I just got back from a week's vacation in Michigan, and I managed to do pretty much everything that I wanted to do. My time was consumed with visiting both sets of families, camping, going to weddings, and, yes, a decent amount of fishing. It was a vacation to create memories and bring old ones to mind. Since this is a fishing blog, I will focus on the fishing memories I managed to create.
I hopped off the plane in Detroit at around 12:30 am. 8 hours later I was fishing the Huron River near Ann Arbor with a good friend of mine. We definitely didn't kill it, but we managed a few small ones. Surprisingly, the woolly bugger I started with produced less than the Chernobyl Ant I eventually tied on. I was happy to land a few fish on the Chernobyl Ant as I had tied it specifically in preparation for fishing in Michigan (adding one more pattern to my slowly increasing repertoire). The Huron River is known for its healthy insect populations, and the bass were actually rising fairly regularly. I believe they were going after damselflies, as there were abundant damselflies just above the surface, and the bass were sometimes flying completely out of the water. Next year I will be armed with this.
I certainly criss-crossed the state on this vacation, and on the way from Muskegon to Harrisville my wife graciously allowed me to stop briefly at the White River near Hesperia, MI. One hour of fishing brought me my first couple trout of the year, two small brown trout taken on a Parachute Adams fly.
This was just a primer for the real trout fishing I managed to do the next two days while camping in the northeastern part of the mitten. I sampled a couple truly fantastic small trout streams and was greatly rewarded. The first day I fished a picture perfect brook trout stream. The trout were easy to find - they literally inhabited every single spot you might think would hold a trout. I was using a black, rubber-legged fly in the general shape of a Stimulator, and they hit it on any drift that didn't drag. I had plenty of action and brought several brook trout to hand. After a year without trout fishing, I was in heaven.
The second day was even more spectacular. Amidst some national forest land with no human actvity in sight, I found a beautiful trout stream awaiting. This 15 ft wide stream contained rainbows (plus one lonely brook trout) that struck my flies with reckless abandon. I quickly lost count of how many I brought to hand. The stream was my ideal image of a Michigan trout stream. Small, clear, surrounded by cedar trees, and full of trout. After catching several on my preferred black Stimulator, the stream opened up into a beautiful meadow, and I switched to a grasshopper fly. This was my favorite part of the stream, not to mention the most productive. My favorite memory from the day came upon reaching the head of the meadow. I had decided that this was the last spot I would fish before heading back to camp. My first cast brought a small rainbow shooting out of the water, and the resulting fight brought the "big one" out of hiding, chasing the small one around in the confusion. After releasing the small one and giving the spot a brief rest, I made a few more casts. A cast to the far seam brought the "big one" to the surface and I landed a handsome 9 incher.