Post from the Past- Mousing for Steelhead

April 1st, 2016

As many of you know, steelhead fishing has been very good this season.  Last week, Bill from Chicago booked me for two days.  The first day we did well on the traditional steelhead routine, netting several nice fish.  Toward the end of the day Bill says, “Had a great day, but what about tomorrow, can we do something different?”

I tell him that we can try for drop backs and trout in the holes, maybe throw some streamers, we could head to the lower river or we could even try another river.

He asks me, “What about dry flies?”


“Can you catch steelhead on the surface?”

I say, “Very rarely and not here,” but I do tell him that a few are caught in the summer and even mention Matt’s fish from last summer.

Bill asks if I’ve ever tried these fish (spring spawners) on the surface. And again I say, “No,” and add, “Bill, these fish often spook when they see an indicator.”

He follows up with, ”Well if you were going to try, what would you use?”

“Bill, it just won’t happen but to answer your question, it would be low light and I’d probably swing a big mouse, but again, surface fishing would be a waste of time.”

Then Bill asks the final question, “Can we try a mouse in the morning?” and I can only say “Yep”.

This post is from April 1st, 2012 and you can view the entire post by clicking here.


Planning a Fishing Trip to Beaver Island

March 24th, 2016

Several times a week I reply to folks interested in visiting Beaver Island for the first time. Beaver Island is the perfect place to bring your family for fishing, relaxing and a little fun on the beach. Though it also works for a buddy trip, fishing all day and then having a few beers with dinner at one of the island’s pubs.

When To Visit?
We are on the island from late May through early August each year and you should feel confident booking throughout that time. Earliest in the season has the biggest fish (pre spawn) and hottest fishing when the weather is cooperative. Though with the water in Lake Michigan still cold your rarely without a jacket and waders until July and when the weather turns gray and cold so does the fishing.

As the season progresses, the fishing becomes more dependable and so does the weather. Though with Lake Michigan warming and the spawn a thing of the past the fish have less reason to come shallow, so there are simply less fish on any given day when compared to earlier in the season.

Another point to mention would be that earlier in the season we are more often wade fishing to very shallow fish, then as the season progresses we are spending more and more time targeting deeper tailing fish from the boat.

How To Get To The Island?
Most people will want to get themselves to Charlevoix Michigan, about an hour north of Traverse City. From Charlevoix you will take one of the Beaver Island Boat Company ferries. The ferry cost is $65 per person and takes about 5 hours round trip. You can also fly with either Island Airways or Fresh Air both services have several daily flights to and from Charlevoix and Beaver. The flight cost is a little more than $100 per person and takes about an hour round trip.

If your flying to Michigan there are a couple choices. You can get a rental and make the drive to Charlevoix and then take one of the above mentioned options. You can also fly into Traverse City and have either Island Air or Fresh Air pick you up in Traverse. This option is very convenient and affordable if you have several people in your group. You can also charter them to and from other airports but the price goes up the further you get from Beaver Island. Give the air services a call for current pricing.

Oma’s Taxi also shuttles people to and from Traverse and Charlevoix, last I checked it was $89 one way, a very economical option.

Where to Stay?
There is just about every type of lodging option on Beaver Island, ranging from reasonably priced hotels to plush beach house rentals.

Hotels Listed Somewhat in Order of Price:
Beaver Island Lodge – Beautiful view overlooking the north end and outer islands with fine dining on site.
Oak Woods Lodge – Within walking distance to town, Teresa is the best hostess I’ve ever seen and runs a very clean place.
Harbor View Motel – Nice clean place overlooking town and the harbor.
Erin Motel – Right on the harbor and downtown!
The Brother’s Place – Dormitory style lodging but very affordable and close to town.

Bed & Breakfasts:
North Island Outfitters (Shanoule Lodge) – A beautiful 5 bedroom log home.
Lazy K Farms – Is located on a horse farm just a couple of miles from town.

House and Cabin Rentals:
McDonough Rentals – Several house, cabin and apartment options to choose from. Tammy does a great job with the rentals and we have a lot of people stay in them.
Isle Haven Resort – Neat place located on the harbor just outside town.
Visit the Beaver Island Chamber of Commerce site for many more house and cabin options.

Car Rentals:
Beaver Island Marine
Gordon’s Car Rental

Other Services:
Happy Paddle – Bike, kayak and paddle board rentals.

Camping: There are two campgrounds on the island, click here for more details.

Food and Dining: There are several options for dining on the island ranging from everything between fine to ice cream shop burgers and pizza and your in luck because they all have good food and service. There is also a very nice grocery on the island with everything you need to cook whatever you’d like.

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Pere Marquette River Fishing Report- March 17th

March 17th, 2016

The PM has been fishing well the past week. Warm weather and recent rains brought a big bunch of fresh steelhead up from Lake Michigan. These new steelhead were dearly needed as our winter fish had  spawned early and headed down, I’m sure the pre and post spawn fish high-fived as they passed or maybe a low-one is what fish do.

It raided all day yesterday and the river is on the rise but it doesn’t look like it’s going to get out of control and should make for some good fishing for the weekend.

I can guarantee that I’ll be fishing 12 pound and big bright stuff until at least next week.

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Field & Stream Trout Guide Survey

February 25th, 2016

Field & Stream recently posted a trout guide survey asking opinions on trout gear and techniques. It said the survey was given to the top guides from across the country, so I don’t know how I slipped in there.

Click here to bounce over to the article.

Big brown trout from the Pere Marquette River.