Fichigan

Small Stream Trout fishing in Michigan

Archive for the tag “Manistee River”

A Trout Fisherman is Born

Natch has this annoying habit of out-fishing Feral and I… and now he’s dragging his son into the picture! Following story by Natch.

Lucas with Shades

Trout report from up north this past weekend: Lucas (13) and I went up north to get some work done on our cabin but he convinced me to hit a trout stream instead.

Day One, Stretch Number One: First, we hit the Manistee River south of CR612 along Goose Creek State Campground. The plan was I would fish in the stream and he would follow/fish from the bank since he didn’t have waders. We saw a couple of small browns follow our lures but no real action – until some canoers & kayakers came along. I decided to get out of the way and up on the inside bank of the bend and enjoy the show. I could hear them coming for several bends up stream. The middle canoe, with two ladies, decided they couldn’t make the turn and go under a fallen tree that went all the way across the stream. Their choice – let the current ram them up against the tree and tip their canoe. Nice. The good Samaritan that I am, I waited for them to both get wet before I waded over to drag their canoe out of the water, empty it, and help them get back on course.

After this excitement I had Lucas cut through the woods to meet me around a couple of bends. We met up on a long, sandy stretch. He decided he didn’t like me being the only one having fun in the stream so he proceeded to wade into the river with jeans and indoor soccer shoes. After about 15 minutes of that and no fish to show for it, he decided the water was getting rather cold. We agreed that since it was only around 3:00 we should run to Jay’s in Gaylord and see if they had any waders his size. Out of the river, through the woods and to the truck we went. An hour later we were at Jay’s trying on waders. We found some Caddis neoprene stocking foot waders that fit just about right with some room to grow if needed. Now we had to find some boots. I really didn’t want to drop big bucks on wading boots that he might outgrow by next spring so we headed to Walmart for some inexpensive hiking boots.

Day One, Stretch Number Two: There was still plenty of daylight so we headed out to find a stretch to rip off and try out his new waders. We decided to hit Kolka creek in Frederic. It is a bit smaller and shallower water so I figured it was perfect for him to get his wading legs under him and see what he could do. On top of that, I’ve crossed that stream at least a 50 times a year for the past 15 years and kept telling myself I should jump in and give it a whirl. What better time than now? Let’s do it. We pulled way down a two-track to get to the stream and proceeded to put our waders on. Time to get in the water. We noticed a lot of bug activity on top of the water. The stream is shallow but there is some nice cover and rocky bottom. We saw a couple of small trout follow our lures back but I was only able to catch a 10″ brown. We ended up catching up to another fisherman so we decided to head back to the truck and hit a different river since there was still some daylight left.

Day One, Stretch Number Three: We had about an hour or so of daylight left so we hit the Manistee River again – this time closer to our cabin and quite a ways upstream from our first stretch of the day. We hopped in the river and proceeded to cast all of the holes and cover. We had a few come out and give it a thought but they weren’t overly aggressive. We pushed on upstream. Lucas wanted to keep going even though the sun was getting lower and lower. I kept reminding him that we needed to get back to the truck with a little bit of daylight to guide us out. We cast several nice-looking areas but we could only pull out another 10″-12″ brown. Time to head back to the truck and rest up for tomorrow.

 

Day Two, Stretch Number One:  Back to the same stretch we left off the night before. We had better luck today. We were seeing more and Lucas caught his first brown trout – a 13″ beauty. I took the hooks out and handed it to him so I could get a photo of him holding it, but my warning of ‘they are very slippery’ wasn’t convincing enough I guess. No sooner did I grab my phone to take a pic and the brown squirmed his way out of Lucas’ hands and into the stream. Good thing Lucas took a pic of it right after I took the hooks out.

Onward and upward to the next hole. I ended up catching a couple more, a 10″ and a 16-1/2″ brown as we progressed through our 3-1/2 hour stretch. I am still amazed Lucas made it that far because that’s about all I can take for a single stretch. It took us nearly an hour just to get back to the truck (fishing here and there of course).

Summary:  He is hooked.

One week later.. 15-3/4 ” brown trout, way to go Lucas!

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Manistee River Brown Trout

Natch has been joining Feral and me for trout camp going on about fifteen years. He’s had a couple of interesting nicknames including one that had to do with burning wolmanized lumber in camp but that’s another story. Fall trout camp 2011 didn’t fall together but Natch, like the rest of us, made a year-end foray to a local stream late in September. I’ll let him tell it.

  Natch:

Since it sounded like the closer might be rather thin on bodies this year I chose to do some insulation work up north at the cabin. However, I did rip off a 3-hour stretch on the Manistee River near M-72. I had never been down that way and thought I would check the water out. It runs pretty shallow with a few small holes under some brush and logs. It was overcast when I started but became sunny halfway into the stretch. I saw plenty of little ones (10″-12″) that would come out from underneath cover but not aggressive enough to actually hit the lure. After about a half-hour I noticed a college-age guy walking along the bank up top on a trail. He was carrying a clipboard and wanted to know if I would answer a few questions like “what are you fishing for? Keeping or releasing? What bait?” etc. As he walked away I caught a 12 inch Brown and he came back to check it out.

I continued fishing in hopes of seeing some deep water. An hour or so later, I came around a bend with a long straight away and a few cabins.  Jutting about 20 feet out from the other side of the river was a massive log – a good 3 feet in diameter. The water was rushing under it causing a nice wash out. I placed a cast tight up under some brush along the front edge of the log and reeled in my double-hook silver minnow.  About halfway back the lure dropped under the log. Bam! I was hung up with no hopes of getting my favorite lure back. Or so I thought. All of a sudden my line headed upstream. The fish came to rest in the middle of the river. I slowly approached with net in hand. Just as I reached for him, splash! Off he went back toward the log. My heart was pounding as my drag started to slip. I still wasn’t sure if this was my 20+ inch trout or not. After a couple of tense minutes, I landed him. The tape measure read 19″.

It wasn’t the 20″ class trout that continues to elude me but it made my adventure on a new stretch of stream well worth it. I released the trout and continued for a few more bends. Nothing,  so I headed back. When I came to the log I debated on whether to give it another whirl.  I noticed two fly fishermen just around the bend so I gave it a few minutes of casting and headed back to the truck.

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