The Pain is Worth It- After day one, with sore shoulders and arm pain lingering from day one, we got a later start on day two because we had decided to fish a different float. This float would mean less angler pressure and the chase for different species. On this day the boat was loaded with some small streamer rods and the 10 wt indie rigs. The small streamer rods would be 6 and 8 weights with floating line. Streamers would be stripped around LOTS of structure on the second day...and we mean lots of structure.
Wood is Good...or something like that- Trees lining the river are nice and all, but those trees eventually fall in the river. This makes fish habitat plentiful on smaller tree lined rivers. We would spend the morning fishing deep runs, but eventually if there is a streamer rod on the boat, I can't help but work the structure and the banks for resting fish. Within the first few casts with the streamer rod the fish began to respond. Although the steelhead wouldn't respond to the streamer the browns had no problem moving several feet for a couple different patterns.
Floating Through Deep Runs- The river had some very deep runs. Some of the runs we 10' wide and well over 10' deep. Dan knew where all the snags were located and did his best to keep us out of the worst snags. Just like my last trip to Michigan downed trees would claim many of our flies.
Fun With Streamers- On the Middle Tennessee tailwaters we fish a lot of sinking lines. On musky waters we fish heavy sinking lines with light 6" - 10" flies. With the number of snags in Michigan rivers we fished floating lines with weight applied until just the right depth was achieved. One other item was added to the streamer as well. With all the salmon in the river fish were tuned into egg patterns. We would run an egg just above the knot for added effect. The first fish of the day was a small brown that tried to intercept the egg before our streamer could get it. It was a lesson we will use in the coming months.
Steel Craziness- It has been said on many occasions that anglers who chase steelhead are a different breed. Anthony was in the front of the boat and fishing a deep indicator rig. The indicator took a bump and he set the hook. The water exploded and boiled. While Anthony was getting the fish on the reel the fish was making its next move. The fight was quick and decisive. The fight was also won, this time, by the fish. When Anthony turned around he had an unfamiliar look in his eye. We would learn a few minutes later that Anthony was well on his way to becoming hooked on steelies.
A Day is Made- The front casting brace is the place to be on these waters. There is an advantage to being the first fly to the fish. After his steelhead experience Anthony ushered me to the front of the boat. We fished several deep runs with indie rigs and ended up fishing a long run just below some deep snags. I had a good float going and took the opportunity to look at everything but the indicator. When I finally decided to look back at the indicator it was gone and Dan was looking at me and apparently wondering if I was going to set the hook. Well, finally I did and fortunately the fish turned to help me get a good hookset. Our initial thoughts were of more steel, but the fish was a runner and jumper. Soon a nice brown would show itself. This brown was a lot of fun and the fight was memorable. After the "hero shot" my day was done. This fish was a good way to end a fantastic trip. So, I buttoned up the indicator rod, stowed both of the rods. Even though there were a couple miles of fishing left, my decision was made and I gave the front of the boat back to Anthony. Sage watched me as if to say "are you done?" It was a good trip and a trip that ended on a good note. I can't wait for the next time we head North!
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