Click on the photos of our great trip to zoom in on the shots to read the captions. Had a great trip, although fishing was not as good as previous years. Fished from April 7 to April 14 th. Average steelhead was much smaller than in previous years, and less numbers caught. Most were in the 5 to 7 # class, with a few near 10#. Lower numbers may have been due to very warm water (50 d F) and warm ambient temperatures up to the high 70′s. Unlike any early April trip in the past 10 years of my fishing this river. Water was clear, running about 2200 cfs.
Hooked 32, landed about half, with 10# about the largest landed. Most all fish, at least 75%, were caught on our new Dead Egg White color in single 6 mm size. This was my first trials in Michigan using this new color. After this trip, we will test again on trout in our Rocky Mountain states. Based on these excellent results in Michigan, we predict this color will be a “go to” color in your fly box! Second best color was the new Salmon Egg also in 6 mm size. Caught several on our Tangerine and Tangerine/Red Flash colors, and one on a hex nymph.
Fishing two days with a great guide, Nate Hulst. He put me on fish on the river on each of two days, with 11 and 10 hookups on each of those days. Nate’s number is (231)-598-2443; Call him for a great guide who knows the river and how to get on steelhead. Caught some fish wading around Pine Street access ramp, but wading this river versus fishing from an 18 ft. boat with 80 jet motor is no comparison. No question that access to the river via a power boat is the best way to go! We also had 3 days of either a few to no fish all day while wading after the temperatures rose into the high 70′s. Even” The Otter” was skunked for several days!
Included in the photos is our new pattern called Otter’s “Soft Milking Embryo Egg“. This new pattern is still in its prototype and testing stage, but preliminary results indicate another winner! Note our photo of 3 artificial eggs against fresh steelhead eggs. Almost a perfect match-it can’t get better than this! We intend to copy write and patent this new method to create this pattern, and when complete we will post it on our web so our clients can produce an even more realistic egg pattern!
Measured quite a few hens’ egg size, and they were all slightly smaller than 6 mm; most in the 5.5 mm range. Hence, our single 6 mm egg did the trick. The smaller size of these eggs may be due to the fact that most fish are much smaller this year compared to my last few trips to the Muskegon. Also, we noted the varying color of natural eggs on all the hens we caught. They ranged from almost Buff, to Tangerine, to Salmon Egg, and Apricot. This is another example of why you need to carry varying colors in your fly box to match these different egg colors prevalent in one or many fish from the same river. Nothing is constant on egg colors from Steelhead, Trout, or the Salmon species. They all vary, and don’t forget when an egg is not fertilized, it will turn white over several hours. Hence, our new Dead Egg White color to duplicate this deadly pattern. Trout, Salmon and Steelhead all key in on this color of egg, which may be due to the fact that a dead egg can fungous other eggs ( proven in fish hatcheries). Perhaps a hen knows this by instinct and therefore keys in on eating these dead eggs to prevent spoiling other eggs on her redd??? Think about it!
Our next trials on the Dead Egg White color will be on Greys Reef on the North Platte in Wyoming in the next several weeks. We will also post pictures and results of that trip, to be closely followed by lake fishing results here in Colorado on 11 Mile and Spinney reservoirs as soon as the ice is off those bodies of water. That is expected to occur in about 2 more weeks if the weather continues to warm up.
Tight Lines and All Releases,