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> > Helping an old and best friend catch his first (5) fish on a fly rod

Jmd123 has attached these 17 pictures. The message is below.
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Chicken of the Woods!!!  YUMMMY!!!!
Chicken of the Woods!!! YUMMMY!!!!
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Joe receiving casting instruction from Todd at the bass pond (Clark's Marsh)
Joe receiving casting instruction from Todd at the bass pond (Clark's Marsh)
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Joe working on it...
Joe working on it...
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Goat's beard (Tragopogon dubius) growing by the pond - open in the morning, close by afternoon...
Goat's beard (Tragopogon dubius) growing by the pond - open in the morning, close by afternoon...
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SUCCESS!!!  Joe's first ever fish on a fly rod, first time he's ever cast a fly!
SUCCESS!!! Joe's first ever fish on a fly rod, first time he's ever cast a fly!
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A nice fat sunfish, possibly a pumpkinseed/green hybrid - notice the smile as well!
A nice fat sunfish, possibly a pumpkinseed/green hybrid - notice the smile as well!
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Yellow lady's slipper orchid on the way to the Rifle River
Yellow lady's slipper orchid on the way to the Rifle River
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Dwarf dogwood on the way to the Rifle River
Dwarf dogwood on the way to the Rifle River
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A species of bolete (Leccinum probably) on the way to the Rifle River...didn't eat this one
A species of bolete (Leccinum probably) on the way to the Rifle River...didn't eat this one
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Todd and Joe at the Rifle - Joe's second time ever on a trout stream (1st time was 4 years ago on the Pine with me)
Todd and Joe at the Rifle - Joe's second time ever on a trout stream (1st time was 4 years ago on the Pine with me)
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Joe and Todd with the river access in the background, LOTS of canoes and kayaks are launched from here...
Joe and Todd with the river access in the background, LOTS of canoes and kayaks are launched from here...
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Cranberry viburnum ("highbush cranberry") blooming along the Rifle River
Cranberry viburnum ("highbush cranberry") blooming along the Rifle River
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This guy is in trouble, destined to be an addict like the rest of us, and he lives on a LAKE!!!
This guy is in trouble, destined to be an addict like the rest of us, and he lives on a LAKE!!!
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Oh yeah, he's in big trouble now...
Oh yeah, he's in big trouble now...
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Me on one of my very most favorite stretches of trout water of my life...
Me on one of my very most favorite stretches of trout water of my life...
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Pink lady's slipper orchid near the Rifle River
Pink lady's slipper orchid near the Rifle River
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A wild edibles dinner!!
A wild edibles dinner!!
Jmd123June 8th, 2015, 8:44 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2473
I had the privilege of hosting a couple of old friends at my house this past weekend, one an experienced fly fisher such as myself and another who had never held a fly rod in his hands. So Todd and I decided our mission was to hook Joe up with SOMETHING on the end of a fly rod, Todd providing the tackle and even waders for Joe. We decided that the best course of action would be to take Joe first to Clark's Marsh for an introduction to the intricacies of fly rodding, in a place where he had both no backcast obstructions to worry about, AND he would almost certainly CATCH FISH and learn how to handle that on the fly rod. Well, the panfish didn't disappoint, we were catching 6-8"+ bluegill and pumpkinseeds for a couple of hours straight and after some basic instruction from Todd Joe managed to land five of them all by himself! And Todd was freaking out at the size and colors of these fish - all due to the fact that because they are contaminated with PFC's (think Teflon and fire-fighting foams - don't really want that in MY body!) everyone is throwing them back, and they're just getting bigger and bigger and bigger..."Holy Waters" for sunfish, catch-and-release only!!

Joe loved it and our next step was to take him to the Sage Lake Road crossing of the Rifle River, where the size limit on browns was low enough that we might just catch enough for a meal...this is after finding a very early clump of Chicken-of-the-Woods or Sulfur shelf mushrooms at Clark's Marsh, so fresh they cut like butter with a knife ("Jon, what's that yellow mushroom thing on that tree there?" "OH MY GOD!!!"). Hatches were scattered and slow, I swear every time I saw a bug it was a different species! Still I managed to squeeze 3 just legal fish out of my stretch, which was just enough for the three of us! Oh, and on the way to the river we stopped for yellow lady's slippers, and saw pink lady's slippers on a trail near the river access.

As if this weren't enough, I took the boys to the range on Saturday and we shot four handguns and three rifles (still need to finish cleaning them!) AND saw a live rock-n-roll band, playing mostly '60-'70s blues rock (Robin Trower in particular) in the middle of Foote Pond on the Au Sable River Queen, a genuine paddle boat that takes tours all summer and into fall up the Pond and back. Joe got to see a friend of his that he has known since elementary school!

So I got to play "Guide" this weekend to the outdoor attractions of my area, and about the only way it could have gone better is if the trout were feeding more on the Rifle - Todd caught one on his first cast, then nothing the rest of the afternoon ("Jinxed myself!!") and Joe couldn't muster one up, though he was mostly practicing his dry-fly throwing technique...Joe lives on a lake in which I caught a probably 5 lb. smallmouth (19.5" long) back in 2010 (and yes, on that "confounded 3-weight"), not to mention very nice panfish and largemouth, and has a dock he can throw off of 24/7 (when he isn't designing new cars for Fiat-Chrystler, that is, or teaching others how to do it, he's been in the bizz for 29 years!).

I'd say that as a host I batted about .975 this weekend, and the boys took care of me, buying food and booze and etc. and even driving me around. And being somewhat cooler than usual, the bugs weren't bad either! It's like the planets aligned or something, couldn't have asked for a better weekend to kick off my summer!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
RleePJune 8th, 2015, 9:41 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Great pics and great story, Jonathon. I've never been on the Rifle, but the photos made me hanker for another crack at the Boardman, The Chocolay in the UP and the Wisconsin Central Sands rivers like the Pine, Tomorrow and Mecan. This is a problem because I told Petunia when we returned to PA a few months back that over our 15 year residency, I had fished the Midwest "out of my system".

That's a lie...

I have to find a way to get back out there for a couple weeks. It calls me...
Jmd123June 8th, 2015, 10:26 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2473
Yes Lee, we have some fine trout waters around here, not big but bring that 8-foot or shorter rod (7-8-foot 3-4 weight) and we'll clean up on the Pine and the Rifle...small, intimate streams at their finest!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnJune 9th, 2015, 4:33 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Jonathan,

Here's somethinnng weird! I misplaced your personal email again. I was up hiking around Wakeley Lake a couple weeks back and took a picture in the woods of a Pink Ladies Slipper and was going to send it to you to ID.

You did it in this post.

Just a little poke...Those trout look like sardines lying there...;)

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
Jmd123June 9th, 2015, 7:01 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2473
Spence, the boys wanted a "wild dinner", and after finding the Chicken-of-the-Woods mushrooms, WAY earlier than I expected to find it, well I caught three just over the limit and so we ate 'em, not my customary practice but I doubt the Rifle will miss three 9-inchers...and boy were they TASTY along with the mushrooms!! We never even broke into the lake trout I still have in my freezer...come visit and I'll thaw out a piece or two!

BTW I expect the trout to run small again this year. This past winter was NASTY again, saw -24 F one night on my computer and confirmed it by flashlight on my porch thermometer! But as you can see, the panfish at Clark's Marsh are just getting bigger and fatter by the year, gotta hit those warm water fisheries up here with fly tackle just as much as I have to hit the trout streams and ponds...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MartinlfJune 9th, 2015, 10:49 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3042
Great photos, and congrats on a good trip!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PartsmanJune 10th, 2015, 11:04 am
bancroft michigan

Posts: 320
Jonathon great pictures as usual, it would be great to have friends that share your passion for flyfishing. I was up on the pine yesterday no fishing, you guys must have had some big storms up there as all the places I stopped were pretty unfishable. Oh well theres always next time.
Mike.
PaulRobertsJune 18th, 2015, 8:41 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Nice, Jonathan. Thanks for sharing your day. I wonder if 'chicken of the woods' are found my way?
WbranchJune 19th, 2015, 10:10 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Looks like you had a great time. Very pretty water and it looks like you had it to yourselves. How is it you know so much about the flora of the area? Pretty pictures of the flowers. Thanks for posting.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnJune 19th, 2015, 10:23 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
How is it you know so much about the flora of the area? Pretty pictures of the flowers.


Oh no you didn't?! :)

Spence

Matt...I think all of us on this site, over the years, are all too aware of Jonathan's alphabetical pedigree, MSU, U of M, etc...Mr Merritt :) Botany, entomology, astronomy...;)
"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
WbranchJune 20th, 2015, 8:04 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
No, I was unaware of Jonathan's experiences, and achievements, in the halls of academia.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnJune 20th, 2015, 11:17 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
No, I was unaware of Jonathan's experiences, and achievements, in the halls of academia.


I'm playfully poking fun at him Matt, as a fellow Michigander, because he has reminded us of it, from time-to-time...:)

Back somewhere, a few years ago, Jason posted the most used words appearing on this blog and Tony teased that "Spence" would be one since I sign my name to the end of my posts...I opined that, "I have a masters degree in entomology from MSU" would show up...Or some such.

I'm just ribbing him, that's all. Just like I teased him about those sardines on that plate up above...

My uncle use to say I have a mean streak just like my father who beat him up when they were little. ;)

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
Jmd123June 20th, 2015, 5:10 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2473
Spence: Hey, thanks for the quick synopsis of my "Curriculum Vitae" there, buddy! Saves me the trouble!! ;oD

Matt: To be perfectly honest, I have been interested in botany/plant life since I was 4. Yes, that's correct, FOUR, you can ask my parents (who are both still alive and well at 82!!). I was fascinated with trees, flowers, ferns, etc. long before I began my formal studies at the University of Michigan Biological Station (plus additional classes at U of M campus in Ann Arbor - Systematic Botany, Bryophytes (mosses), Algae, etc...). Botany has always been and will always be my first love in life. And I am extremely fortunate to live in an area with an amazing diversity of habitats and therefore plant life. And, as a wonderful bonus, much of that beautiful plant life occurs along or near my favorite trout streams! Of course we all know it's not just about the fish, it's the total experience, including fishing companions should they be along for the journey. In August the Pine River turns into a virtual wildflower garden, quite the breathtaking sight when the sun is going down and the landscape just glows with color...and not to mention the pretty little brookies and rainbows, couldn't fit the scenery better with their "living jewel" colors...

Paul: According to "All the Rain Promises and More...A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms" by David Arora (well-known expert in the field of mycology!), the sulphur-shelf or chicken-of-the-woods is "widespread and common" on "eucalyptus, oak, plum, fir, hemlock, spruce, etc." BE SURE TO COOK IT WELL!!! Apparently it can cause "gastrointestinal upsets" (don't think I need to go visual on this one, you get the idea!!) so make sure it's done, getting a bit browned up like bacon. I also cook it in olive oil, had some upset stomachs on butter but not yet on olive oil. The boys loved it, put it on sandwiches! BTW, get this book (ISBN 0-89815-388-3), it's a great guide and a lot of fun to read. NOTHING like some good edible mushrooms to accompany a meal of fresh fishies!!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRobertsJune 22nd, 2015, 10:02 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Thanks, Jonathan. I also read that any chicken of the woods associated with conifers should not be eaten. That may preclude my trying the majority of them in neck of the woods.
Jmd123June 22nd, 2015, 9:12 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2473
Paul, look for them on hardwoods. Oak? Probably Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) in your area, your local white oak species. I find it here on red oak group species (northern red oak/black oak/ scarlet oak/??? - taxonomy of these species is confused by hybridization!) but it seems to have broad tastes in hardwoods, have found it on silver/red maple as well in my area (to the tune of 5 lbs. or so - big yellow globs sticking out of the side of a mature tree back in 2011). Some guides also say avoid those growing on conifers, as well as eucalyptus.

This material was almost gooey, it was so fresh. I've never seen that much moisture come out of it while cooking, and it had the taste and consistency of scrambled eggs! Perhaps it should be called "scrambled eggs of the woods"!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PaulRobertsJune 23rd, 2015, 7:37 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
"Perhaps it should be called "scrambled eggs of the woods"!"

LOL! I picked and ate a large Boletus the other day. Had some blue staining but white spore pores. I tried a bite -AOK after 24hrs, so I had the rest.

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