Monday, December 30, 2013

Along for the Ride – Fishing in a Winter Wonderland

The holiday season would just not be quite complete without a bit of fishing…Well at least not for my Dad. An excursion in the jet boat was necessitated, even at this time of year. After my Dad got me and my sis AKA Mak into the act we prepared for Old Man Winter’s worst. We embarked from the launch at about 10:00 and had two hours to give the trout a run for their money. We were cutting it close as is usual with the Allens. My Dad wasted no time in maneuvering us into a position from which we could ferociously bombard the enem-er, catch those trout! I must admit, it did hurt a bit being out-fished by Mak but, at the end of the day, I’m just glad I was along for the ride! Happy Holidays!

Hudson Allen, son-of-a-fly-fishing guide


First catch of the day.


Mak making quick work of those rainbows.


I had to pull my weight… Someone’s gotta catch those brownies.


Beautifully colored rainbow.

via Allen Brothers

Friday, December 13, 2013

embracing the cold – winter trout fishing early on the MO

With the hard hitting early winter we have been getting, things have started up a bit early this year for winter trout fishing on the Mo. Today was just a half-day w/ John but it was good enough to consider charging for a full day. Water temps having reached the 30′s a week or so ago has caused the early migration of trout  to their winter lies. Not all fish appear to have made the transition but MANY have. With the overall health of the trout high it seems we are in for a great winter of fishing…embracing the cold.

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


I’d rather have frozen fingers…if one of these is cradled in between


John has officially been admitted into the “winter trout veterans club”

via Allen Brothers

Monday, December 9, 2013

The weather man will steer you wrong…

Got a call from Jack late last week who had a trip booked for the 9th. He was bringing his son-n-law Kyle with.  ”do you think we should still do the trip? Will the weather be a problem?”, is something like what he said. To which I replied,”it is fishing, but…it has been good and if you can hack the weather I think it should hold on, the only concern I have is if Kyle is hardcore enough”. At that he said,”He’s gotta learn sometime; man up or learn to golf!  I’ll see you on monday”  The problem with the weather man is that he is only worried about being comfortable. He has no passion or drive like those of us pursuing the awesome steelhead that inhabit the Muskegon River. He has no problem with looking at the nasty weather outside and could be no more excited than cozying up on the couch with his favorite pair of slippers and watching the favorite sit-com…not on my watch! We ended up having a great day on the water, lots of snow, and good conversation, as well as some exceptional steelhead. Weather man…you have no power here.

Jay Allen Riverquest guide


Kyle was patient and was rewarded w/ a fantastic 1st steelie on the fly!


When jack released this gargantuan the river level went up noticeably

via Allen Brothers

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Texas Wishes are BIG

A few years back I had the chance to guide Mike and Paula in Jackson Hole. It was summertime, the weather perfect, fishing on the Snake. As the day went on they asked about fishing in Michigan and I said they should give our Steelhead a try sometime. Last winter Paula called to book a trip on the MO over Thanksgiving as a birthday surprise for Mike(if any women are reading this take note; coolest wife props for this maneuver). I was excited about the chance to fish with them again. They brought some friends from Texas with and I got to fish with Mike and Roger(his wife surprised him too for his b-day!) for a couple days. Neither of them had caught a Steelhead, a problem we had to resolve. Somewhere along the Mike said “it sure would be nice to see some snow while we are fishing in Michigan”, and on cue the heavens opened up the night they got in. The morning of our first day snow blanketed the ground and the beauty was surreal. Big flakes coming down and big Steelhead coming to the boat. Two days of snow and winter weather didn’t stop these Texans from enjoying the days on the water. What a contrast to the first time we fished together on the Snake…

Jay Allen, Riverquest Guide


Mike’s fly-fishing experience came in handy for fighting Steelhead


a brown thrown in for variety


pulling through on the first day…Roger scores


another golden view


you expect it for a Michigan native…but Texans are tough!

via Allen Brothers

Rain or Snow – on the water

When Dan and Chad called a few weeks ago it was to reschedule a trip. It was early in the morning the day of when I got the call. Rain was pounding down near Lansing where they live. Fishing in the cold rain didn’t sound too fun. Being in the middle of a long string of trips with no days off, I wasn’t too sad. A day off. I did however question just how serious these guy were about fishing, how tough they were. Even though I had fished with Dan and his sons before they hadn’t been put to the test with weather. A few weeks later we met for the rescheduled trip and all questions of manhood were dispelled. We didn’t encounter rain but we did fill the boat with snow! In between fish I had to shovel the boat out! We had a great time and in the end had a great memory of a day in the elements that was worth the effort.

Jay Allen, Riverquest Guide


Getting the camera out was a bit challenging w/ the snow flying. Dan w/ a nice one.

via Allen Brothers

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Time to upgrade – MO steelhead

Rarely do I get to fish with someone for the first time during the winter. Usually it takes a bit of work, even coercion, to convince anglers that they need to come out for a bit of trout fishing in the winter. Not the case with Damion and Matt. This past winter I had the chance to take these two out on the river and we had a great day. Somewhere along the time on the river Damion caught a smaller “jack” steelhead on a scud. While it was a great bonus for a day of winter trout fishing, it was nothing like the fish they would encounter this fall. Nothing can really prepare you for fall steelhead and after landing their first fall steelhead I think they would agree. They both landed and lost some and in the end it was a great day.

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


I think Matt can now fully appreciate the gravity of a smooooooth drag!


this fish is probably the equivalent of adding a terabyte of ram to Damion’s winter steelie

via Allen Brothers

Sometimes you just gotta get away…

There are times we all get caught up with the business of life and forget about some of the things we really enjoy doing. Schedules fill up, children grow up(in need of our attention), life happens.  For Aaron, what was once a passion, has been put on the back burner lately, and for many good reasons. When Jon invited him to join him for a day on the water he was in. Never having caught a steelhead on the fly, he was eager to learn. And learn he did. Weather was fantastic and fishing superb, allowing Aaron, Jon, and David the chance to tangle with some real nice fish. Some call it fate, others fortune, and some chance. These guys chose to see it as God’s blessing. I agree.

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


Aaron enjoying a day on the river and first fall steelhead on the fly!


via Allen Brothers

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tackling new Tricks

Fishing is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.  This is one of the things I like most about guiding. Getting to know friends better on the water and sharing in their triumphs is a blast. Finding out where they have fished and where they would like to is interesting. The camaraderie is so much of the sport we enjoy…After having a great year of saltwater fishing filled w/ countless tarpon and bones, Jay hit a mile mark on the MO as well. Landing his first chromer on the swing was just what he needed to finish the year strong. Of course, we still have December! Way to go Jay.

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


no a bad one for the first on the swing!

via Allen Brothers

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

steeling the day – snapshots of steel from the week


Jeff having a “bit” of fun


Jerry’s first cast produced this steelie


the smoke was added for the effect; Jim finds hidden treasure


“I’d like to catch a steelhead if possible”, says Alan…the MO comes through


Yes Doug, this would go nicely w/ a Sauvignon blanc!


Jimmy had to put his shades on for this chromer

via Allen Brothers

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dog collar for the MO

Do we ever get sick of seeing our friends/clients catch quality fish on the MO…no. The past few days the Willets family joined us at the lodge for some fantastic fishing and food. Only their second time fishing the MO and they have realized what we all know is true: the MO is amazing. While Jen only wanted to catch steelhead, Darryl was content with hooking fish that should be referred to as MR. For a trip farewell Darryl hooked into his trip fish. The teeth on “Brutus” resembled a snarling doberman! Great to see you guys again and looking forward to more memories on the MO with you.

-Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


Darryl w/ his 26.5lb junkyard dog…the only thing missing is the spiked dog collar


great job fighting and landing this chromer Jen

via Allen Brothers

Sunday, July 7, 2013

going with the flow on the MO

Fishing has been interesting to say the least the past few weeks. With a biomass that might rival a megapolis the MO is hardly ever dull. Fish change feeding habits as often as women change shoes, making a day on the river always exciting. Fishing continues to be strong and I dare guess what this fall and winter will bring with such a healthy class of fish. As a preview I’ve already started to measure(accurately and quickly) fish to monitor growth…more on this later. After the hordes of fry the fish have been feeding on it appears as though they(fry drift not trout feeding) might be slowing down. Nymphing has been very productive and trout seem to be feeding ”normally”, if there is such a thing. Caddis emergences have been a bit weak but strong enough to get a good spent party at the end of the day.

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


where are we again?


Frank on the MO


Jay pick-pocketed this bow


don’t shun the skinny water




trout are cool

via Allen Brothers

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It’s hard casting dries on a warm summer evening

Fishing was hard today….hard if you think casting dries to rising trout while being bombarded with solar rays is a chore! Throw in a steak topped w/ blue cheese compound butter, charred onion-tomato-basil-balsamic salad, fresh herbed bread and you’re really suffering. Caddis activity was decent this afternoon but a barrage of suckers spawning put a few of the bigger fish off of the bugs. Activity continued throughout the afternoon and hit the zenith when the sky went dark with drakes…Biblical proportions. Picked our way down the river during the dusk hours casting at targets until the light faded and seeing the fly became tough. A beautiful day!

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


a well presented floating caddis pupa took this consistent riser


drake crusher!

via Allen Brothers

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sweet Endings

Went out tonight expecting drakes…ended up catching some nice fish on caddis instead. Not all bad, just different than expected. Hudson and I have been meaning to get out together for a while and finally made it happen. I told him how the drakes have been heavy but when we arrived at our first spot few drakes were to be seen. We started fishing caddis emergers and were quickly into fish. Hudson literally made one cast over a riser and he came up and sucked down the floating pupa.  The fight was on. When the fish hit the net Hudson was ecstatic. There are few rivers I’ve fished that have good fish eating caddis pupa in rhythm during mid-day. Always a sight to see. The night ended fishing to brownies sippn’ spent caddis. Top the night off with a round of Ben and Jerry’s and you’ve got a night to remember!

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


Hudson nailed this pupa eater in broad daylight..nice job!


a closer look


Hudson even let me catch a few



via Allen Brothers

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Feels like we are being watched

Sitting in the boat waiting for drakes is an interesting activity. The anticipation is palatable and silence refreshing. One moment you feel they aren’t going to show up and the next thing you know there is a host of drakes all around.   Like star cruisers coming out of hyperspace they materialize. It’s as though they have been watching from the bushes at a distance waiting for the right moment to strike and it would probably be eerie if they were coming to bite us. But alas they are coming to feed the trout we so admire.

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


buggy bliss



via Allen Brothers

Summertime Brownies – Are we there yet?

Seems as though the Spring would never end. But here we are. Warmer temps have been regular and trout are getting into their summer routine. Still chasing fry but also shifting to a bug diet trout are again acting “normal”. Dry-fly opportunities have become normal again and fish size has been very good thus far. Looks like we are in for a great summer of trout fishing!

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


Jay w/ a fry chasing maniac


just cool!


“you seen any bugs?”


via Allen Brothers

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nymphing for trout????

Three days of cats-n-dogs rainy weather couldn’t stop this crew. Mel, David, and Joe stuck it out and were rewarded with some nice fish. A combination of stripping streamers and nymphing produced trout as well as a few surprise steelhead. Water levels spiking added another interesting dimension to the days on the water. Hats off to you guys and well done.

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide


Surprise! they aren’t all gone yet


Mel w/ a beautiful river rainbow!


David w/ a great brown that crushed a fry pattern


soggy but spirits high


via Allen Brothers

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Uncle Bruce is “back on!”

Fishing is just plain fun! This afternoon John brought out his uncle Bruce to hit the river and see what we could hook into. Maybe trout, maybe steelhead, it didn’t matter on a day as beautiful as it was. Bruce got us talking about the Michigan colors of  Spring as we motored down the river. There had to be 40 colors of green  as the forest was starting to breathe deeply, life exploding. We fished for steelhead and after hooking several, Bruce managed to land his first steelhead ever! Halfway through the fight the fish shot back at the boat and the line went slack, there was a silent moment in the boat,but then…”back on!, back on!” Bruce shouted and the fight ensued. The whole thing was so amazing it sent me to my chair doubled-over in laughter. We all got back our composure and Bruce put it in the net.  Shortly after, John finished the day nicely with a fantastic brown. We motored back to the landing satisfied and grateful.


Uncle Bruce giving a “thumbs up”, he thought it was kinda fun!!


kinda fun too!!!

Jay Allen, Riverquest guide

via Allen Brothers