Sunday, July 26, 2020

Touring,Flying and Trout fishing in a Pandemic

This could be It , The last great trip , Who knows anymore! I was scheduled for my Montana tour and I was praying I would make this trip. A lot of West Coast and Canadian trips had been cancelled.I actually couldn't believe it when I arrived at O'hare in Chicago. The flight was on time and the line at TSA was non existent.I was on a direct flight to Bozeman and I was lucky to be all alone in Economy Plus.Arriving in Montana the National Guard greeted me with a temperature check and a smile. I picked my car up and was on the way to get my guitar rental and license.Withing an hour I was at my first gig location in Livingston meeting my friend Josh for an evening on the Yellowstone. Then it was west to Ennis and a couple of great days fishing with my friend Jim Walker , a Neuroscience professor from Purdue University.Talk about an inferiority complex!! Before heading to  the world famous Trout Hunter lodge on the Henry's Fork and my friends Jonathon Stiehl , Griz,Joe, Darby,TJ and everyone else I stopped and met my girl fishing friend Tamela for a hike down to a new stretch on the Madison.It was then down 287 to Island Park. This time instead of killing myself trying to get a perfect drift I read a book in the beautiful lodge. It was then on to the beautiful Philip
sburg area and some great nighttime stimulator action.I landed 2 beautiful Brook Trout and 2 beautiful Rainbows.The next day the brewery was fantastic and I spent time with my friend Josh McGowan.Then It was on to Yellowstone Park to Meet my friend Griz and Josh for some cutthroat fishing. After a very beary hike down a canyon I found them.We worked hard and finally a massive Cutthroat took my dropper on 4.5 x and I was fast to the fish of a lifetime.Josh put it in the net and it was a done deal at 22 inches!This turned out to be a fantastic day. I left my friends and headed to the other side of the park. I was on the famous Soda Butte and took 6 cutthroat in 10 casts.Afterwards I spotted a real Grizzly and a Black Bear to wrap up the day. The next day was Red Lodge and a lost rainbow and more great music. After dropping my gear off in Bozeman I headed back to Ennis to meet my friend Jim but the fishing was slow and we settled for a grea

t dinner.The highlight on the way to the Airport was a stop at Schnee's sporting goods for a new pair of Merril's. Tight Lines and Stay safe!!, Keith

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Waiting for Night

It had been almost eight agonizing years of waiting. Being a Michigan trout fisherman and to have never experienced the Hex hatch was becoming my Achilles heel of my trout career. Oh I have tried and tried following various tips from many friends and guides.Its too cold, your too late, last week was happening . But every year I would go and wait at various locations only to be rejected time and time again. Last year I did hear a fish but then a downpour came and It was over. With my touring schedule really being slow due to covid I took a couple of days last week to head up to Northern, Mi.The weather seemed right ,warm and muggy and no moon.I ran into a new fisherman named Neil at the river and he offered me some bugs, bug spray and company. He knew this hatch well and felt it could happen. We walked in a long way and settled on a bend and waited. Neil took a few small fish before dark and the bugs came but few fish. He did have me wade in the dark to a dimple in the water .We think the fish made a move but that was all. The next night I would arrive in the same area early and wait again. I could anticipate a more productive night. After a two hour wait it became pitch black and I started to see the elusive Hexagenia Mayfly . All of a sudden

There were
                      lucky rat!!
hundreds if not thousands of aimlessly flying bugs  over the river. Next I noticed silver flashes in front of me which I assumed were fish.I spent 20 minutes drifting my Hex spinner  downstream and could not get a take.It was then I noticed a soft circle rise upstream about ten feet away close to the bank. I made three casts and on the fourth I felt a pull and connected with a strong fish .The power of this fish was amplified by the surrounding darkness
 It made several strong runs and I was able to put my hands on a beautiful 20 inch plus brown.After a quick photo he swam off. I was in shock but decided to keep fishing. Just that quick the water was still and as if  the bugs or fish never existed. That must be the allure of this famous hatch I will be back!!! Tight Lines, Keith

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Covid Blues and Brown Trout

This has been a very stressful time and it was time to get back to my pre lockdown life. With all my travel plans cancelled and  Baldwin, MI. was the perfect choice. My friend Steve Cornetet sent me a message asking me to come night fishing on Wed May 27th . Steve is one of the  top fishing guides  on the Pere Marquette river along with Steve Fraley , Frank Willets ,Mile's Klusing , Jack Ford  and many others. We met at Baldwin Creek Lodge @ 6pm sharp. His friend Ian came along as well. We had great night, landed a nice Rainbow and Brown but rolled lots on mouse patterns!. Back at the room at 330 Am for a great sleep then a quick hello to Mike Batcke  at Stealthcraft Boats and I was on my way to chase some more fish. Mike has built one of the top drift boat companies in the world right in the little town of Baldwin, MI. I was going to be fishing with my music friends Griff and Brandon later that evening. I stopped by the PM lodge and said hello to the owner Frank Willets. He invited me to stay the night .This has been a really tough time for all the Lodge Owners and Guides in the fly fishing business.A whole steelhead season was lost due to lockdown measures and hopefully everyone will come together and pull through. I was pretty tired from my late night with Steve so just hung around for the day and was treated to an incredible barbecue chicken dinner with Frank and his guests who I knew, Todd Fenton  and his friend  Matt Ruimfeld. It was now time to meet Griff and Brandon for our evening float from Green to Bowman. Preacher Danny was there and said a fish blessing for me!!The water had come up a bit but Griff wasn't worried.We launched in the high water and headed downstream towards Clay Banks. I was throwing a tandem fry pattern on my 6 wt. And connected with my first fish soon .After a crazy battle we slid the 18" Brown into net. It was a solid PM wild fish. The Pere Marquette is the original water of the first brown trout stocking in the US back in 1884 and these fish are from that lineage. We pushed down river past another great Guide named Casey and stopped in a cool back eddy. I had my fry pattern swinging downstream when I had a massive strike .After another great battle Griff netted a 19" inch brown. Soon after Brandon missed a 20 plus fish. We pushed downstream passed Gleason's landing and it became pitch black out.We stopped and had a late night snack that Todd had packed up for us at the Lodge. It was then time to throw a mouse. After a few casts in the blackness I heard a huge crash and I was on to a nice 16' Brown and another great net job. It started to rain and the fishing slowed so we pushed on down to Bowman's and pulled out for the night at 2 Am. Back at the Lodge I found out the guests had done well on the water as well.The next day Brandon, his friend Preacher Danny  and I searched for some Brook Trout but only ended up seeing a huge Eagle and having the truck breakdown. Luckily a cool trout fisherman named Jim stopped and helped us get it started. Well we headed back to Baldwin and I headed home. Tight lines everyone and will see you soon, Keith