproducing, which is what they are suppose to do at this time.  I always feel bad to interfere with is like coitis interruptus!                      

Jim is changing his fly trying to find the hot one for day.  The trees haven't come out yet but the hill side is starting to get some color.  You can see the fisherman on the other side of the river, upstreaqm from us.  They were catching a few steelhead from time to time.  It always looks better on the other side of the river. Any way it was time to head back for the Pulled  Pork  dinner.                                                                 


The next day was our last day of Fish Camp ll.  After all, someone has to go to work to keep our Social Security checks coming in!  We headed back to the gravel bars.                                                             

Gary waded half way across the river and was using a small silver spoon and getting fish almost every cast.  Of course, he didn't share with Mikey-Pikey.  Hearing a hoot from Mikey-Pikey, we saw that he had a fish on.                                                                                                                                                          

I was fishing below Gary, and Jim and Chris were fishing closer to the shore.  I spotted a Hen Steelhead on the gravel and a couple of smaller fish below her.  I threw my fly past the hen and stripped it across between the hen and the males.  On the second or third drift, I caught one of the males.  He gave me a real battle.  I was using my 5/6 weight  fly rod instead of my 8 weight rod.  I had trouble getting the fish out of the deeper water and up on the gravel bar.  It was fun to fight the fish and he wanted to get back to the female.                                                        

This 20" male steelhead was fresh from the lake and had wound the line around my boot as I tried to get this picture.  I stand to lose my fish, break my line, and drop my camera trying to land this nice fish. 

You can see my 2" silver minnow streaqmer in his jaw.  What a nice fight.  I released him so I would have good Karma.                                                                                                                                        

We only fished the morning of the third day and had some of Jim's turkey and ham sandwiches before they all had to pack up and head out.  It is only 6 more months to the Fall Salmon Camp!                                

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First Fish Camp - Part 2

After a few days on the Manistee River we decided we would hike in the Betsie River and see what we could scare up.  It is about 30 minutes from my house and is behind the Crystal Mountain ski area.  We parked along the road and hiked in about 1/2 mile and crossed over the stream.  This was the first time I had been to the Betsie in the spring.  The water was higher and the crossing was a little interesting.

I found a nice hole and started to swing flies.  The water was a little dark from the overnight rain. I kept casting and working my way downstream towards Tim.  Stan was fishing a hole above me.  We fished for several hours and didn't get anything.  Stan had a big steelhead on and had it right to his feet when he lost it.

The next day we did a float trip with my drift boat from Tippy Dam to High Bridge.

The small pictures are from another camera and get blurry when I tried to enlarge it.

Tim is casting to the banks and off the gravel bars.  We caught rainbows and browns.

Stan was changing flies, looking for the hot fly.  We all took turns manning the oars as we drifted down the river stopping at each hole or run.

Here was a small brown that fell to my white streamer.

Another fish comes to the net.  Now where are the large steelhead?

We spent 4 hour drifting the first 3/4 mile and it was 6 more miles to our take-out point.  We had to speed things up.  We drifted down stream and had our lunch on the way down. 

We had a nice turkey sandwich and cole slaw and some cookies.

The weather warmed up and we relaxed.

We didn't do well in the lower river and the wind came up.  It was blowing us back up stream so we had to use the oars for the last 2 hours!!

After we got off the river we decided to cook outside over the grill.  I had two large filets of lake trout for dinner

It was nice to eat outside for the first time in mid-April.

Shirt sleeves in mid-April doesn't happen every year.  It was a nice ending to a great day.

The next day we decided to fish Bear Creek.  We drove to a new location.  It would be the first time hiking in to this spot on the creek.  We parked and hiked over to the edge of a huge cliff above the river.  It was quite a scramble getting down to the stream.

Stan is about half way down the trail.  The stream looks great and nobody else is in sight.  Yea, we have the stream to ourselves.

I get a native rainbow and think I am going to have a great day here.

The stream is small but beautiful.  Tim crosses over to the other side and Stan and I play leap frog from hole to hole.

Tim got into the fish and caught a nice brookie and 4 rainbows.  Stan got a brown so we covered all the bases on the trout , except the steelhead had moved way up stream!

Sometimes you just have to relax and enjoy the sites and sights.

Stan has one on.  I grab the camera so I can get a shot of the fish.

A nice brownie from Bear Creek.

There was an angler here with a sense of humor.  What do you think?

I think the same angler was at this spot.  What is that shape on the tree?   Tim is just fishing a nice hole.

We fish for a couple of hours and ended up way up stream.  We decide to head back and then we realized that we have that huge cliff to hike back up!  It was steeper this time!

Next day we went back to the Manistee River to fish.  It was another nice day but we found a drift boat in our favorite spot.  They were fishing the other side so we just waded out and fished on this side of the boat.

Tim hooked a large steelhead but couldn't get it in.  As he finally got closer he realized it had a stringer attached and Tim hooked the fish and stringer!

A fitting farewell to a week of Fish Camp. Tim was headed to downstate to visit his Mother and Stan was off to Virginia. Another great Fish Camp.

The guys left around 10:00 am and Fish Camp ll was due to start at 2:00 pm.  Stay tuned for Fish Camp ll .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

First Fish Camp of 2010 - Part 1

It was finally time for Fish Camp 2010.  The first Fish Camp was April 11-18th.  Cousin, Tim, drove over from New Jersey and his college roommate, Stan, came up from Virginia.  The weather started out warm in the 70's and turned colder later in the week.

The guys arrived Sunday afternoon and were ready to hit the stream. We decided to fish the Manistee River across from the Handicap Pier on the south side of the river.

On the way through the woods, we could see the river.  Yup, the river had lots of fishermen after the Spring Steelhead.  We waded out to the gravel bars and started floating flies.  Small black nymphs and egg patterns were used.  We saw lots of fisherman on the north bend, up by the boat launch, catching fish every half hour but the fish were moving where we were.                                                                                                     

This is Stan and He is using his spinning rod to float flies under his 3-way swivel and sinker.  You can see the handicap Pier on the other side.  The water was pale green and the temperature was in the 60's.                    

A nice 14" trout hit the white streamer.  We caught some nice browns and a few rainbows but the steelhead were interested in reproduction at the moment.      We caught lots of  medium sized trout but the steelies were tougher to get right now.                                                                                    

Stan gets into another fish.  This one is heavy.  After a few minutes, he can't move the fish.  I have a feeling I know what it is.  The Prized Red Horse Sucker!  Stan managed to get a few every day of camp!                

Here you can see the bend south of the launch area.  It was loaded with guys.  The fish were on the gravel beds in front of them.                                                                                                                               

The first day and we all caught some fish.  I had two steelhead on my 5/6 weight fly rod on small egg patterns and managed to get a good fight out of them but didn't land them.  It was good to be out on the stream and tomorrow we will fish the Betsie River.