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Jmd123April 30th, 2012, 12:03 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2589
So for the last two weeks, I have been suffering from back pain, first in my left shoulder, and lately in my lower back, which is just pissing me off at this time of year. So much water about to open, so many flies to tie...At least the outrageously windy weather gave me an excuse not to go out and chase fish, but I need Hennies, Red Quills, Adams, tan & gray Elkhair Caddis...and we won't even get into Woolly Buggers and KBFs.

About 90 percent or so of Michigan's trout waters opened yesterday. I figured, with half-way decent weather and nice low fishable streams, I would avoid "The Opener" (also includes walleye, northern pike, musky, and "catch-and-immediate-release" bass season). Naw, them tourists will be swarming every where I want to go, if not the locals...

Today I said f*ck the back. It was sunny, the wind finally calmed down, I swallowed a handfull of aspirin and even took a hot water bottle for the ride, but damn it, I'm trout fishing today. Gritting my teeth anticipating five pickup trucks, I found the parking area EMPTY! Jumped into the gear, went below [REDACTED] Dam greeted on the trail by several butterflies, got one little rainbow about 6-7" on a Red Quill #12 that leaped 2 feet out of the water twice and looked like a living gemstone.

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon upstream from the old dam. The locals all fish the pool out below the dam with various methods (i.e, worms) and practically none bother to go upstream and chase the trout that live there. Not many, not big, but absolutely beautiful wild fish, no stocking whatsoever. I throw them all back always because of this.

Well, nine more fish greeted me, five more spunky little rainbows (baby steelhead??) and four brookies, one of 10" and two of 9. The fourth could have lived happily in my 55-gallon aquarium! Two brookies took streamers, one a #10 peacock/olive/grizzly Woolly Bugger and the other a #10 copper/brown KBF variant. Multiple hits on both flies before finally hooking the little buggers! Brookies are so aggressive. The biggest is illustrated above.

I could have gone elsewhere in search of larger fish, and probably had to compete for a parking space, if not elbow room on a river. But this spot is only a 20-minute drive from my house, and it's a beautiful little stream, perfect for a 3-weight. Not a bad "Opener" huh?


P.S. Marsh marigolds on the bank
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
YoungfishApril 30th, 2012, 9:02 am
Manistique, MI

Posts: 20
Nice job!!! I got out this weekend as well. Started out targeting brookies, and browns and rainbows but ran into a bunch of steelhead. Did goet a couple 8inch brookies, and a couple 18 inch rainbows in a differnt spot though. I ran mostly streamers but did get the rainbows on the olive bead head caddis.
Kyle McClelland
Manistique, MI
XXL Chrome Chasing-
OldredbarnApril 30th, 2012, 2:26 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Sorry to hear about you back issues! As you know, I've been there and done that and it can be frustrating and limiting...I hope its not lingering.

I drove home yesterday afternoon from the opening weekend hoop-la in Grayling. I fished two days and my better fishing day was actually the day before the opener on Saturday. Friday afternoon. I had, what I take as the tail-end, of the Henny spinners from 2:30-5:00pm. I didn't hook any fish over 14" but I caught enough foot-longs that I lost count...I told one guy after, that I thought I had caught the whole year-class of Brown's where I was fishing...They were all cousins...I caught one Brook that day.

It was a great deal different than last year's opener when we were at flood stage, but I'm really concerned that the water is too low for this time of year this time around...You guys could use some rain up north.

The opener weekend is getting a bit too social for me and I may have to find another place to fish next year so I can actually wet a line on opening day.:) I didn't fish Saturday...The Michigan Fly Fishing Club had its annual Memorial Breakfast in the board room at Gates'...We drink Bloody Marys and Mermosa and eat donuts and toast the new season and remember the ones we lost.

Then we have a party at 1:00pm at Dam Four on the North Branch and our "Cast Off", or as its better known, "The War at Dam Four". It is a battle between the sexes and a male and female angler have battled it out now for a few years and the winner gets to keep an inscribed fly box for the year...The problem is when the box was inscribed they went out in to the future so we have to rig the winner to get it to match the inscription.:) One year the female side actually caught more fish than the male side when it was his turn to win. So that the outcome would match the inscription there was an emergency meeting of the unofficial committee that decides these things and it was determined that even though the female side caught more fish, the male angler that year's casting form was so sweet he got the box...More drinks are consumed here as well...

Side note...There was another committee decision made...probably due to the drinking going on there, that the club would pay for a porta-potty at the site for the female participants and that we would pay to leave it there and have it maintained for the whole fishing season...There is a small plaque inside it that proclaims this. :) We had champagne in fancy champagne glasses and toasted its christening when one of the females in this gang was brave enough to actually use it...She exited it to applause and raised glasses.

Saturday night was the 25th anniversary party of the founding of the Angler's of the Au Sable at the Otsego Club in Gaylord...I had purchased a table and had a great time save the mishap where the waitress didn't see my "Vegetarian/No Shrimp" sign in front of me and I accidentily took a bite of a duck stuffed egg roll, I guess it was...I was about to take another bite when a friend said, "Uh...Spence. I think they made a mistake there buddy!" So I can actually say now that I've tried duck.:)

I had a designated driver who is a good friend of mine who is a biological researcher in Pittsburgh at Pitt and as he was explaining his work to me, pretty heady stuff, I got us lost on the way back to Grayling...I was a fairly shitty navigator for a guy who has hung around up there since the early 70's...Maybe it was because I was a bit shit-faced...:) We ended up over by the Hartwick Pines and even passed up our street once I got us back on course...

I did fish Sunday...On the South Branch...I agree with you that there were a lot of cars at nearly every access point, it was opening day weekend after all, but everyone was well behaved and everyone found a spot or two to fish...

So that's it...Or at least all I'll admit to in terms of opening day 2012...;)

For those that may be interested...There is no longer a dam at Dam Four...Believe it or not, the land up there was once owned by Henry Ford and before we had any regulations he built a dam there which formed a lake behind it...In the winter they would load logs there on the ice and in the spring blow up the dam and the logs would run downstream towards where Jonathon now lives, Oscoda, and to market. Rough on the stream bed and the Grayling that once were famous there.

All I'll say about location on the South...I wasn't too far off from where William Durant's mansion once stood. He was the guy that founded GM the first time around. It burnt to the ground in the 30's. No I didn't burn it down!!! :)


Why was Spence's "banner" fishing day the day before the actual opener??? The state of Michigan has decided to agree with me and my fishing buddy Bill that it isn't "officially" opening day until Spence has his omlette at the Grayling Restaurant...That happened Friday morning so I was cleared to fish...;)

The powers that be at Gates Au Sable lodge...The fly shop anyway...placed a Winston BIIIx 8'6" 4wt in my hands Thursday evening to "test" drive...That was the tool I used on Friday...Yes I hooked beau-coup fish Friday afternoon, but I think I was actually the biggest fish hooked...If you know what I'm saying...:) "Dear...I promise never to ask for another Christmas gift for the rest of my life...Um...If you'll let me take it home..."

"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
Jmd123April 30th, 2012, 3:37 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2589
Sounds like you had fun too, Spence. My back is actually feeling better today! A little fishing therapy, could all be psychological but who cares! Every time I think about yesterday I get a smile on my face. They don't make much prettier spots to fish, and being greeted by butterflies on the trail in didn't hurt either.

Flies that worked yesterday were:

#12 Red Quill - matching the hatch
#10 Royal Wulff - UNmatching the hatch
#10 Killer Bass Fly, copper/brown variant
#10 Woolly Bugger, peacock (body), olive grizzly (tail), and grizzly (hackle - counterwrapped with green wire) - this fly is becoming my secret weapon!

I was there for about five hours and had action the whole time, and didn't see another soul (except for some ORV-ers who came in from the other side to the dam, and they didn't have any fishing tackle and left after about 10 minutes or so).

Spence, next time you want an opener with less competition for space, come up and see me. The guest room is currently taking bookings for the rest of the season...

And remember, Grayling is the town named after the fish it killed!


P.S. Man, I got some serious tying to do!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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