Archive for April, 2011

Spring Steelhead Trips-Idaho & Michigan (March 28-April 10th, 2011)

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

After the Northern Idaho Fly Fishing Expo in Lewiston, ID, I took 2 days and fished locally on the Clearwater River. About the NIFFE-had a great time, met lots of new people and Bruce  Young, who headed up all the fly tiers for their first Expo, did a great job. The Banquet on Saturday night was a huge success with lots of donated fly fishing tackle, gear and art being sold by open bidding, netting the Club a few dollars for their expenses and programs for the coming year. Plan on attending next year to see some of the best local fly tying talent from this area!

I had Travis De Boer, of Guerilla Guide Service ( or at 208-924-8685 or show me a few choice spots on the South Fork and North Forks of the Clearwater River. On the South Fork, we hit only two fish for the day. There was a lot of traffic, and in the one hole we fished we felt most of the steelhead had already moved  farther upstream In any event, we hooked two nice fish, about 12# each, one of which was a wild buck with it’s unclipped adipose fin. Both fish were taken with the 8 mm Kiwi Opaque egg “Pegged” over a small orange glass bead. The next day we both fished the North Fork of the Clearwater River near Orofino, ID and had a blast. Between the two of us we hooked  20 hot ” B” run fish, in the 10 # to 18 # range. All fish were again hooked using Otter’s Soft Eggs in the 8 mm size “Pegged” over a small glass bead. Travis managed to land about 6 fish, and The Otter only two. But, these were very large steelhead in very fast currents and most difficult to land, especially since we had no net and had no area, other than the large rocky talus shoreline to beach a fish.  We found one small 3 foot square ledge area that Travis could get into the water up to his knees to tail fish, and The Otter took the rod each time till Travis had them by the tail. These “B” run fish were some of the most beautiful steelhead I have ever caught other than up in BC in the Skeena River basin. To think these fish had already traversed about 500 stream miles, and up 6 fish ladders over 6 major dams, plus avoiding commeercial nets, seals, and Indian spears and baskets since they entered the Columbia River drainage made each fish special to us. Three times during the day we had doubles hooked up. The Otter was using his center pin reel and float rod with 10# main line and still managed to break off 3 fish even with his Wright & McGill 11 ft. 3 inch float rod. Travis was using his new center pin system  also, since he just started “pin” and try out the system  He did quite well, out hooking the Otter by about 2 to 1!!! On all these large steelhead I used the new Eagle Claw Laser Sharp Octopus hook, style L2BU, in sizes 4 and 6. These hooks held all these large fish, in very high water and heavy currents, without one having even a slight bend. They held like the Rock of Gibraltar!!

After Idaho, The Otter spent a week in fishing the Muskegon and one day on the Manistee River. Fished the Muskegon for about 7 days with poor results overall. The water was at 7500 cfs, and very dirty. We did well on only 2 of 7 days, and both of those were up high above Pine Street boat ramp and then up and below Croton Dam.

Hooked about 7 steelhead, 2 trout and one walleye in one day fishing withlocal Muskegon River fishing guide Nate Hulst (231-598-2443) along with local Charles Chandlerof White Cloud, MI. Just met Charles as he is one of our customers. Charles took  4 fish on spawn, and I took mine on 8 mm eggs, not pegged but just on tied fly hooks. also fished several days with local river resident Jim Stegenga, aka “Chainman“, who still out fishes and spanks me whenever we fish together. One day he had 4 on spawn to my one, and the next day only one fish. Even with Jim, who is an excellent spawn float fisherman, fishing was poor and slim pickings for both of us in this high, dirty water.


On the one day I fished the Manistee, i was guided by Jon Kestner out of Boardman, MI. He took me to one hole early in the morning and we hooked  7 fish in a row, all on “Pegged” Otter Soft Milking eggsin the 8 mm size. The river was normal on levels, and quite clear, totally unlike the Muskegon River  earlier in the week. Jon can be reached at or at 231-369-2997. His e mail is Incidentally, Jon also guides in Alaska from June through September and knows how to peg an egg. He is also quite interested in “Pegging” and using ” Otter’s Soft Embryo Egg system and intends to introduce it to his Alaskan waters this summer for several months of  non stop trials!

Best colors were the new prototype Steely Gold, Kiwi OpaqueApricot OpaqueTango/Silver Flash, and Kiwi/Silver Flash. I managed 11 hookups on steelhead, and 3 on trout, one of which was a nice 20″ resident brown trout. Jon’s boat was great- a full 20 feet in length, and a very wide 96 inches. That really made it quite easy to move around landing fish with my 11 foot 3 inch Wright & McGill float rod and center pin reel! Jon and I were pretty much convinced that the new Pegging system for Otter’s Eggs was the key to our success. No one else on the river that day had as many hook ups as we had, and even for those using real spawn or hardware with spinning rigs.

Tight lines, all releases-The Otter