Losing a good fish

At dawn nearly everyday for the past few weeks I'd been stalking a pod of stray Skamania Steelhead that had made their way into the Flat River.  Today I finally got a solid hookup on a swung red and white bad hair day streamer.
The fish crushed the fly and I had a great hook set (and a couple more for good measure).  He took off upstream towards the dam.  I kept the tension on but let him run (like I had a choice) while trying to work my way to a shallower spot on the river where I could attempt to land him.

He ran up under the dam and the fluid tension of having the fish on the line changed to solid, static and hopeless.  I moved around to different angles,  hoping my line was just hung up on something.  After a few minutes with no change in the situation, I swallowed my fate and did the inevitable, I grab my Skagit line, wrapped it around my hand a few time and started to yank.  Eventually the line broke free with no fish or fly on the end. 

I'm pretty sure I'd hooked up with the big buck that had just porpoised a few minutes earlier in the spot where my fly got grabbed.  To further confirm this, I saw him jump again from nearly the same spot where I broke my line off a minute or two after everything went down.

I can take some consolation in that I'm pretty sure I saw this same fish come unpinned in a wonderful acrobatic display from a Mepps spinner a guy was throwing the day before.

Here is John Larison's take on the situation : A Steelheader Farms Another One

"What happened next, I’ll never know for sure, though I have some suspicions. The line came tight, suddenly and abnormally tight, and then it wasn’t the animate flex of a fish I felt but the firm resonance of current parting over fly line. I leapt onto a rock to change the angle, and felt the resonance increase to a hum. And then felt nothing."

Sometimes nothing is the heaviest thing of all."


Ephoron Success

I hardly ever dry fly fish anymore, but this year the majority of my dry fly fishing has been at night. With Gray Drakes, Hex and now Ephorons, I've been having a heck of a time getting a fish to stay pinned. I did some research and I think my problem centers around two main areas:

  1. Slack 
  2. Angle of hook set.

I found the following video,  it really drove home some good points:

I went out tonight and started with a hopper. I missed a couple nice fish right off the bat.  So I  broke down what I was doing, worked on improving my angles and made sure I had zero slack once the fly landed.

Fish on!

 This guy came on the swing below the dam, I went look for stray summer steelhead before last light.


Back on the Little Manistee

Such a nice river.
Things you find on the river and/or stuck in a salmon this time of year  in Michigan

Juvenile Steel -  Hopper Eater


The Ephorons are here, the Ephorons are here!

I was fishing below the dam in Lowell a few days ago and caught my first Ephoron hatch of 2013. It was pretty substantial - lots of bugs everywhere.

Tonight, on the way to pick Brigid up from work, I noticed quite a few Ephorons on the bridge over the Grand. On our way back home, we stopped at the boat launch.  What we saw was nothing short of epic. We got there just after 11:30pm and the river and shore were nearly covered with bugs - awesome!

Earlier today I made the rounds to grab a few tying materials for a simple White Wulff - Ephoron pattern. My largest Flat River Smallie, up until this year, came on a #10 White Wulff during an Ephoron hatch. These are meant to be exaggerated bass versions of the fly. Hopefully I'll be able to get out and give them a try soon.