Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fish Camp # 1 - out of order!

Ok, Ok...the guys from Fish Camp 1 complained that there weren't any pictures of FC-1!
My brother, Gary, brother-in-laws, Chris & Jim, and Gary's college roommate, Mikey-Pikey showed up the first of April for three days of Spring Steelhead fishing.

This is what the river looked like just before they arrived.  Almost Combat Fishing!

The steps were still covered with ice and a little tricky to get down.  You can see the fisherman stack up close to the coffer dam.

We hiked down river to get away from the crowd.  This is Chris down on the bend across from the Rockpile hole.  He caught a couple of fish there.


Gary likes to wade halfway across and fish close to the drift boats.  He had a nice steelhead on a silver spoon.  I was fishing just upriver from Gary.

Jim always finds a spot near the bank.  Last year he caught a huge walleye.  How did you do this year, Jim?

Mikey-Pikey shocked us all this year by bringing a brand new fishing rod and reel to camp.  I think he was using his Dad's old fishing pole the last few years.  There were fish waiting for exercise as Mikey did his thing in the river.

This year, Gary started a new after dinner tradition with is cooler full of these items.

Yes, those are jello-shots!  Gary and I came across this tradition several summers ago when we rescued 4 bikini  clad MSU students from the cold Jordan River.  They thanked us by sharing their jello shots!  ...but that is another story, nobody wants to hear it again........

Gary back the next day in same hole, minus the drift boats.  Yes, it was cold and the gloves were necessary.

We heard them before we saw them.  Two large flocks of Canadian geese flew overhead.  Why were they going south?  Maybe the weather got too cold.

Chris gets the only landed steelhead.  I think he got it down on the bend.

We were glad we didn't have to carry fish up Cardiac Hill.  Chris was the steelhead camp for FC-1.

The boys brought a ton of food for FC (fish camp) .  We had fritters and donuts, cereal, OJ for one breakfast from Mikey-Pikey.  Gary brought his favorite pulled pork dinner, Jim had a great homemade stew, and Chris brought lunch meat and other things.

Last morning it was smokey links and hot sausage and scrambled eggs for breakfast.  We always eat well at FC.

I guess the theme for FC-1 was the golf Masters.  We toasted every good shot.  We fished, we ate, we drank, we hiked, we had fun.  Thanks guys for a great start to fish season 2011.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fish Camp II

It is that time of the year for Steelies!  It is cold, rainy and windy.....but just the way I like it!  As reports of incoming steelhead flow out into the airways, Fish Camp II started up.  Cousin Tim from NJ was on his way over and his college roommate, Stan, was coming in from VA.

I love my driveway sign.  It is from the old elementary school when they dedicated the road to our Mom.  After the road was eliminated, I got the sign.  If you read it backwards, it is ...Dr. Stauffer!  :-)

The boys arrived on Sunday afternoon ready to fish for 6 days.  We headed down to the river.

I caught the first steelhead on a rubber legged stonefly.  This fish is one that would be for dinner.  I don't keep many but the the first, fresh fish of the season is one I enjoy.

The water was a little high and running fast and cold.  I needed my duck hunting waders.  I don't duck hunt but I sure like their waders!

This is Tim out in the Manistee River.  The water was slightly discolored....just the way we like it!

We spent a lot of time casting black stoneflies, black leeches, and egg patterns.  It was tough fishing but we all had some hookups.

Stan fished hard every day.  He had some hookups but just couldn't get a steelhead to the net.  He was the sucker king of the week.  He landed several large red horse suckers that gave him a great battle.

Don't knock those Manistee Bonefish!   They are fun!

Three cars in the drive and the neighbors know fish camp is on!  We found that the campground road was now open so we could drive down the steep hill to the informal state land campground close to the river.  That way we could avoid Cardiac Hill - those dreaded 250 steps down!

The theme for this fish camp was WWII.  Tim bought a 6 DVD set of of old military films that were interesting.  We watched one each night.  Last fall, the theme was Lonesome Dove and Shogun before that.  We need a theme for the fall Salmon Camp.  Any ideas?

Tim caught a nice steelhead in mid-week.  He was lucky that Stan came down river and helped to net the fish.  The steelhead are runners when first hooked and are hard to land.  I would say that about 50% of the fish throw the hook and get away  It adds to the excitement of catching and trying to land a fresh steelhead.

We always eat great at fish camp.  The boys bought a pork loin roast for one night , then we had  our favorite meal pictured below.

This meal was parsnips and carrots sauteed in butter and served over thin spaghetti with Parmesan cheese.  It was very good.  One other meal was fresh broiled steelhead  with parsley potatoes.

We would fish from 7:00 am until noon or so and then go back out from 5-8:00 pm.  Dinner was always later and then we watched some WWII DVDs and that was the night.

Stan worked on nuclear submarines but I can't tell you any more.....if I did I would have to kill you......
Stan has brought his wife to visit the area and has looked at several cabins in the area.  Who knows, maybe he will have a hunting/fishing place here some day soon.

Now that he is retired, he is a turkey hunter.  Stan had to get back to those hills in VA and get his turkey tags filled.

Tim was in banking and finance and now semi-retired.  He loves to fish and managed to get more steelhead on than anyone else in fish camp.  Tim owns land in the UP and was born in MI.

Well, that is a summary of Fish Camp II.  The fish are coming in.  The hens have eggs and are getting ready to spawn.  The recent rain/snow should bring in a fresh bunch of fish this week.  Now is the time to get on the river.  So pack your bags and head up to Don's Fish Camp.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Random Spring Shots

Wow!  The weather sure stayed cold this Spring.  I have been fishing and waiting for the Steelhead Run.

I went down and got one brown trout right below the dam on a black leech. 

This is looking over the coffer dam at Tippy Dam.  Most were floating wax worms under a bobber.

This is a new friend, Dan.  He is from Waterford, MI and this was his first time steelhead fishing.  He was using his 6 weight rod with a fly.

Part of fishing is getting your gear in order.  We kept going further down stream to get away from the crowds.

After a morning on the Manistee, we hiked over to Bear Creek.  It was a hike in but nice to have it to ourselves.  The water was pretty dark and no fish .  One guy has a cabin in Onekema so we will probably fish again this spring.

I had the river almost to myself this mid-afternoon.  A nice hen hit my rubber leg nymph.  It was nice to have  a steelie on and land it.

Now I can relax and just fish.  The first steelhead of the season is especially nice.  My brother and the outlaws are coming up on Wednesday so I can at least tell them there are fish in the river.  The big questions-  Will Mikey-Pikey get a steelhead?  Will Jim just catch huge walleyes?  Will Chris find us on the river? Will Gary sleep in the pole barn in the Scamp?  Stay tuned!

Can you identify this dude in the woods?  Questions, questions...........