There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Michigan has been hit hard by the Covid 19 virus and my heart goes out to all front line workers and especially doctors and nurses whose lives have been imperiled. I cannot imagine the hospital scenes played out on the media and what it must be like to walk into danger like so many brave people are doing. I am trying to do my part. I acknowledge I could be a carrier even without symptoms, wear a mask in public, and adhere to social distancing. The strict rules in place for Michigan are working.
The lifeline for me not going crazy is trout fishing. So far I have visited a couple flooded rivers without much luck. I like to wade the rivers fishing upstream and flooded rivers pose several problems including personal danger and difficult trout. Trout lay on the bottom, gorge on nightcrawlers, and never see lures swimming by. So yesterday, sun shining and rivers down close to normal, I drove up to the Pine River in Lake County and fished a short stretch that always seems to produce a trout. I started seeing trout right away. Two batted the lure without getting hooked. I switched to a small floating minnow and stopped seeing fish but decided to stay with it knowing it was a matter of time. It’s a lure I have great confidence in, a plain gold Rapala.
When wading for trout I cross the stream back and forth putting myself on the inside of bends and opposite whatever looks like trout cover. I caught the brown trout above by staying to the right side of a natural wing dam formed by down timber and branches. It wasn’t pretty. Branches were sticking up and forward making casting difficult. If you catch a limb you may wreck the hole wading in to retrieve the lure. To add to the drama casting a floating minnow is like throwing a curve ball – the wind can drag the lure out of it’s presumed path. Did I mention it was windy yesterday?
I made several cast in front of the structure inching closer each time to figure out the next best cast. I finally lobbed a cast up along the far bank and let it drift to the very front corner, then reeled like mad. The trout slammed it and was hooked good. Then I had the problem of dragging the trout away from the cover which involved leaning back with the rod and wading backwards. The trout cleared the mess fighting the entire time. I netted him mid-stream and found the closest spot to de-hook and field dress him. It’s about seventeen inches. He’s dinner tonight.
So next up is the annual Trout Opener with Feral and Natch. So far it is looking like dispersed camping may be allowed on May 15. We have our fingers crossed on that. I need to hang with the fishing buddies for a couple days as part two of not going crazy with the epidemic. Social distancing will apply.