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I'm not really sure what kind of minnow this is - anybody have an idea?
I'm not really sure what kind of minnow this is - anybody have an idea?

Report at a Glance

Fish CaughtTiny Minnows
Conditions & HatchesNo hatches and high water!

Details and Discussion

Summer_dougJanuary 16th, 2020, 10:38 am
Detroit, MI

Posts: 44
Hello everyone,

I realized that I never posted a report after my friends and I headed out to the Little Manistee. It was a beautifully serene place which I will definitely need to visit again at some point.

I can't remember the campground that we stayed at, but it had a very friendly DNR/Forestry officer as the manager. He spent quite a bit of time with us before we hit the water talking about what to expect on the river. We also discussed whiskey at length and left him the last few pours of a few of the bottles we had brought.

In short, we caught no fish of note; however, I found myself catching endless numbers of these small minnows on a small Patriot (my favorite fly). Anyone better at identifying minnows than me? After striking out on trout, we started a challenge to see who could catch the smallest minnow and on the smallest fly. It was a perfect task for my 1/2 weight. Even though none of us are very good fly anglers, we have a great appreciation for the sport and a deep affection for God's creation.

Much of our time on the river was spent in silence as we warmed in the rays of sunshine breaking through the canopy and cooled in the misty bends of the overhanging trees. Who knows the number of trout that slipped silently past our slow feet as we plodded on ignorantly with our chosen (and rejected) flies.

While I pondered my place in life wearing waders chest-deep in a river, a landowner came down to talk about what the river was like in her prime. After a while her husband came down too and, with a splash, I had a new fishing buddy named Scout - a very handsome golden retriever. I've always loved hearing others share fond memories of times they cherished and spent some precious moments listening to the couple.

At night, we shared some quality bourbon and lively conversation. As young dads, we took a moment to appreciate the reality that despite having caught zero trout, we were camping while our wives valiantly held down the fort with our children.

The next day, my friends decided it best to ditch the Little Man for the confluence of the Pere Marquette and Baldwin Rivers. Begrudgingly, I joined them and my feelings of resentment grew when we approached the banks of the river. The river was about three feet higher than normal! Trying not to be a wet blanket, I waded across the river, but, after floating back about a foot after each step, I called it quits and waited on the banks for my friends to do the same.

Thanks to Roguerat and Partsman for giving me some valuable information about the area and helping me avoid some quicksand. Hopefully, I can find more trout next time I am out that way, but the trip was a cherished time.
From Michigan
PartsmanJanuary 16th, 2020, 4:26 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 272
SummerDoug, thanks for the report, sounds like a good time, and really sometimes retrospect, and inner soul healing are just as important as fish, and when you get a little older the retrospect really becomes important. Now that I got that out of the way what is your favorite bourbon? Im a Makers Mark guy, but I really like beer as in Bells Oberon! I believe it was your post on fishing the S.B. of the Ausable that really got me motivated fishing up there. Thank you, I love fishing that area now and since im retired im spending as much time fishing there as I can, but as you know this winter weather has really sucked, to much water for this old man. So Im tying lots of nymphs and dries.
Take care, Mike
MillcreekJanuary 16th, 2020, 8:29 pm
Healdsburg, CA

Posts: 339
Suumerdoug,

Looks like a trout parr, possibly a steelhead.
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
-Albert Einstein
Summer_dougJanuary 17th, 2020, 5:26 am
Detroit, MI

Posts: 44
Mike - I loved the S.B. of the Au Sable! The chapel is such an amazing place to sit and reflect overlooking the river. It truly is a gem. I'm glad I was able to provide some motivation to check it out. As a dad of two under five (and a third coming in August), I really only get a couple outings a year now. If I am ever heading out that way, I'll give you a heads up and maybe we can meet on the river.

Bourbon is not my usual choice, but Buffalo Trace is generally my pick. Gin is actually my preferred choice, but that does not lend well to camping and fishing!

Millcreek - we thought it might have been a brook trout parr, but I'm unfamiliar with earlier life stages.

Doug
From Michigan
OldredbarnFebruary 6th, 2020, 7:27 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Know the campsite of which you speak on the Little Manistee. Just below “Spencer’s Bridge”. 😉

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
WbranchFebruary 6th, 2020, 12:21 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2573
It doesn't look like any steelhead smolt I have ever seen.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnFebruary 6th, 2020, 4:37 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
The little one might be a salmon parr? Pretty forked tail, and a Brook might have a slightly rosy tint? And "worm-like vermiculation" on the upper part of the fish.

I think they try to control the salmon heading upstream there at a weir near the mouth of the river. They "want" to favor steelhead, but some get through. I'm not sure they still do, but the DNR harvested salmon at that weir.

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
Summer_dougFebruary 7th, 2020, 3:09 am
Detroit, MI

Posts: 44
I mentioned this in the other thread, but I think it may be a Coho fry.
From Michigan
Jmd123February 7th, 2020, 8:57 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2408
I would guess chinook fry, from the high number of parr marks. Have seen them before, caught one in a little stream in my fish class way back in '87. I will look this up...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123February 7th, 2020, 9:03 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2408
See my other post on this. Chinook for sure!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Summer_dougFebruary 7th, 2020, 9:44 am
Detroit, MI

Posts: 44
Thanks, Jonathon! I just read through that PDF you linked and the clear 'window' in the adipose is definitely distinctive of the Chinook.

The other poster who messaged me, GONZO, mentioned the 'window' as the identifying mark for the Chinook.

I guess this qualifies as my first salmon on the fly! (LOL!)
From Michigan
Jmd123February 7th, 2020, 10:03 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2408
Doug, nobody says it had to be a big one! Congrats! ;oD

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchFebruary 7th, 2020, 11:37 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2573
Well it's nice to see we solved that mystery.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
TroutnutFebruary 20th, 2020, 9:10 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2555
Hi guys, I haven't been watching the forum too closely so I just saw this. It's definitely a salmon parr. Here's a good guide to their identification from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/library/pdfs/habitat/adfg_hr_id_cards_v1.1.pdf

Here's another good one:

https://www.kitsapgov.com/pw/Documents/Kitsap_Salmon_Guide_Salmon_ID_Poster.pdf

I'm almost certain this one is a Coho parr. This photo isn't close-up enough to see the melanophores that define the "clear window" in a Chinook versus the pigmentation in a Coho; the Coho's adipose fin can still look pretty light at this distance. The "window" doesn't refer to the gap in the dark outline around the edge of the adipose fin, but the lack of some smaller markings within that gap.

The parr marks are more of a give-away. Look at the marks on this one compared to those in the ADF&G sheet, but then also compare against all these pictures of Chinook I've sampled in Alaska:



The Chinook parr marks are generally wider and closer together, especially in a fish this size.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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