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> > Most Incredible Thing Seen While Fishing?

OldredbarnNovember 18th, 2009, 2:51 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
We had some fun with the "Floating Your Hat" thread so I decided to start another.

We all have spent some time either in the stream or wandering around in the woods. What are some of the more interesting, or strange things you have seen? I don't want to limit the direction here of where we can go so I'll just leave the driving to the rest of you.

Depending on where you go with this I'll jump in from time-to-time with some of the things I've observed over 40+ years of tramping around in field and streams...

Spence

I'm tempted to start, but you know I'll just run on and on and I'm trying to resist it...
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
SlateDrake9November 18th, 2009, 3:45 pm
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
About 5 or 6 years ago while fishing Pine Creek I had a really strange experience. It was green drake time and I had been fishing a "favorite" hole for a few hours over risers (not to green drakes though) and a red pickup truck pulls down the drive next to the stream. He jumps out and asks if it was private property. I responded that it wasn't public property, but the owner allows fishing. He said great and went back to his truck. I assumed he was getting his fishing equipment. Next thing I know a NAKED man walks into the stream about 25 feet upstream from me. I exclaimed, "What the F***" and he waved a bar of soap at me and started to wash.

I left.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
MartinlfNovember 18th, 2009, 5:02 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3017
If only women were so uninhibited. But, even if they were, I'd venture to say that downstream would be better.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
DryflyNovember 18th, 2009, 5:11 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
One time an Osprey flew over me at treetop height with a trout in its talons. Almost stepped on a fawn another time, exploded out of the weeds at my feet.Rescued a bat that took some guys fly and was hanging down from a branch. Unhooked it. Witnessed the Driftless Area Moose, Cattle that eat the aquatic vegeation.
Jmd123November 18th, 2009, 5:42 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2470
Once while steelhead fishing in the Rifle River I saw a mink pop out of the water right in front of me and run off up the bank...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
DryflyNovember 18th, 2009, 6:17 pm
rochester mn

Posts: 133
Oops I knew I was forgeting something, I too had a mink come within feet of me. He may have ran over my foot had I not flinched. They must have bad eyesight.
WiflyfisherNovember 18th, 2009, 6:21 pm
Wisconsin

Posts: 618
Next thing I know a NAKED man walks into the stream about 25 feet upstream from me. I exclaimed, "What the F***" and he waved a bar of soap at me and started to wash.


I heard that is an old trick of "Falsifly" to get his favorite fishing holes all to himself. Just watch out if you ever go fly fishing on the streams in NW Wisconsin! :-)
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
Aaron7_8November 18th, 2009, 6:24 pm
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
As a child I caught a twelve inch brookie with a six inch partialy decomposed brookie in it's mouth.
WiflyfisherNovember 18th, 2009, 6:35 pm
Wisconsin

Posts: 618
I think mink are curious critters...



On another occasion I observed a mink drag a nice trout out of a river and disappear under some alders with his prize catch. I got skunked in that pool.
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
OldredbarnNovember 18th, 2009, 6:52 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
B.J.

You jumped right in here with a pretty wierd one! I'm not sure what I would have done seeing a naked man heading down to the stream!

Lou...From what I've heard, some of the damsels who ply our rivers in canoes aren't quite as sweet and innocent as you may think.

On the South Branch of the Au Sable, in the middle of the Mason Tract, there is a fisherman's chapel. It's a little a-frame building that was placed in the woods as part of George Mason's donation to the state of the property. It sits up a hill from the stream and there is a small dock. Unfortunately, it's become pretty much a urinal for the beer guzzling canoe croud. It's been defaced and carved on since it went up.

A friend of mine who guides on the river said he and a client were quietly floating downstream in an Au Sable river boat. As they came around the bend a couple was flat out on the dock making like minks.

I was relating the story to other fishermen at the Lodge and one guy said I can one better that one. He was at an access site doing some research, with his young sons. They had hiked up a trail to scope out some new fishing spots. As they were coming down the trail, back to the parking area, another couple from the canoe crowd had decided to do as the aforementioned pair on the picnic table...The poor angler had to make a quick about-face to avoid letting his sons get an eye full.

In a less x-rated vein...I had been sitting on a sweeper just before sundown. Another angler had worked his way upstream to me. He asked if he could move upstream past me and I said sure. We chatted a bit about how slow things had been so far. He moved up to just around a bend and sat on an exposed boulder. I could just barely see him there, but he was too far up to where we could speak.

Some time had slipped by and it was just before dark. I had lit my pipe and stood up to streach. I happened to look up and a fog had settled in, but just in the little section of river in front of me and down just a little bit. I took a couple steps forward and was stunned to realize it wasn't a fog but sulpher spinners so thick it was almost surreal.

I looked upstream to see if I could let this other guy know what was, I thought, going to happen, and he had moved out-of-sight. I stood there watching and it appeared that they were not going to come down. After they disappeared and it became dark out I decided to move downstream in hopes that there might be some fish feeding there. I walked a long way down to the access site and only pounded up a couple trout...

When I got back up to the car I sat down to eat a sandwich and drink a beer when the other guy walked up. I told him what I saw and that these bugs were so thick I thought it was a fog. He gave me somewhat of a doubting look, said he never saw a bug, and got in his car and drove off.

It was probably the largest, most compact spinner flight I have ever seen.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MartinlfNovember 18th, 2009, 9:09 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3017
Spence I need to fish up your way some. The post about the bat reminded me of a titmouse I saw tangled in fishing line at the edge of a stream. It was just about to flutter itself into the water and drown when I got there. The line was wrapped around the wing, so I had to extricate the bird carefully to avoid damaging feathers. It started to scream and bite the pi$$ out of me as I worked to remove the line. Those little devils open sunflower seeds with their beaks, and I now know how the kernels must feel. We were both relieved when the mono was free and we could be quit of each other.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
OldredbarnNovember 19th, 2009, 6:28 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Lou,

You are my hero! Freeing an entangled Titmouse...

One of my hobbies related to my time in the woods is birding. Just like some of us anglers have become amateur entomologists, alot of us are also amateur ornithologists. Being on the river is a great place to spot birds.

Quite a few years back I was fishing on a river called the Clam east of Cadillac Michigan. It was close to my grandparents old farm and at one time had a "Flies Only" stretch.

It's a small shallow stream and I was working my way downstream. It was very quiet and peaceful and I was kind of in a zone...All of a sudden all hell broke loose.

I hadn't seen her at all and nearly jumped out of my waders when I heard squalks and screams right next to me. I could of reached out and practically touched them with the end of my rod tip.

A mother Merganser was tearing in to a mink. All the baby Mergansers had pushed themselves in to a tight ball and were paddling like hell upstream. The mink was holding his ground on a log on the side of the river and the mother was right in his face.

After she had given the mink a piece of her mind and nipped him good a couple times she flew upstream to the chicks. The mink looked over in my direction and I imagined him saying to me. "Oh well. Shit happens! I'll just pick off one of those chicks a little later this evening."

It was a Nat-Geo moment on the stream.

To follow up on one of the earlier entries...I have seen bluegill with Heron slices on their tops just above the dorsal fin. I mean it looked like a deep wound razor cut and it was still eating. I caught it on a small caddis pattern.

I have a damselfly nymph pattern I use on smallies on the Huron river. I stole part of it from one friend's pattern that I liked and took the other part from a tier I knew at the Michigan Fly Fishing Club.

I went down to the river west of Ann Arbor one day with my new concoction and off I went. Now most of us are as honest as we can be when we have to be, but...My pattern rocks! Well maybe the bass were just actively feeding that day...I don't know, but I could do no wrong.

I caught bass after bass and started talking to myself...My bad self...About just how awesome my "new" fly was. I was moving along getting sillier and sillier by the moment when I caught a small bass that was shy one eye..."My fly is sooo good it catches bass with only one eye!"

A little later I got a nice tug on the line and it was a fair sized bass for the middle of the day. As I was removing the hook something didn't seem right...I looked at the fish and pried open it's mouth to see a whole crayfish stuck in its gullet! It was hilarious! I really couldn't tell if it was still alive, but it kind of had that comical look like, "Ummm...Could you help me out mister? I'm in a bit of a jam here."

I let the bass go with his dinner intact...I said to myself as I moved on..."Damn! My fly is so good it catches bass that are stuffed to the gills! They just can't resist it, man!"

Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny as hell at the time! Bass are awesome predators!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
RedQuill27November 22nd, 2009, 6:18 am
Wisconsin

Posts: 13
Two snapping turtles mating!!!!!!!

Fishing is like sex, when its good its great, and when its bad its still pretty good.
Jmd123November 22nd, 2009, 11:40 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2470
That's a tough one to beat, RQ. I have seen a mother snapper laying her eggs, along with a wood turtle, on the banks of the AuSable here in MI. I also had a good-sized snapper run into my leg while night fishing on the San Marcos River in TX. I was not worried as I know they are not aggressive while in the water - they just swim away when threatened, as this one did though I certainly didn't make any threats - but most folks would have probably left something nasty in their waders (or floating downstream - I was WET wading)!

Jonathon

P.S. One more turtle story: One day I had not one but TWO species of turtles - one painted and one Blanding's - swim up and poke at my creel, which at the time held a 12" brown, while wading on the Maple River (Emmet Co.) some years ago. One would have been interesting enough!! Both times I just felt the creel move in a funny way, then noticed a turtle swimming away from me downstream...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnNovember 23rd, 2009, 8:53 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Bill & Jon,

I may have posted it elsewhere, but one year I was renting a cabin up in Lovells Michigan. I had my nephew with me and it was his first time out fly fishing. We spent a week up there and the cabin was right on the North Branch of the Au Sable.

We were driving up the driveway after dark and there was a large snapper laying her eggs right in the middle of the drive. It was a gravel over sand drive and she must of thought it was just right. I pulled out a Maglite and we walked up behind her and shown the light in the hole and watched as she laid her eggs.

It was a pretty cool thing for my nephew to see. He was living in Melvindale at the time which is pretty much in the shadow of the old Ford Rouge factory...He had never been in the woods before that week. He also watched as a dragonfly crawled out on a log and proceeded to emerge in front of our eyes.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123November 23rd, 2009, 5:03 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2470
I personally think snapping turtles are pretty cool. I did see one moving along the bottom of the Huron last year while fishing/wading. It just hunkered down and tried to pretend it was a rock. When I was a kid about 9 years old I saw something really funny in a lake I was fishing. Something odd was sitting underneath a log or pipe in the water, and part of it was sticking up toward the surface of the water. Not knowing what it was, I stuck my Zebco rod tip under water and poked at it, whereupon it turned around and swam away into deep water. It was a good-sized snapper, and I was surprised after hearing from everybody how supposedly mean they were that it didn't take my rod tip off with one quick bite! Turns out they are nasty only when out of the water and only because they don't have a big enough shell to retreat into (like a painted or box turtle) for protection. So, the best defense is a strong offense, but underwater they will just swim away from you.

Jonathon

P.S. Anyone ever hooked one on a fly rod? I hooked them on bait when I was a kid, and it was always a shock to see this scary-looking monster come up on the end of your line!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnNovember 24th, 2009, 6:34 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Jon,

Another snapper tale...I was driving around the back roads around the South Branch of the Au Sable. I was on a two-track near Thayer Creek. I saw a box turtle cross the road ahead of me and I pulled the car over. The creek at this point narrows down from a large pond/swampy area and goes through a culvert under the road.

I was 10 again. I ran over to the edge where I last saw the turtle and got down on my hands and knees. I snuck up to the edge to peer over and expected to see the box turtle. He was no where to be seen. He had probably slipped off in to the brush.

I looked down at where the creek entered the culvert. The water here was no more that six inches deep or so. Sitting right in the culvert facing upstream was a large snapper. Anything that was swept in to the culvert was his for the taking. Pretty smart!

I wanted to sit there and watch him hunt a bit but he noticed me watching him and crept a little deeper back up in to the pipe out of sight.

Maybe the act of predation accounts for the development of the large cunning brain of man. Basically he's a trickster that somewhere down deep isn't to be trusted...Or you will "metaphorically speaking" end up as dinner...Think of Bernie Madoff...Maybe the praise of capitalism by some is just a cover so some men can continue to prey on the rest of us shills...They are the snappers among us lurking in the culvert...How's that for early in the morning, eh!? Maybe this dripped out somehow because it's the anniversary of Mr. Darwins book...I guess it's more a Herbert Spencer perversion of Mr. Darwins work...Anyway! Beware of snappers!

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
FalsiflyNovember 24th, 2009, 10:09 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 658
Maybe the praise of capitalism by some is just a cover so some men can continue to prey on the rest of us shills...They are the snappers among us lurking in the culvert


Emphasis added. Well stated Spence, and I applaud you for the use of by some as Im sure that many would have left those two words out. However it is they that are the shills, not those who have been duped. I would not shed a tear for anyone losing a finger in the mouth of a snapper, nor do I feel responsible for correcting the wrong. As you said, Beware of snappers!

I stood in awe watching one of Mother Natures fights to the finish; an aerial display that captured my full attention for several minutes. It all started with the in incessant squawking of a king fisher. As I turned to focus on the distraction I saw that it was under attack from above. Its attacker was a hawk who was gaining the upper hand. Over and over again it played out the same. The hawk would dive from above forcing the king fisher down, close to the waters surface. Just as the hawk would extend its legs for the grab, the king fisher would dive straight down into the water. The hawk would then swoop gaining altitude to maintain its advantage, and the king fisher was forced to take flight or drown. Each time the king fisher was forced lower and lower, and its departure from the water became slower and slower. To me it looked as if the king fisher was doomed, but then something strange took place. Just as it appeared that the end was close at hand, the hawk quit the offensive. The king fisher disappeared from sight, on wing, squawking the whole way. Then it occurred to me that maybe this was a display of the hawk defending its territory.
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
Jmd123November 24th, 2009, 12:38 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2470
OK, now for some bird stories...I was not actually fishing during the following incident, but as I was floating down the AuSable interviewing other fisherman for work, I think it's close enough:

Two of us were floating down the mainstem of the AuSable in a canoe interviewing fisherman for a DNR creel census. We were just rounding a bend in the river when we heard a blue heron squawking at the top of its lungs. BRAAACK BRAACK BRAACK BRAAACK BRAAACK!!!!!! Just as we were wondering what it was making all of the fuss about, we saw a bald eagle swooping away downstream with a fish in its talons. Two possible explanations:

1) The bald eagle was hunting in the heron's territory and it was objecting to the intrusion; or

2) The bald eagle had just stolen a fish from the heron! (Given their propensity to steal fish from osprey, I wouldn't be surprised...)

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnNovember 24th, 2009, 1:02 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Allan,

That would have been something to see!

One early morning, a friend of mine and I had just put our waders on and were heading to the river. We were in a park west of Ann Arbor and were going to chase smallies in the Huron river. We heard a commotion and were pretty startled since we thought we were alone. We turned around to see a hawk with a good sized squirrel in its talons and was maybe 3-4 feet above the ground. Somehow the squirrel fell free and ran off in to the brush, no doubt, with a screaming heart rate...Sometimes a little luck can go a long way, eh!

I think it was the American Philosophical Society in Philly, way back in the "Founding Father's" day, that one of their first papers was on the mayfly. The guy writing about the mayfly commented on the "ephemeral" life span of the ephemeroptera. I think I read somewhere where he made a comment that the story of this bug, in the hands of a philosopher or poet, could be turned in to a morbid story indeed. What is the meaning of it's poor life?

I have posted earlier a story where I was watching, pretty close up, a Iso male flying up and down an arms length from me. I was just about to reach out my hand to grab it and a Cedar Waxwing swooped down and snagged it out of mid-air. I thought to myself, "Poor fellow! He has run all the gauntlets and was just about to "get lucky", and pow...He was gone.

My fishing buddy and I have sat on many a bank trying to figure out how and the hell enough bugs survive to replenish the species. We all know of all the predators it has to somehow get by, but what of the artificial lights from the local town or cabins? Justin Leonard (Mayflies of Michigan Trout Streams) wrote of seeing mating swarms of mayflies depositing their eggs on blacktops during rainy evenings.

It's incredible! I have been at the gas pumps in Grayling the morning after a Brown Drake hatch and they are so thick on everything it's hard to believe...Cars pulling in running over them and the attendant sweeping them up. On the upper eastside of Detroit we get a cousin to the Hex that comes ashore and is under every light...Cars have slid through intersections on them...Yet after all the lost ones they show up again next year in large numbers.

I taped, the other night, on NatGeo the program about America before Columbus. I haven't had a chance to view it yet, but wouldn't it have been wonderful to have found yourself on the banks of the Madison, a flyrod in hand, sometime before John Colter had seen it?

Oh well! Enough daydreaming here...I better get back to work!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
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