Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fishing the Hex Hatch- Spinner Fall

Pre-Hatch Action
We made a 2206 mile "roaming" trip to Michigan and wouldn't you know it, we landed right in the middle of the Hexaginia hatch. With only one day to fish I reached out to Thom, for the name of a good guide. Thom said call The Northern Angler and minutes later I was on the phone with Brian. Brian is the owner of The Northern Angler and when I told him I wanted some time in the front casting brace, he hooked me up with Evan.

Evan Hard at Work

The Launch on the Manistee
A Good Place for the Hatching Hexagenia

Evan was a great guide and easy to talk with. He was confident that the hatch would come. However, we had plenty of time and what better way to pass the time than a couple good hours on the streamer rod. We started out on the big stuff and the fish did not disappoint. The Manistee is an old logging river with many, many bends. After the first thirty minutes the river began looking the same, a long shoal here and a sharp turn there. There were so many blowdowns and old logs, I determined the fish could be anywhere. The fish were anywhere and particularly in the heaviest of downed timber. The streamer hooked up and we deskunked the boat early. The best fishing was yet to come.

A Bit of Streamer Action

Evan Retrieving a Fly Left from the Backcast

The Manistee is a tight river and I stuck the backcast in the trees behind us plenty of times. Evan was a great host and even got out to retrieve the flies when needed, which was often at times during the float. The hatches were on throughout the afternoon and we saw the ever present midges, stoneflies, isonychias and sulphurs. We were still waiting on the big stuff to pop.

This Would Be Useful on Most Rivers

We Set Up Right Here

We went back to a dry as the sun began to fall. We started the float at 5:00 p.m. with the promise of being off the water by midnight. It all sounded good to me and with no worries I was perfectly content. Evan stopped us on a point and we had a bite to eat from a local deli. We watched the rising fish and then the birds came. The birds started showing up in the trees at the edge of the river. We are not talking about a big flock of birds that just happened to show up in the area at the same time, no we are talking about random birds that just began showing up. Evan said "it's going to happen" and shortly after that we started hearing the fish go. The bugs were popping and the fish were going and it was our turn. We pulled out the TFO and put the big dries on the water. After a few attempts to a feeding brown we determined the fish weren't eating duns, they had already been on the emergers, so the only thing left were the big bugs that had come back to the water to lay the eggs and were spent. Evan had the right bug for the job and soon I was fishing spinners. It didn't take long before the fish found the fly and the bite was on. A fish would go, we would wait the appropriate amount of time and toss the spinner into the feeding lane. The fly would drift across the fish and the fish would eat. This would last until just after dark.

It Was Cold Up There

The cold front came down from Canada and the start of Summer was delayed by a week or so. This meant the bugs were delayed for a bit, but more importantly they had arrived just about the time we did. The cold weather made the bugs come off earlier in the evening, which meant we would be back from the river an hour or so earlier. But, until then Evan and I were in the middle of feeding fish. Evan pulled up the anchor and we went on the hunt. We worked our way downstream and fished for feeding fish in the dark. When a fish would go, Evan would point it out, I would cast and the fish did the rest. It was almost easy as long as I had a younger set of eyes to put me on the feeding fish.

One of the Natural Browns

Cigars and Flies All-Around

One of Several

The evening came to an end and we had brought several fish in the net. It was nice to be in the casting brace with someone else doing all the work. Although it felt a little strange it wasn't bad. Evan and I fished pretty well together and I would recommend him to anyone wanting to fish around the Traverse City area. Tomorrow I will be back behind the oars of the drifter and we have more trips booked over the next week. It was nice to take a road trip and locked into a casting brace, but it also feels good to be at home and behind the oars of the drifter.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an awesome trip! Someday I hope to make it somewhere up there to hit that hatch...