February 27th, 2019 - Steelhead Cyclone
Things are really ramping up here in our lovely state of Michigan! Spring is on the horizon, and the sun arcs higher in the sky each day. Very exciting times!
Fish numbers are strong pretty much everywhere right now. Standard flies are doing most of the damage, with eggs and large nymphs still being the best choice. Watch for those tiny little stones to appear on warm days. Lots of sz 18-16s lately, and soon the larger ones will become more active. Drift an orange egg with a small stonefly or similar nymph below it, and you are golden.
The Salmon eggs that were laid in the fall are now hatching, and the fry are scrambling out of the gravel. This is an important food source to consider. They are rich in protein, and can barely swim, making them easy prey. They become especially relevant when steelhead start to create their beds, dislodging caddis, stoneflies, mayfly nymphs, and salmon fry. They are very fun to fish, because you can dead drift them like a nymph, and gently swing them at the end of your cast. Crucial to anyone's Spring Steelhead box.
Don't be afraid to experiment out there either. Yes, there are proven methods that to are successful and reliable, but sometimes throwing the fish a curve ball can save the day, especially heavily pressured fish. Swing little woolly buggers, strip giant streamers, dead drift small weighted sculpins or crayfish, or strip salmon fry along the soft inside bends. Also don't discredit jig style flies. They are easily fished on any method, and don't snag up as bad. There are lots of ways to fish for steelhead. Don't be afraid to experiment.
Matthias jammed this fish on a krystal shrimp. Nothing beats a colored up winter buck!
Harold with a beautiful winter steelhead. Egg flies are crucial! Stunning fish!
Brian caught his second steelhead ever, in his secret spot. Don't ask him where he's fishing! He'll slash your tires!
Andrew had his hands full with this 16lb chromer. Strong work!
Brad was stoked to land his first trout on Saturday. A nice 20 incher will make anyone smile!
Another look at Brads hog.
Also, don't forget that tonight is the Northview High School Fly Squad fundraiser at Rockford Brewing Company. It starts at 7pm, should go until about 9 or so. This event is intended to raise money for the Fly Squad's trip to Montana this Summer. Matt from Adaptive Fly will be tying streamers, and explaining the design principals of his patterns. When tying large streamers, you can't just attach a bunch of flash, feathers, and fur to a hook and expect it to catch fish. Well, you can, but it probably won't cast or swim very nicely. There are lots of design aspects to consider, and Matt has some really killer templates that are incredibly fishy, and flat out gorgeous. It's 20 dollars to get in. You can also donate more money if you'd like. The more money you donate, the more raffle tickets you will receive. Lots of great prizes this year! Should be a great time! More info HERE
The Fly Fishing Film Tour is this Saturday (March 2nd), and our stack of tickets is dwindling FAST. If you've never been to the film tour, do yourself a favor and go. The footage is mind blowing, and the banter from the crowd is fantastic. It's amazing to hear an entire auditorium erupt upon seeing a large fish eat a fly. Bring a friend, and enjoy some of the most impressive cinematic wizardry you will ever witness.
Check out this quick video we did of a simple Steelhead fly. The Stinger Hex Jig. Somehow, this was not accepted by the Fly Fishing Film Tour. Maybe next year!
For anyone interested, we are hosting a quick Steelhead 101 class tomorrow night in the GR shop. It's free, and will cover the fundamentals of steelhead fishing. Starts at 6pm, give us a shout if you plan on attending. It's a free class. We have another one on March 26th.
Stay strong everyone! Winter is almost gone, and soon we will be fishing in more enjoyable conditions. As always, thanks for the support!