Thursday, March 24, 2011

Muskegon River Steelhead March 23, 2011

warming up fingers 

Mansel w/ a nice one
Got out for a late afternoon fish.  Water was up good but clear and fishable.  Fish are certainly ascending the river daily and the river is poised for some great fishing. On the other hand, weather for the day was brutal.  One of the coldest on the river in a while. Winds were relentless and the air was damp.  I found it hard to believe how cold it was seeing that we have come through a pretty cold season, many days in the teens.  We fished the upper river, up and down from pine street.  The fish we hooked were on both clown eggs and ice minnows.  Water was on the rise during the time we were on the water which we felt affected the fishing quite a bit.  All in all it was a good day considering the weather and water conditions.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Muskegon River guide trip 3/7 - Steelhead and Trout combo

Dennis with one of his first steelhead ever, not bad!

The more people request these combo trips in the winter the more I like them.  They just make sense.  Fish both low light periods for steelhead(when they are most active) and fish for trout the rest of the time.  It amazes me how many people plug away for steelhead all day long and miss the great trout fishing that is right in front of them.  I picked up Dennis Goertzen at the Gray Drake at about 9:00 am  and headed out to the river.  This was his first time fly-fishing(he said it was on the bucket list) and the trip was given to him from his wife for Christmas.  Nice gift!  Being his first time he said he would like to do whatever made sense.  We had talked about steelheading so we decided to go for both.  Started with a quick tutorial on casting a steelhead rig and proceeded to move into the run suspected of holding a few steelhead.  A half and hour later Dennis had five fish that were hooked and two that were landed.  One of which was a 9 lb buck with magnificent color.  After things cooled off the sun was getting higher in the sky so we decided to start retooling for trout.  Dennis picked up the basic mechanics of casting with the lighter trout rod and he was soon into his first trout.  The wind was very reasonable and the sunlight we had was a welcome warmth, a truly beautiful winter day.  Took a couple seine samples near Pine Street boat ramp and in a word it was SCUDTASTIC.  As my buddy Kirk said the other day "scuds are like popcorn to the trout".  Continued to fishing for trout until about 3:00 pm and then started making our way down the river to hit a few steelhead runs to finish the day.  Dennis hooked two more steelhead and landed one to finish the day.  Three steelhead and a dozen or so nice trout...not too bad for his first time out!
another beautifully colored  fish

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Muskegon River guided trip 3/6 - Steelhead/Trout combo

Jim with a hog
John with his first steehead...not bad!
It was very brisk to start the morning and blue skies looked as if they were going to stay.  Low, clear water as well let us know we had our work cut out.  Jim Geise had booked a trip to treat his good fishing buddy John Bebow and wanted to fish for both trout and steelhead.  When he asked to fish for trout as well he didn't mean catching a couple trout by accident while steelhead fishing.  Jim made the right call.  Started fishing for steelies right off while the light was low but no takers.  As soon as the sun got high we switched over to trout and things warmed up quickly.  The Muskegon River scud went to work and by the time we decided to switch back to steelheading they had boated well over 30 nice trout...but who's counting.

Another shot of John's steelhead
One of many nice trout 

solid, colorful bow
Jim with a quality rainbow
Made our way down from Pine Street boat launch and finished up the day with a steelhead each!  Couldn't get much sweeter.  Well, maybe it could.  When Jim had booked the trip he told me that John had never caught a steelhead he would love it if he could.  John's fish was the last one of the day.  All of this on top of a couple of fly nuts that were fun to be around, truly enjoy being on the river, and would have had a great time if we had only caught chubs.  The way fly-fishing is supposed to be.
heavy winter brown

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Muskegon River Steelhead Feb. 2, 2011

nice bright fish on a clown egg

Met up with Bob and Drew and hit the river at about 11:00 am on Monday.  The plan was to fish only for steelhead, so everyone(except me) left trout rods in the car.  This was a good thing because if we had all brought trout rods we would have been seduced at some point by a nice looking trout run and would have missed out on some nice steelhead.  Fished our way up from Thornapple boat launch and had  good success. We fished eggs and leach-type patterns with most of the fish taking leaches.  We mostly fished chuck-n-duck since we were looking for fish we could hook with clients.  Water clarity was good but levels are starting to get in the "low" mode.  Right now finding fish means moving around a lot and fishing areas you have a pretty good idea there are fish present.
Bob with a nice one caught on a fly of alien origin