The Immortal

This tying video was put together for the Revive Fly Fishing online magazine which can be viewed at Revive – The Fly Fishing Journal.  Some killer photography work and top shelf writing.  

You can also check out the Revive Blog at ReviveFlyFishing.com

I was asked to come up with a fly using a Misfit Halo Head (misfitfly.com). I used the large Misfit Halo Head and combined it with a Deceiver type fly. The girth of the head pushes water over the body giving the schlappen and grizzly hackles (and the whole fly) a ton of movement. This is a good size fly that could be used for pike or hunting big trout.

Don’t Forget Little Salmon

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Well we’ve made it through mid February and I’d say everyone can breathe easy because we’re on the downside now.  We’ll still get cold temps and a few storms but it’s supposed to be in the 40′s by the end of the week and it won’t be long before we’re able to get back on the water.  I think this is the first winter in years I haven’t fished in over 2 months due to rivers being completely frozen.  I’ve been tying a lot of streamers in anticipation of pulling bugs and completely over looked a few critical additions to the steelhead boxes.  

Over the next few weeks salmon will start hatching in our rivers from eggs that were deposited last fall.  When these little guys finally show themselves its a buffet for steelhead going into the spawn.  The BBC is always a good choice to have in the box this time of year. 

Big Bug Little Bug

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This winter I’ve tied more bugs than a handful of winters combined.  With rivers frozen and snow falling my boxes are overflowing.  Over the past few years I’ve resorted to pulling mostly giant bugs for trout because it was the trend, “everyone’s doing it”.  During those times when things got slow (which wasn’t unusual) I’d find myself switching to a smaller fly, if you want to call a 4″ bug small.  In doing so I found that it was more productive in a few ways.  Not only did it increase the volume of fish  it seemed it didn’t necessarily weed out big fish either.  I understand the concept that giant fish eating giant things but they also consume normal meals in between gorging themselves.  The jury is still out for me if giant bugs really are the key to unlocking giant fish.  Here’s a few caught on “normal” size bugs.

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Colorado Summer 2012

Couple summers ago we took a trip out west and traveled all over the state of Colorado chasing trout.  I’ve been wanting to throw a few clips together for awhile but haven’t had the time.  Considering the weather is (and has been ) terrible I found a few minutes to capture a few shots from the trip.  Going through these clips when it’s 10 degrees out and snowing has me wanting another trip out there.

Donati Vortex

Before the so called “Polar Vortex” kicked in we had some of the better steelhead fishing I’ve seen. Joe (Donati) was the precursor to the cold months that were unknowingly ahead of us.  He wrecked steelhead in his path with ice in his veins….we witnessed a Donati Vortex. Here’s a few clips from a couple outings before things froze up. Enjoy!

Deep Freeze

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Since the last update we’ve basically gone into a deep freeze.  Combined with the cold temps has come piles of snow, unlike recent winters.  There’s good and bad in this.  Good that it keeps other anglers off the water, bad because it’s been so cold on certain days that these “other anglers” have occasionally been us.  Last year at this time we barely even had snow.  This year we are excited to see it warm up to 25 degrees for the day.  As long as things aren’t froze we’ve still been getting after them with the help of a little bourbon.

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Revived Again

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Revive Fly Fishing has released another version of their magazine, Revive Fly Fishing Journal.  I was proud to be asked to tie another bug for it.  These guys are putting out some killer stuff. Click on the image above to check out the mag. Below that is the video that can be found on page 116-117.

I tied Kevin Feenstra’s Grapefruit Leech. Kevin is a top guide on the Muskegon River and the designer of many swing bugs of the Great Lakes. Visit his site for more information and his bugs.

‘Tis the Season

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Not talking about Christmas but rather steelhead.  The 2013 fall and early winter steelhead run has been impressive to say the least.  Not just impressive in numbers either, the size of the fish this year is absurd.  Perspective needs to be considered because when we hit a 6-8lb fish right now we say “it’s just a small one…”.

This year is good and bad; good because these giant steelhead are awesome, bad because we’re going to start getting used to them.  It’s hard to believe we’re in December with water temps in the mid 30′s and fish are still October hot.  It wasn’t until recently that we’ve seen them start to slow down a bit.  The air temps have been up and down the last few weeks but it doesn’t seem to have affected the bite.  With a major cold snap coming in later this week it will most likely slow these over sized freight trains down a little, which isn’t a necessarily a bad thing.

‘Tis the season!

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Woods and Rivers…Repeat For One Week

beerEvery year I save a week of vacation to use in the Fall.  I don’t think there’s a better place on the planet than Michigan in October.  I can’t imagine with the opportunities here I’d rather be anywhere else during this time of year.  The second week of October generally seems to be when all good things converge in this state; steelhead start entering our rivers, grouse are fattening up in fruit patches and woodcock are passing through.  I took the week off and spent almost all my time in the woods and on rivers.

Over the course of the week I’d run the dogs on birds in the morning until late afternoon and then hit the river for the twilight bite.  Temps were just about perfect hovering in the upper 40′s and low 50′s.  I occasionally caught up with some friends to share some time and beers but enjoyed most of it with just the dogs.

Everyone and everything cooperated; dogs, trout, grouse, weather, beer….all of it.  I’m already looking forward to the 2nd week of October in 2014.

 

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Daily Double

Fall continues to roll strong.  There has been no shortage of activity chasing dogs in pursuit of grouse and searching our rivers for steelhead making their annual and welcomed return home.

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Fall

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There has been alot of good dog work out of both the 6 year old Lucy and surprisingly the 1.5 year old pup Hazel.  Lucy is as reliable as she has ever been.  I think she has hit her prime and I hope she can maintain the level of intensity for the next few years.  Being a pointing lab I’ve given her a little liberty to run and rely on the beeper.  There have been more than a few times in the past that she would “wander” beyond what I consider her boundaries only to flush a bird as I’m yelling.  Knowing she knows, I’ve decided to (finally) trust her 100%  and it’s paid off in a big way.  There have been multiple bird days over her this season.

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Hazel is learning and it’s been a fun season watching her figure it out.  Typically a 1.5 -2 year old dog is a clown and its a matter of having some patience.  Let them work, get as many bird contacts as possible and have fun.  On a recent outing I put the veteran Lucy in a top shelf grouse spot and reserved what I thought would have alot of woodcock for the pup.  Lucy put up 10-12 birds but they were all pretty jumpy in some windy conditions.  I put Hazel down and we pushed some quality cover for about 45 minutes only to have a couple grouse continue to flush way ahead of us and saw only 1 or 2 woodcock.  I finally decided to just sit for a few minutes and relax.  After 5-10 minutes we started back up and about 10 steps from where we stopped Hazel got birdy and up went a grouse.  It couldn’t have been better; she flushed it, she watched it, I dropped it and she located it immediately.  Was her first bird I’ve seen her work completely through and was really happy with her.

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Salmon are finally on their way out and steelhead are making an appearance.  We recently did a cast n blast and perfected a combined “Daily Double”; grouse and steelhead in the same day.  I was able to able to connect on a few birds but couldn’t finish it off with a steelhead.  I stuck a few trout but Rich was able to seal the combined Double with a steelhead.  After a long day of hunting we had a few hours of light left and headed to one of our favorite pieces of water.  We had every hole we wanted and due to the shortage of time we picked only the best spots.  In the 3rd spot and the one we thought would pay off, did.  On the 2nd cast Rich was locked into a solid 8lb hen.  No net in the fall is a bad idea because these fish are hot and wild.  We were finally able to get it into some shallow water and tail it….the Daily Double was complete!

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