As the Holiday quickly approaches, remember-
-most are caught in the hustle of Christmas concerts and programs, the bustle of work parties, family gatherings, wrapping gifts, finding the ‘Right’ present for that special someone, lack of sleep, travel, baking/cooking… some of us struggle with issues that are deeper than may appear. It can be difficult to keep it all together. This is a stressful time of the year for many. It is easy to become depressed because of financial matters, or loss of family members, attending work parties can easily lead to having a few more than normal. I know I had to make a few decisions to attend to more important matters rather than hit the steelhead run in nearby river, but it is for the best- next time I am hip deep in a swift run, it will be more serene because my mind is in a calm place. The rivers bring me peace. I hope you find yours.
The older I get, the more I truly appreciate time spent with family and merely relaxing, trying to keep it simple and being in the moment. The gifts I want can’t be wrapped & put in a stocking (insert shameless plug). I hope you get time with family and a blessed Holiday. Next year, more time on the water, chasing whatever finned creature helps you unwind and appreciate the beauty of what we have around us.
In recent weeks, REMOTE>NO PRESSURE. has put together an evening (2 episodes) with Jeff Andrews. We spent a weekend at Randy’s place on the North Branch and had Jeff Troutman come up to do a fireside chat with Bear. I had the idea awhile back, after hearing the many tales of Bear’s adventures with many icons of the Fly Fishing industry. Thank you Remote.No Pressure. for the great edit and taking time to join us on the river. Midcurrent shared an episode last week.
As the New Year approaches, I can’t help but get excited for what 2019 holds for True North Trout. Randy, Matt and I would like to than the many clients and great times spent on the river. We hope to see you again this year. There will be some changes in the near future. Matt has accepted a new position as sales for New York Life and Randy is on board with Scientific selling truck accessories. I have been added to the Umpqua Feather Merchants sales team for the Great Lakes, this means we may not have as much availibity for as many trips or large groups. It is unfortunate, but exciting as I know I am taking on a direction in the industry I feel passionate about. Next year, TEMPLE FORK OUTFITTERS will be added to my sales portfolio, travel and meeting many dealers with Ray & Kate have already been implemented. I look forward to meeting many more in the coming months and at Dealer shows. I will be at Midwest Fly Fishing Expo with Ray, Kate and Bear on March 9 & 10. The Grand Rapids show is February 2, I may have the ability to attend as guest; it is the same weekend as the Cincinnati Show where TFO already had a commitment. For a complete list of Fly Fishing shows <click here>.
My good fishing buddy from downstate- Jon Osborn, has completed his latest book. You might remember his name from doing the “Classic Flies of Michigan” book a few years back. His latest is a completely newly revised, I hesitate to even mention, version of Bedford’s Trout Streams of Michigan- “Flyfisher’s Guide to MICHIGAN“. Not giving away any secret spots, but he highlights sixty some rivers of notoriety throughout the upper and lower peninsula along with some great local brew pubs to visit along the way. A perfect gift for the angler in your life. Be sure to support your local fly shop, ask for a copy of this book, the new Umpqua HD & LT fly boxes, along with sling packs and bags. See you at the Warren show with some exciting new rods and reels from TFO. Until Next year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
My good friend and video/photographer Alex Childress spent some time with me this fall chasing a few brook trout and trying to capture that perfect moment of color from the landscape and the trout of our local rivers. Although we spent several hours throwing streamers for large browns, the weather either was too nice for fishing or on the nasty side for shooting video/drone work. If you are looking for a top notch photographer for your family/real estate/product shoot, give Alex a shout and spread the word.
The 2019 season holds a lot in store for the learning & new Fly anglers. So many rivers and endless possibilities. The Tip of the Mitt has exploded with great places to stay and dine, Boyne City/Petoskey seem to be flourishing along with the TC area. Take your family on a weekend get away and perhaps save a couple hours to share some quality time on a cool spring fed river.
I have recently added Sales Representative for the Great Lakes Region under UMPQUA FEATHER MERCHANTS to my business. This will mean a few less trips in years ahead as I make road trips to dealers and attend sales seminars for brands I represent. I plan to maintain my guide License/insurance with the State of Michigan. Over the holidays, it would be great to support local businesses & Fly shops you frequent by purchasing a fly box/flies/vest or sling pack from Umpqua. Look forward to seeing and meeting many new fly folks at various Fly Fishing Expo’s and Demo’s in the coming year.
Ask your fly shop to carry the best, #TIEDTOTHEWATER
Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!
Enjoy some Fall Foliage and brook trout from this great area.
“You mean you float this in the dark?”-
“Actually cast and catch fish without any lights?”
“Often, not all the time, but once you do, you will be forever changed….It is not the delicate soft presentation of a #16 Madame X, actually quite the opposite.”
Client conversation that has happened on more than one occasion over the years floating some of our heavily wooded northern Michigan rivers. Yes it’s true, we do it in the dark, not entirely true, red or green headlamps are acceptable, and they don’t blind the guide/client nor giveaway you presence to any suspecting trout. But what does it take to be a good ‘Mouser’?
Like most fishing, time and patience are critical, but on a totally different level. First, understanding your prey. They are large nocturnal predators, specifically built for hunting swimming tenderloins- whether they be in the form of amphibian, fish or mammal. Brown trout have been found feed almost exclusively at night and are most active just before dawn. They like to hunt in shallow sandbar regions- think Orca attacking seals near islands, smaller prey can out maneuver predators in open water, but in less than two feet of water, the 24″ brown has the upper hand- and nowhere for likely mouse/frog to escape. So flip the normal methodology of casting at LWD(large woody debris) and cast to the shallow side of the river. Next, patience. No really. A LOT of patience. Very few occasions has an angler actually hooked up on his/her very first actual mousing ‘take’. Many big browns will swipe or slash at the mouse pattern to immobilize or stun the prey and more often than not, client and guide have been jacking up on coffee and 5 hour energy drinks to make it through the late night/early morning hours. Your Sense of sight is gone, heightened are all your other senses, hearing & feeling become your primary inputs. When you hear the subtle take from a twenty inch something or the unmistakeable toilet bowl flush from a cavernous mouth of Hog Johnson, it takes every once of restraint not to set the hook and pull the mouse pattern directly out of the trouts mouth. Waiting, patience, feeling the weight of the fish on the other end of the line, connection. Now you have your hands full. Be sure you are properly outfitted.
Some anglers go big and heavy, that is personal preference and completely acceptable. Fly rods in eight weight are good for pulling a two foot bruiser out of multiple stacked logs or deep mysterious pools, but I prefer a solid 6 or 7 weight. Some of our rivers are so heavily overgrown with cedars that a 8′ rod with sold backbone works perfectly. TFO Mini-Mag is that stick, but the new AXIOM II is perfect. BVK or Clouser are great options as well. If you have limited access to rods, you will most likely want to use your streamer rig and adapt it to the night game, which really isn’t ‘that’ much different. You line choice should have an aggressive forward taper, Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX Magnum or Mastery Titan will assist in flipping that foam/deer hair/rabbit strip creation will little effort. SA also makes a Frequency GLOW– great for beginners to get an idea where they are casting. Keep your leader short and stiff. While fishing in Arkansas on the White, I learned to never go below #15 fluorocarbon and 6′ or shorter. Some will argue to use mono because fluoro will sink, but at less than 7 feet, it won’t sink a mouse pattern. Sometimes, we would actually through double deceivers, or other large baitfish style patterns that push some water, so the fluoro comes in handy. Let’s talk about flies…
Make your fly presence known. Seriously SPLAT your water logged drunken lemming pattern on the water, then give it a pause. You want the Mr Salmo trutta to hone in on his next meal. You can then begin to proceed with either short little strips with occasional pause, or some anglers like to jiggle/swing the fly across the water with intermittent pauses. After fishing with many different styles, I can’t speak to which one is more effective, what works one night on one river may not be the key in your neck of the woods. Have faith in your method and your flies. One of my best clients, who has boated a couple decent trout, watches YouTube videos of mice swimming. Sounds crazy. Have fun tying mouse patterns, look for bouffant materials that will also hang just a little in the surface film. A few of my personal favorite and successful patterns come from Rainy’s. Steve’s Loco Mouse hits the water hard, takes a beating and come back for more. Nick’s Cheeky Mouse– when in stock- is a killer skating pattern. Be sure to carry a few of the classic MouseRat by Whitlock. Check out the new Mason’s Mouse Trap– dead, sexy.
The more times you go, the more likely you are to connect. Don’t get frustrated if you miss a few times, we have all been there. It’s part of the learning curve. Keep it fun. Enjoy the journey!
True North Trout
Protect your investment. Keep your flies safe and dry. Aren’t these two of the best services a fly box can provide? True. What about durable and long lasting? You want materials and construction that will last more than one or two +90º days on your dashboard. Ever notice how the foam either peels or delaminates from the box on many other lesser fly boxes. Waterproof- no, REALLY waterproof, like dunk it under water for 5 minutes and see if your flies are wet. The HD from Umpqua Feather Merchants is completely sealed and will keep your flies high and dry. Made of high density shatter proof plastic, which is also see though for visibility, has a latching clasp with a water tight closure. The LT Weekender is slim and perfect for stashing an assortment of your Go-To patterns and hitting the water. Both have 3-D injection molded TPE(Thermoplastic Elastomer) and magnetic closures. The LT Weekender has a magnetic pad for smaller flies and multiple sized slots for a whatever hatch may come your way.
Do you value your flies? Then they deserve a worthy home. Keep them safe and dry in a UPG LT or HD Fly Box.
You can find these great boxes on Amazon.