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> > Winter Steelheading Round 3... FIGHT!

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Pryal74February 28th, 2011, 11:25 pm
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
A fantastic day to be outdoors, if you live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Fly fishing today was something most fishermen dream about! I only had 3 hours of fishing today but it was worth every minute. I literally almost spent as much time fighting fish as I did fishing! I went 5 for 6 catching 3 Steelhead and 2 Lake Run Brown Trout. The Steelhead were 6+, 4 and 2 pounds. The Brown Trout were 4 and 8+ pounds! It took me well over 20 minutes to wrangle the bigger Brown. All 5 fish were fooled by the same large Clown Egg pattern.
-James Pryal
Into The Wild Fly Fishing
WbranchMarch 1st, 2011, 8:20 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2506
Hi James,

You wrote; "Fly fishing today was something most fishermen dream about!"

Yea, when I have nightmares! LOL. Gorgeous fish but not my idea of pleasant, or even tolerable, weather conditions. Great job and a great way to break in the season.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123March 1st, 2011, 11:31 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2384
James, you are HARDCORE, man! (I think I wrote that before...) Beautiful fish and a nice-looking spot to catch them in. Looks like a Sage rig you have there, and I have recently read about the Clown Egg - a combination of colors in one egg. What size hook and what colors? I should throw some of those around in my new "backyard" (see the photos in my recent post).

Thanks for doing our state proud!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123March 1st, 2011, 11:32 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2384
P.S. What were your air and water temperatures, roughly if you know them?

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Pryal74March 1st, 2011, 12:42 pm
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
@ Wbranch, Thanks! But honestly it's not that bad, well maybe I'm used to it because I live up here. The only bad part is getting your hands wet. If you get a pair of breathable waders and winterized gear, it can be quite tolerable. I went 5 days ago and lost 9 fish, I was happy to redeem myself yesterday.

@ JMD123, Thanks Jonathon! and yes I use all Sage rods (I have Sage Flights in 3 wt 5 wt and 7 wt sizes) I use my 7 weight for any bigger species. Some people feel that a 7 wt is not big enough for large salmonids. I think it is enough for me, but I enjoy a good fight.
The Clown Egg has the bead in it, it's a size 8 hook I think. Orange and pink are the colors. I never re-tied all day. I also used a 9 ft leader with two tiny split shots about 8 inches above the fly and an indicator around 5-6 feet above that.
The water temp was warmer than usual but not much, I'm not sure exactly what it is though. I couldn't find a reading online. The air temperature was about 35 degrees. The CFS was 860, which is lower and very easy to wade almost all areas of the river.

I'm actually glad no one was nearby (that I knew of) I was hooting and hollering like a mad man when I hooked some of these fish. I think if you guys were here, you wouldn't have noticed the cold. When I caught the hen Steelhead she ran, (tail walking for 20 yards away from me downstream) and that got my heart racing and kept me pretty warm.
-James Pryal
Into The Wild Fly Fishing
JADMarch 1st, 2011, 12:46 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362
Looks like a great time ,when the fish are on it"s not so cold.


JAD

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cockís wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
Jmd123March 1st, 2011, 1:05 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2384
35 F sounds good - propbably no line or guide iceing. And sunshine sure helps! I did a lot of (unsuccessful) steelhead fishing last winter downstate (don't think there were many if any fish in during that time where I was, they come in about the same time the crowd does and that's when I left). You know, I just bundled up good with layers, and when it was in the mid-thirties and sunny it was quite comfortable. Like you said, James, it's just your hands that get cold if you keep getting them wet.

Thanks for the info on the rig you were using - I'll keep it in mind when I get out. And I also like my rods on the light side, my favorite at the moment is a 7.5' 3-wt with which I caught some mighty nice bass in the 4-5 lb. range last summer, not what you would usually consider proper bass tackle.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Pryal74March 1st, 2011, 3:51 pm
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
I only had to clean the eyes out about 7 or more times. It was a bit windy so, it would still ice up. Personally I would use a 5 to 7 wt for Bass here. A 3 wt would be crazy fun though. A 4 to 5 pound Bass can be a real fight. For a Largemouth that might be fine, I'm not so sure about a 5 pound Smallmouth might be a task. Yeah, my hands weren't moving too good when I got back to the car, but all well worth it for sure.
-James Pryal
Into The Wild Fly Fishing
Aaron7_8March 1st, 2011, 4:55 pm
Helena Montana

Posts: 115
Sweet Jesus those pic's are obscene. You should have black out some of the content to keep the drool factor down. Nice work!
Jmd123March 1st, 2011, 5:44 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2384
James, I DID actually land a 5 lb. smallmouth last year on the 3-weight! I don't know how but I did play it VERY carefully and it took a while...I couldn't believe how big it was when I got it into the net, 19.5 inches! Biggest smallmouth I ever caught on any tackle, and second biggest bass ever on any tackle too (biggest was a 20", 5.5 lb. largemouth in Texas, but the smallie fought twice as hard!). It can be done, but I'm sure if I had hooked it earlier in my life I would have lost it by putting too much pressure on it, not enough patience to wear it out.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Pryal74March 2nd, 2011, 8:47 am
Escanaba, MI

Posts: 168
@ Aaron7_8, thanks! I was pretty shocked when I realized how unbelievable the day was. I would have been completely happy with the first Brown I landed.

@ Jonathon, landing a 5 lb Smallmouth on a 3 wt takes some skill. Congrats! A feisty Smallie of that size on a 7 wt, can be a task. I'm going to hit some more Smallmouth places with my Sage this coming season.

Also, I am hoping to hit the river again this week on Thursday or Friday.
-James Pryal
Into The Wild Fly Fishing

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