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DanoFebruary 17th, 2008, 1:19 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Jonathon,

Great postings!!! Brings back many fond memories of my years fishing in Michigan and I'm glad to hear that not much as changed in regard to our (I still consider myself a Michigander) "gentlemans club" approach to field and stream.

'Bout the closest I (we) ever came to an altercation whilst angling was back in the summer of '83...

This was the very last weekend in August, my buddy and I went up to Manistee to play with the Salmon. Well, we had our flyfishing gear as well as our spinning gear (just in case) and were camped out on "my" entry point to the Little Manistee (1.5 miles above the weir). Naturally, our first stop Friday evening was at the weir itself to see if there were any Kings present in the pool and we did see a few. So we pack our gear to our campsite, set up camp, had dinner, relaxing with a few vodka tonics whilst tying up a few flies.

Saturday morning arrived along with a small front, so there was a heavy cloud cover with the threat of rain and some wind. It came from the West so our spirits weren't dampaned and we commenced to hunt for the mighty Chinook Salmon. We didn't see a single one all morning into the early afternoon and we had fished down to the mouth. Once to the mouth though, there were tons of trollers in the lake (Manistee Lake) fairly close in. The wind had kicked up pretty good, so we made the decision to go back to camp, catch a couple of Browns for dinner and give another shot Sunday. After a nice dinner of fresh trout, wild rice, and brocolii we got to sippin' our vodka tonics setting up our stratagy for Sunday.

Now, Jimbo was kinda going through a "stage" at that time. He sincerely felt that to spin was to sin and that one should only fish to a rising trout with a Savanelli briar (Canadian) stuck out of the corner of his mouth. Fishing from a pier was most certainly the sport left to riff raff. His spinning outfit was a ligtweight outfit from earlier days and he was less than enthusiastic, to be sure, when I layed out our plan of attack. Which was to hit the south pier at Manistee before dawn, right at the bend in the pier. I had stocked up on 3/4oz Little Cleos so we were good to go.

My watch alarm goes off at 0500 and the morning promisses to be bright and clear. I'd never seen Jim move so fast to get ready, though I suspect it was more from "let's just get overwith" more than from excitement. We cooked up a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon, then headed out. Well, we gets to the pier about an hour before the sun comes up but, it's perfectly clear, no wind, and the bend in the pier is vacant. There are only about a dozen or so of the "riff raff" that Jimbo dislikes on the entire pier and I give him some ideas on what color Little Cleo to start with, retrieve rates, and what not. On my fourth cast I get a bump and let him know that I had on a chartruse/silver Little Cleo and I was around 15' down. So while he's changing his lure I get one on my next cast. "Fish on!" goes up the cry, all lines come in, our "neighbors" offer help with the net, which I decline as I bring in a nice 22 pounder. After landing the fish, all lines go back out, and as I'm putting my catch in the cooler the cry, "Fish on!" goes out from Jim's mouth. Remember now, his tackle is somewhat light; 6' rod with 8lb test as I recall. All lines come in, neighbors offer their assistance, blah blah woof woof.

To shorten the story, this went on for just over an hour. The pier is filling up, he's got light line, and we are the only ones catching fish; chit you not. After our 5th King, the natives are beginning to get a tad restless ("J.C.! He's got another one on?!!), even after I've dolled out a couple chartruse/silver Little Cleos to complete strangers. By our 7th King (he landed 3, I landed 4) I suggested that mebbe we should leave, since not a single King was caught by anyone else up to that point and Jim and I had one on with almost every cast. There were a number of pretty disgusted and not too happy campers around us. As we walked off the pier with over 150 pounds of salmon lashed to the handle of my 6' net on our shoulders, I truely felt that an altracation was avoided.

On our way back to camp, we had to stop at the hardware store (Filers, I think) buy another 2 32qt coolers and some ice. We got back to camp around 0930 or so, took us most of the morning to fillet and steak all the fish, another 2-3 hours to break camp and pack out.

Oh, and Jim? Well he became a biiiiig fan of fishing off the piers. Even got himself a "proper" salmon spinning rod and reel once we got back to East Lansing...

Dano


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
DanoFebruary 17th, 2008, 3:50 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
B.J.,

As I think I alluded to in an earlier post herein, I don't really buy into the "local etiquitte" concept. I recall the books I read as a youth (in addition to lessons taught by my elders) in regard to fishing all of them had a page or two on etiquitte. All of which were nearly identical.

I do like your concept of "culture", though. No matter how narrowly or broadly one applies the definition, it will apply. When I lived and fished in Michigan, those rare "rude" encounters were from folks who were from Detroit, New York City, or Philidelphia ("big city culture") or canoeists on the mainstream of the Au Sable ("let's see how much beer we can drink culture").

In the nearly 12 years that I've been out here those types of encounter have been even more rare. That's mostly because I fish in waters where I can go an entire season with seeing only a half dozen folks. But, on the couple of occasions where there were rude encounters, they were from California (the "I don't give a chit about anyone but me" culture).

Whilst I've not done a whole hell've a lot of research on the IDGASAABM culture, I believe it has it's roots in Berkley dating back to around 1965. Unfortuneatly, it's now a dominant culture throughout the Lower 48, at best. Don't get me wrong, not all Californians are bad; I met a fella last September from Fair Oaks streamside and we've struck up a friendship. He and I are nearly the same age (he being a few years older) so he comes from a generation where good manners and common sense were (are) the norm....

Dano



Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
Jmd123February 18th, 2008, 10:17 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
Excellent posts yourself, Dano! Concerning streamside, as well as other, etiquette, I believe a fellow named Jesus Christ had something to say about this about 2,000 years ago: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." And I'm not even a religious man! Doesn't this make sense? Do you want someone to crowd your fishing and cross your line without remorse? No? Then DON'T DO THAT TO ANYONE ELSE!! Hey, it's a great way to live your life, tends to get you friendly responses almost anywhere...Those who are abusive must want to be treated that way in return, too, though you can often irritate with kindness and sarcasm without having to threaten fist fights or firearms discharge.

Dano, Louis, etc. have the best solution - find another place all to yourself. It's not very hard here in MI if you're willing travel a bit and invest in a good map (plus the free Michigan Trout and Salmon handbook which tells you where you can find trout and when you can legally fish for them, etc.). Dano, come visit me anytime! I may have mentioned before that I spent a year living in Coos Bay, doing field biology and fishing small local streams for sea-run cuttroats.

Purists may disdain my next remark, but the 3/4 oz. Little Cleo is DEADLY on salmon here in MI. My luck has been with pearlescent/silver back and the chartruese glo-in-the-dark version. I nailed a 13-pounder off the back porch of the AuSable Inn at 1:30 a.m. on the latter lure. Got to show it off to the entire bar too! That said, I am due for a flyrod capture of one of these beasts...some proper TROUT fishing this year, too!

Tight lines and winter stoneflies,

Jonathon

P.S. Anybody ever do well in MI during the winter stonefly hatch?
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123February 18th, 2008, 10:27 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
By the way, the last time I went salmon fishing here in MI was October of 2006 (missed the run last year - they came early and DIED early). It was an absolutely beautiful night - upper 60s to low 70s - and just about everyone in town was at the Cheboygan Dam. My father and I stood on a boardwalk above the spillway and, with the sun to our backs, we could see 30-40 fish sitting in a school just off to the right of the flow. Well, EVERYONE was catching fish. Two guys off to my right were throwing 5-6" jointed Rapalas, one in blue/silver and the other in "baby trout" colors - and they caught one fish after another after another, leaving when each had caught 3 (the limit for one species). No animosity, rather curiosity ("What the hell are you guys USING???"), and when I hooked an old 15-pound hen (3/4 oz. Cleo in hot orange/silver) everyone got out of the way and another fellow netted it for me, even though the fish ran right in front of a good dozen anglers who had to get out of the way. Then again, like I said, everybody was catching fish.

On the fly, one of these days...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
DanoFebruary 18th, 2008, 1:46 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Johathon,

You're killin' me off, man. I always felt that Michigan was the angling world's best kept seceret and I still miss being there...and now I'm really missing it..

Dunno how far back you go in terms of the Salmon and Steelhead fishery but, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have fished it during the peak. From the late 70s to the mid 80s (or so) there was no better place to be. I recall a DNR report that I read right around '84 that in the previous year, more Salmon were harvested from Muskegon to the Bridge (The Gold Coast) than from the entire Pacific Northwest.

Back then the limit was 5 and the average Chinook was in the 25+lb range, Coho averages were in the high teens as were the Steelhead. When my former Father-In-Law and I would troll for Kings 30 to 35 pounders were not at all uncommon. Personally, my own averages started to decline in the very late 80s and into the 90s and from what I read from your postings that decline has continued. My own best on a fly went 32lbs.

Out here, the Klamath run has virtually collapsed, there were less than 2,000 jacks recorded in last seasons run and if recall the recent news article correctly, less than 100,000 Salmon were recorded. Pretty sad state of affairs all along the West Coast up into Washington....

My "go to" patterns for both Kings and Cohos were Rusty Rats and Silver Rats. Black Bear-Green Butts and Hot Oranges also were effective. I also carried a handfull of Adams Humpies (yellow) tied on #10 Salmon hooks, mainly as a reminder of my origins, hehehe. Belive it or not, I did have success with 'em. For Steelhead; Skunks, Thors, and Black Princes were my best producers (all tied on Salmon hooks). Weigthed Muddler Minnows produced good catches as did #10 Royal Wulffs. But, another thing I learned about Steelhead is that they will hit on anything that a Rainbow will, duh. So nymphing for them is a very good tactic, which is a subltle hint in answer to your stonefly question. Unlike Salmon, protein is a priority during their runs. I used to have great success fishing in Mid Winter catching "hold overs". They're not as pretty as fresh run Steelies, but they sure put up a fight every bit as good.

I'll definietly take you up on your offer. My second favorite fishing haunt was the Pigeon River. PM me and I'll give you some of my spots, I have a few where I hadn't seen another angler in years, no chit. I have a sister in Vanderbilt, so I am aware of how the Pigeon River Forest has grown but.....

I don't recollect mention that you've spent time out here in Oregon and I return the offer. We'll fish for Browns and 'Bows that average in the 5lb class!

Dano


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
MartinlfFebruary 18th, 2008, 3:17 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3056
OK, whose doorstep do I find myself on first, Dano's or Jonathon's? Great thread guys, lots to laugh at and lots to ponder.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
SlateDrake9February 18th, 2008, 6:05 pm
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
Dano,

I agree totally with what you are saying about good etiquette is good etiquette everywhere. My thoughts on the "local" etiquette are probably more defined by how things are done in certain fisheries, specifically, how far from the next guy do you fish (since that seems to be the most irritating thing most of us encounter). A fishery like the Lake Erie tribs during the steelhead season is my best example to use as a comparison to my local areas I fish. In Erie, it is normal and acceptable to stand within an arms length of 10 other guys fishing the more popular holes (pretty much jsut like the first day of trout fishing in most of Pennsylvania). In my neck of the woods on many of the streams fishing within eyesight of someone you are not with is not really okay to most folks who fish there all the time. On the "crowded" streams it is not okay to fish close enough to cast to the same fish as someone else. We have streams where the "etiquette" is that if someone is already parked in certain spots, keep on moving, you are not welcomed there at that time. Go to another corner of the state and the acceptable distance from fisherman to fisherman is different again. I have used what is probably the polar opposites as my examples, but this water to water distance from one another is what I'm calling etiquette. Maybe I shouldn't be using the term etiquette and should just say distance between anglers.

The "culture" comes in for me when a group of folks from Erie show up in Potter County and want to fish close to everyone the way they do back home, definately not okay if there are folks who are not from the Erie fishery next to them.

Just like I would go even more nuts when I go to Erie if I expected to have enough space between me and the next fella that we will not be casting to the same fish.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
DanoFebruary 18th, 2008, 7:32 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
Louis,

At present a 24 hour advance notice is all that is required. As the year grows older, that window gets further out.

As to the stories, I've got more of 'em than Carter has pills......Most of 'em true.

B.J.,

As the sport of fishing has grown, I surmise (through my own experience) that etiquette has evolvled along with that growth. In my youth, when there was very little presure, regardless of tackle, those "rules" applied to all.

As an example, during the height of Salmon/Steelhead runs in Michigan there is a trib of the Grand River, Rogue River, that became a real hot spot. Just north of Grand Rapids is a town called Rockford, which has a small hydroelectric dam. The crowds that gathered there were the largest I'd ever seen; before or since. At that time a rather insane spinning outfit was real popular, the noodle rod. These were 10 to 12 foot spinning rods with an extremely slow action (hence their name) 2lb test line w/split shot was the standard rig, 4lb test with a dropper off a three way swivel with a rubber core weight if you were fishing "heavy". As on might imagine, they wouldn't cast worth chit, so a sweeping lob cast was required to get the glob of roe out into the pool. The acceptable etiquette there was no closer than the required space to make such a cast. This, I'm sure, was a simple "no brainer". "Normal" spin and bait casters would allow closer spacings, and whenever a fly caster showed up, slight rumblings could be detected along with a slight closing of the ranks. In other words, go somewhere else. The noodelers were only one rung up over flycasters in terms of welcome. I only fished there twice...

Pier etiquette is also unique. Practaclly shoulder to shoulder is acceptable, fly rods, noodle rods, and spinning rods with light tackle a no no. This was one of the reasons there were rumblings in the above story. Jim's tackle was too light, one fish took him all the way down to the end of the pier. He got within a turn or two off the end of his line and manged to turn the fish and bring him in, a real nice 27 pounder that was the largest (and last) we caught that day.

I guess, it is a matter of semantics. I would tend to classify the above as differences in fishing cultures but, only because it favors my "argument" hehehehe.

Personally, I practice the rules of etiquette as they were taught to me, regardless of tackle. I certainly can't fathom throwing a fly under the conditions you describe nor would I ever attempt to.

So, I guess I am truely blessed to have lived and fished in Michigan most of my life and having moved out here, I can still enjoy the solitude of doing battle with good sized trout 30 minutes away...

Dano


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
Jmd123February 19th, 2008, 10:00 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2480
The so-called "noodle-rod" was created by putting a spinning reel on a 9-10 ft. fly rod (not sure what weight but 5-7 range makes sense), in essence almost creating a hybrid form of tackle. The major rod companies (G. Loomis comes to mind in particular) picked up on this trend and began making purpose-built "noodle rods" for the spinners. At least that's the story that I've heard.

My own favorite spinning rod is a Browning 4-piece convertable spin-fly (4-5 wt., 9-10 lb. test), and I did nail a very nice (and tasty!) 10" brookie on it in fly mode (for which it works very well), in a beaver pond on Isle Royale with a #10 grasshopper imitation. That rod has seen some adventures...

Salmon fishing at the Cheboygan Dam in northern MI is generally pretty much a gentlemen's game. The acceptable amount of space is definitely NOT shoulder-to-shoulder, more like 2-rods' length from each other for room to cast and fight a fish. Anyone trying to crowd in closer will likely not be tolerated, not least for the fact that some very heavy-duty hardware is being thrown around and you risk getting a ride to the hospital (fortunately, right around the corner). And when someone yells Fish On! you had better get your shit out of the way - cause someone to lose a nice fish and you will be told in no uncertain terms to get lost and fast. (Never seen it happen, but it's pretty much common knowledge you just don't do that!)

It only gets nicer from there on the strout streams...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
DanoFebruary 19th, 2008, 12:24 pm
Vanderbilt, Michigan

Posts: 101
The so-called "noodle-rod" was created by putting a spinning reel on a 9-10 ft. fly rod (not sure what weight but 5-7 range makes sense), in essence almost creating a hybrid form of tackle. The major rod companies (G. Loomis comes to mind in particular) picked up on this trend and began making purpose-built "noodle rods" for the spinners. At least that's the story that I've heard.

Yup, that's a true story...and a closed faced Shakespere spinning reel was the preferred choice.

My "heavy" spinning rod was an 8', 2pc, Wright-McGill Eagle Claw "Steelhead" fast action. Forget the exact model Diawa that I'd hang on it but it was rated for 10-20lb test, and I bought an extra spool for it. For casting I used 12lb test Stren, trolling 17lb Stren. Wish I still had it....

Only fished the Huron side once (Alpena) for Salmon; the Gold Coast was far superior in those days, at least according to the DNR.

The acceptable amount of space is definitely NOT shoulder-to-shoulder, more like 2-rods' length from each other...

True, and that would be my definition of "shoulder to shoulder", my bad for not being more clear...

I really enjoyed fishing from the piers, fished 'em all from Grand Haven to Frankfort. There's a camaraderie that's unigue. The old Perch guys would kinda be in close clusters, sittin' on their 5 gal drywall mud pails that also contained their tackle, lunch, and "refreshment". I'd always try to find a spot near those fellas. They were using bait or jiggin' with Swedish Pimples so they weren't throwin' lines too far out waitn' for the Perch to hit. Once they started seeing some action, I knew the Salmon weren't too far off...I learned a ton from those ol' coots. Best lesson was to keep your eyes peeled for surface activity from Perch, Alewives, and Smelt; if you saw a school swimming accross the surface they were (are) being chased by a Salmon or a big ass lake Brown. Piers are structure and sancturary, so that's where the Perch/Alewives/Smelt would head for...

Dano

BTW: Did you see my reply to you farther up?


Eventually, all things merge into one...and a river runs through it.
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