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South Branch Boyne River update

2019 March 25
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by Brian Kozminski

Friday evening March 15, 2019, after Thursdays daytime high of 57º, coupled with snowmelt and rain, a dam located behind Weiss Acres along 131 gave way and washed out. The site was an old grist mill from many decades ago. The dam had been on the radar of local MVWTU and CRA for a few years. Property owners were hesitant to do anything about the possibility of an aged dam but now wish they had. There are cabin rentals along the river bank where vacationers could kayak up a couple hundred yards in slack water before they ran into two undersized culverts on the former entrance to Boyne Mountain, opposite Cherry Hill Road. This site was also looked at by Tip of the Mitt Watershed but complications and funding delayed removal because of buried utilities.

The amount of sediment washed down stream is yet undetermined. Fish kill and macro invertebrate collateral damage is unknown. Biggest concern is young of the year brown and brook trout that may have little recourse in escaping plume of silt or heavy flows. The DNR, DEQ, and Tip of the Mitt have visited site along with Little Traverse Bay Tribe- who took water samples on Tuesday. A crew of surveyors from Ehlmer’s Construction- general contractors on Maple River and Boardman River dam removals, were also on hand and forecast an involved remediation of river and hope for a quick recovery. The portion upstream is high quality trout stream, below former dam site is the Boyne Falls Mill Pond, which may have acted as a large sand trap. There is also evidence that when the dam broke free, the amount of water and sediment going downstream would have stirred and flushed the still water in the pond- pushing a larger plume of silt downstream. The turbid and murky water was visible for 4-5 days in Boyne City.

The river has been through this before. In October of 2016, while performing routine maintenance on the Boyne Property Dam at Kircher’s pond, a log became lodged in the floodgate and most of impounded water was released downstream. Anglers who were in the river fishing for salmon noticed the river suddenly rush from knee deep to over their waist’s and became very murky. Some actually caught pike and large browns that were residents from the impoundment. Some property owners had to retrieve kayaks that were along their shoreline to be found in the mouth of Boyne at Lake Charlevoix.

There are over 2,500 dams in Michigan, many of which are outdated and approaching the end of their lifespan. These dams can have adverse effects on wildlife and fish populations. Not only to dams prevent fish form reaching cooler water in times of thermal stress, they also deter migration of spawning salmonids and increasing surface temperature to detrimental climates for many sensitive macro-invertebrates. Huron Pines has a list of dams they have been working on. MDOT and DEQ recently evaluated the dam in Boyne Falls at M-75 and it was marked ‘satisfactory’. Neither parties felt there was strong public support for removal of dam at the time, perhaps with this incident, a new conversation can begin.

Property owners at Weiss Acres are very concerned about liability and possible fines from DEQ and would like to cooperate in any way possible- hopeful for a better river in the future. It is going to take a lot of combined efforts and money from various parties. My hope in writing this is to gain public attention to many aged and failing dams across the state. Also, to see if this reaches other news publications to gain some traction and possible sources for funding repair of this beautiful trout stream. Let’s share this and get the word out- we need more rivers to flow freely.

 

2019 Midwest Fly Fishing Expo Highlights

2019 March 23
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March 9 & 10 were the dates for this years Fly Fishing Expo in Warren Michigan. All the usual characters were out and we had a great time catching up with friends and family from across the region. I spoke with a representative from the Michigan Fly Fishing Club and they had very positive feedback from vendors and guests alike. Besides setting a new attendance record for the two day event- 3828 people, we also saw a lot more women who may have been drawn by the female experts who were representing the fly fishing industry. Alice Owsley(Riverside Anglers) and Jen Ripple from DUN magazine were headliners that drew some attention and held special classes for female anglers along with Geri Meyer from The Driftless Angler/ Athena & Artemis. Weather cooperated, a couple of good pushes in the press and a highlight on local Television certainly helped bring people in.

 

Personally feel this is one of the best shows in the Great Lakes region. There is quite a draw from surrounding state and fisheries. Al the big names in fly fishing like to meet and catch up over drinks and dinner and exchange stories of the past. It was great to see Pat Dorsey again and meet Taylor Edrington and Tim Cammisa– all class act gentlemen who share their passion for the sport everywhere they go.

Bear, Koz, Ray, Chris and Nick on hand for TFO. #powertotheangler

The Temple Fork Outfitters booth was honored to have Nick Conklin from Dallas on hand to talk up new rod design and product. We also had Bear Andrews, Chris Doyal and Ray Schmidt keeping the jokes and commentary flowing seamlessly from one guest to the next. Many asked where Kate was, she seems to be missed more than all of us combined- for good reason. She stayed north with the dreaded flu bug that has wiped many of us out for a portion of this season. Chris has been the man behind the camera with Ray Schmidt’s Great Lakes Fly series– if you haven’t checked them out, you should. I was interested in Mr. Doyals opinion of the show- his thoughts were refreshing.

In spite of the trend of more women getting involved in the sport, I didn’t notice many, if any, looking at rods in the booth. Two handed interest is very high among 20 to 30 somethings. Single handed steelhead and salmon interest is very high with that group as well. Older anglers seemed to be most interested in lighter trout rods. Many seemed especially interested in the glass rods because that’s what they learned with.” Chris

I saw a lot of lady anglers in attendance for particular presentations- I know of a few fellow anglers who wanted to stop in, but we were simply 3 deep most of the day and that can put off some newly interested angler-male or female. I do believe having Kate on hand adds a softer touch and more people feel welcome to stop in. Some points of interest, and things to consider in the future. I totally agree we saw a large number of young anglers, the enthusiasm is great.

Jon Osborn signs a few FlyFishers Guide to Michigan books at Glen’s booth.

Jon Osborn stopped by and said his new book “FlyFishers Guide to Michigan” was selling like hot cakes. For good reason. Each chapter has good background, great photos, attention to detail, and yet, not giving it all away. Someone actually gave a bad review because he didn’t list exact fishing locations…. hmmm, perhaps they don’t understand- finding the next spot is 90% of the reason why we chase trout.

RT from Thirdyear Fly Fisher also said SUMMER HAZE has been a solid gold hit for us folks dying to put on shorts while chasing warm-water species.

Rod sales were outstanding from dealers like Uncle Jake’s and Ron’s Fly shop. Glen stayed busy at Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company selling books and showing off his walking stick.

The flip-flop crew at Schultz Outfitters had two incredible days gearing up anglers in search of everything from bronze backs to Esox and everything in between. It’s always good to see Hughes, Corey and Schultz working a crowd. Check out their new digs in Ypsi. We will be on hand for DEMO DAYS JUNE 1 for TFO. Along with Blane Chocklett, Hilary Hutcheson and Oliver White.

Always grateful for my group of fly fishing family, good to see brothers John (TroutBum) & Mike Schmidt (Anglers Choice Flies), Jerry Regan, Paul Beel (FrankenFly), Dennis Potter, Justin Waayenberg (Adipose Boats), Tammy & Scott Bowerman (the Fly Guy Shop), Joe Jackson (Sgt. Bassfisher) and many others…

Thank you to all who came out~ Next years show is scheduled for March 14 & 15, 2020 with Headliners Ed Engle, Devin Olsen and Jason Randall. You won’t want to miss it!!

Salt Emergency

2019 February 16
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There is no time for sleeping-in here. The urgency of daylight is evident as local construction workers meander wave marks  and dodge darting iguana’s on three speed banana seat Schwinns in front of the villa at 6 am. I cautiously tip toe across the teak floor, ever so careful not to disturb the scorpion that has eluded his shadowy den. Bleary eyed, making a fresh ground local Arabaica coffee to watch the sun crest the horizon, out a distance where the waves crash upon the reef protecting this magnificent fishery. Amazing colors of pure excitement match the anticipation as I string up my 9 weight and assorted collection of last minute tied Gotchas and Bonefish Bitters, this is San Pedro and it is nothing short of an any Midwesterners salt water fantasy. Bonefish are plentiful out the front door. Tarpon will take a short water taxi, while permit make their occasional appearance to heighten your blood pressure. The people are pleasant and welcoming, smiles are contagious and genuine. For the epicurious, food is beyond imagination, Conch Ceviche will ruin you. I won’t even consider ordering it anywhere else.

This was back in 2001, how I got there was nothing short of miraculous- Let’s just say I met a former marine/sniper on the Muskegon river with a 16’Clacka from Chicago who then met and fell in love with a co-worker of mine, sold his Harley, Drift boat and Hummer to fly us all to Belize to get married on the sandy beaches under an altar made of palm frons in exchange for his T3. It is vividly etched in my memory because much like this resource, I had just cleaned up my life and got off the streets and kicked the bad habits that would have kept me spiraling down into the abyss. The Belizean government saw the beauty in the second largest coral reef (185 miles) that extends beyond the  length of its shoreline and many snorkelers travel from across the globe to swim with a variety of reef fishes including nurse sharks and barracuda. The area is not unlike any other Central American state, hurricanes routinely purge the mangroves and estuaries, construction can be akin to witnessing chameleons giving birth. The Bonefish Tarpon Trust has diligently worked in this region to spread the conservation practice of C&R since 2010. Other Central American countries have followed the model, more should pay attention to the millions of tourist dollars fly fishing provides for a community.

I have since travelled to Saint Maarten, DWI and had experienced catching juvenile tarpon waiting for shrimp carried out the with the tide under the Blue Bridge in Simpson Bay. Among the broken glass and plastic bottles that adorn decades old fishing nets on the large man-made monoliths, I fished with locals who ran a #40 LINE  around the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and chucked out bait on large circle hooks. When I hooked my first 15 pound tarpon on a chartreuse Lefty Deceiver, my new found fishing buddy yelled “Sabado! SABADO!!”  Did that mean good? Bad? Faster? My rusty Spanglish soon gathered it referred to the species of fish, but also meant table fare. The non-paid guide sprang from rock to rock with the agility of a deft iguana who basks in the sun on these very rocks mid-day, grabbing my line and pulling in my fly line and quickly breaking off my much lighter leader. After a few “Gracias, mucho gracias” I thanked him for the assist & moved further down the channel to have my own area. The realization set in that these guys aren’t down here for the mere sport of tagging into a leaping Silver King.

Salt Water Urgent.

Fall of 2018, post Hurricane Irma, we went to Melbourne, FL and experienced the Banana/Indian River with Captain Rick Worman of FLATLINE Guide Service. We immediately clicked as he poled the skiff into little inlets and we hooked a few #60-75 poon, decent black drum, and redfish and we talked conservation, politics of the region and the overwhelming amount of sewage that has contributed to algae bloom we saw in the north section of the estuary. A year later, I went back to see a definite lack of fishing due to the RED TIDE and I immediately felt the same gut wrenching feeling Capt. Rick has when he is on the water. Fish are showing up dead by the thousands. The Ocean is crying for our help, from many facets of the world. There is no time to sleep on this one.

Reach out and do your part at bullsugar.org

A few months ago,  AFFTA, The American Fly Fishing Trade Association was running a guide essay competition to raise awareness to the various crisis happening in our salt water resources- I entered, but did not make the final cut. The competition among those of us who are passionate about or resources is a fierce & beneficial. Look forward to the winning entry. Tonight we head out to attend local F3T in hopes to see others knee deep in conservation projects near and far.

 

Expedition Grayling

2019 February 5
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by Brian Kozminski

In the not too distant future, there is the real possibility of anglers who wade in Northern Michigan’s cold waters to have the opportunity to catch a once native Arctic Grayling. Imagine the potential. Rewriting history in our lifetime. This is truly Epic.

Walking through a dense fog in early morning, you can feel the dew brush off the ferns as you meander through poplar, birch and cedar fens, the aroma of promise and wet forest floor meet your anticipation of fish rising as you reach the river. As early as 2025, one may have the opportunity to catch brook, brown, rainbow trout and Grayling in the Jordan, Maple, Pigeon or Manistee Rivers.

This Project is one part science, one part fantasy and two parts funding. The research is being conducted at MSU fish rearing facility where Nicole Watson, PhD, is doing what she claims to be her dream job. It is better to see her face in person as it lights up when she talks about how she went to the Chena River, Alaska, to fish and pick up her babies to bring back to Michigan. Small trials as they packed a couple hundred eggs in a small cooler with gel-packs that should have been ‘cool’ to go through TSA, but not once they melted and turned to liquid, jeopardizing the livelihood of a yet future char offspring. She is a very intelligent, bright,  personable scientist, as well as a very fishy chick- you can tell that in a few moments just by chatting with her. We met a few years ago on the Upper Manistee when her and Tom- her husband of 12 years- were about to embark on a midnight mousing trip and we exchanged benevolent wishes and steelhead migratory research she was working on at the time. This Grayling Project is like a dream come true. Think about it- we are hoping to find a river that can suitably sustain a species that has been extirpated from its once native waters. A few factors made this happen nearly 100 years ago. As the lumber era boomed and white pine stands were toppled and shuttled down the rivers each spring, we eroded naturally protected banks and introduced more sediment to the watershed. Combined with loss of habitat and spawning grounds, the Grayling were reportedly very easy to catch, often, three or four at a time on one line. The last Grayling was reportedly caught in 1936 in the Otter River of the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has attempted to re-introduce Grayling back in the 80’s. Some dozen kettle lakes and small rivers near Pigeon River Country were used to rear 145,000 yearling for control sites, but disease and infection, perhaps predation wiped them out in a couple years. What makes this attempt more valid? Where is the funding coming from? Why is the DNR behind it?

First things first. This began as a collateral research project for Michigan Tech and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians as a re-introduction of Native Species Grant, it has gained attraction and momentum in the passed five years. The DNR is working with LRBOI and money has been set aside from various donors – Petoskey-Harbor Springs Community Foundation, Traverse City Rotary, Oleson Foundation, Michigan Trout Unlimited, Consumers Energy, and Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation have graciously donated to the cause. The biggest hurdle was getting money for UV treatment of Oden Fish Hatchery to prevent any disease or infection of the young Grayling from Alaska. Second stage is set for building a rearing facility and more money for research. The Montana model is key in making this a successful re-introduction. Remote Site Incubators are critical to allow the young Grayling to imprint on their new environs. The reason coho and chinook have the inate ability to find their birth river is because they are released when they are parr and imprint on a home river. RSI’s will allow eggs from brood stock Arctic Grayling to be in the river and safe while they develop and drop their nutrient rich egg sack.

Another hurdle: previous attempts failed. But we are now taking a different approach. A common problem with previous attempts was quick outmigration by the Grayling. They “disappeared”. This could be due to imprinting to waters. Salmonids readily imprint to there home waters – this is how Steelhead, Chinook, Coho, and others know where to return to for spawning. The question is: how early in life do Grayling imprint. This is another question that my research is attempting to answer. Montana had success by using RSIs for stocking which allows the Grayling eggs to be exposed to stream waters at the egg stage. Michigan is using this as a model for reintroduction. Montana found fish had higher site fidelity when stocked using RSIs instead of being reared in a hatchery then stocked at a larger juvenile life stage.” stated Nicole Watson, PhD. while doing research on her first year of young Grayling. She also noted how well they grow with Brook Trout and quickly drop their vital egg sack so they are not weighed down and can acclimate with some native species. Which brings up predation. It is a concern.

We don’t know how a once native fish will respond to these introduced rivers with other ‘naturalized’ trout species. There will be some predation from brown trout. Studies have shown that the few who do survive, tend to be larger and heartier, possible genetic trait to pass on. Will there be enough habitat for spawning, cover, food for young of the year brook trout and grayling? I asked Nicole how her recent study was going in regard to these points.

We need to gain a deeper understanding to the complicated interactions between Grayling and the resident trout populations in Michigan, especially at early life stages. No studies have looked at predation or competition in such early life stages yet. A study in Montana looked at competition between Brown trout and Grayling but the Browns were >10″. No one has examined competition between age-0 Grayling and resident trout yet. This is where my research comes in.
Predation is another concern, especially predation on Grayling by age-1 resident trout which are more numerous than older/larger individuals. Again, this is another unknown that I am looking into: predation on newly hatched Grayling by age-1 resident trout (Brook and Brown).”
Nicole will be doing a presentation on March 30 in Zion, Illinois for the Midwest Regional Trout Unlimited Conference if you can find time to attend.
The next step is more funding and more research. Please reach out and help in anyway you can. You can find more information at RE-WILD.

Let’s Tie- Stranger Thing

2019 January 26
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Andrew Grillos- Missouri River ‘Bow. Photo by Autumn Grillos

Every so often we meet a great guide, or fly tyer, or innovative pattern designer, or dedicated hard working promoter of the sport of fly fishing- although we may all try to do one or more of these great attributes, rarely do we find it all in one package. Meet Andrew Grillos, passionate about the fly world since age ten when he found the magic in fooling a trout with fur, feathers and foam, and soon- by age 16, he became a commercial fly tier, and many shops took notice. Andrew soon started to guide based in the Gunnison, Colorado region for more than a decade, Andrew relocated to Seattle Washington so he could pursue steelhead on the swing. We have been ‘social friends’ for some time and what attracted me to his patterns was the usual twist and improvement on known patterns that we use in the Great Lakes region. Taking a design and kicking it up a notch to make it either more durable or float longer, or completely doing a 180º approach on an existing fly, he has revolutionized terrestrial fishing for many anglers with his ‘Hippie Stomper‘. Look for future announcement of his tour to the Driftless Angler early June 2019 for a Tying Demonstration. He is also a guide of integrity, judging a good day on the water when clients have an enjoyable day on the water- keeping the experience real and managing expectations while providing a quality experience can be the most difficult part of any guests trip.

Grillos has some twenty patterns in production with UMPQUA FEATHER MERCHANTS– all are tied to meet specifications and details are not compromised- which you might find in other fly manufacturers. Names have a thought out and catchy throw back to many monikers of our childhood era – Cap’n Crunch, Dancing Ricky, ’64 Impala, El Camino, User Friendly, Fat Caddis, Pool Toy, Laser Pointer, Party Animal and Bob Gnarly to name a few. New for 2019- The Great Carpholio, Heavy Metal Worm, Spin Doctor, and Stranger Thing. We are going take an in depth look at Stranger Thing- a streamer pattern that I would believe to be a great smallmouth and trout pattern in many of our rivers and lakes. The pattern is available in the common core four- White, Black, Brown & Olive. There may be room for a orange/rust crawfish or even something in black with copper belly to match baitfish in your area. Let’s get ready to tie~

STRANGER THING- ANDREW GRILLOS

Materials

Hook- TMC 5262, Size 4

Thread- UTC 140

Eyes- Hareline painted lead eyes, size M

Tail/overbody- Standard thickness rabbit strip. Barred or 2-tone look best.

Underbody- Bills Body Braid (preferably) or other diamond braid

Hackle- Schlappen or Guinea feathers, Red.

Legs- Hareline Grizzly Flutter Legs

Head- Deer belly hair- color to match

1. Start thread at end of hook shank. Wrap a tight base back to around 1/3 point. Work back to ¼ point and tie in Size M lead eyes. Use plenty of x-wraps to secure them. A drop of super glue doesn’t hurt either. Continue tight thread base to end of hook shank, about even with the barb.


 

2. Advance tight thread wraps back up to the eyes. Remove hook from vise and poke hook through your rabbit strip. The furry side of the rabbit strip should be on the same side of the hook as the hook point. Make sure to leave enough of a strip to tie it off on top of the eyes. Put your hook back in the vise, upside down. Tie in Bills Body Braid right behind the eyes. Make touching wraps down to the end of the hook shank and then back up to just in front of the eyes. This 2-layered body adds a bit of bulk to the underbody.

3. Pull the rabbit strip pretty tightly forward and tie off just ahead of the eyes. The tier can optionally add a bead of superglue along the body here, and then pull the rabbit forward, however I opt for a single small drop after the fly is finished. (Explained below) Tie in a red schalappen or guinea feather by the tip. Stroke the feather’s barbs back, so they’re all facing the same way when you wrap them.

 

4. Wrap the hackle forward, in touching wraps. Ideally you’ll get 3-5 turns of hackle in here. Separate out 6 strands of the Hareline Grizzly Flutter legs. I cut them in the middle, so the fused ends stay together. I then tie the fused ends down, on either side of the hook, so there are 6 legs on the close side and 6 legs on the far side of the fly. Try to angle them so they are flared out to the sides and down, less so up.

 

 

5. Cut, clean, and thoroughly stack a chunk of deer belly hair. I prefer to use one clump of hair for my muddler heads, I like to cut a short, steep taper when I trim the head, and this is easiest with one clump of hair. Line the hair’s tips up a little ahead of the hook point. Make a few loose wraps to secure and position the hair. Carefully spin and flare the hair. Once the hair is evenly distributed around the hook, pull the hair out of the way and sneak a whip finish or a few half hitches in, right behind the eye. With a double-edged shaving razor, trim the fly’s head into a short, steeply tapered head. Add a drop of super glue at the point where the hook pokes through the rabbit strip, this will make the fly more durable. Run a bit of head cement around the thread head as well. 

 

The “Stranger Thing” is my solution for a simple and effective streamer that rides with the hook point up, has lots of good movement in the water, and can easily be modified to match any different color of baitfish. 

Originally intended to be a simple, swing fly, this pattern excels in a wide variety of situations. Swung on a spey rod, “down and across,” for trout, this fly works very well as it drops quickly in the water column without being overly heavy and has a bunch of great movement due to the rabbit tail and rubber collar. It’s not overly flashy, the only flash comes from the Bills Body Braid underbody. The location of the eyes combined with a down-eye hook causes this fly to ride with the point up, so it’s much less likely to hang up in the bottom.

The Stranger Thing also fishes very well on the strip, fast or slow. Again, the lead eyes combined with a slender dressing cause the fly to drop quickly in the water column. It’s got a great jigging action when stripped in, darting up and down in the water.

Another great way to fish my Stranger Thing is dead-drift or just barely twitched near the bottom. The fly rides with the hook up, so it doesn’t snag bottom all that often. It’s a great lead fly when indicator nymphed with a second (or even third) small fly following behind it. It doesn’t require weight to get down while nymphing and it’s got plenty of enticing movement while dead drifted along. Another deadly Alaskan variation on dead drifting the stranger thing is to slide a troutbead on the leader in front of the fly and twitch it just enough to keep the “Egg Stealing Stranger Thing” bouncing along the bottom.

The fly can easily be altered to match any desired color combo. My 4 basic colors that are offered by Umpqua Feather Merchants are black, olive, brown, and white. These 4 colors cover most any general baitfish color one could want to match. The fly can also be altered and tied in neon colors to pursue steelhead. Again, the fly isn’t too heavy that it can’t easily be fished on a spey rod and swung for steelhead or salmon.

A fly angler for nearly 30 years, fly tier for nearly 25, global full-time guide for 13 years, and now design engineer, Andrew Grillos’ fishing experiences have shaped his fly design style to produce purpose driven, simple, and durable flies. Whether it’s swinging flies for steelhead, casting a big foam dry along a deep undercut bank, or messing with carp and warmwater species in an urban setting, Andrew finds fly inspiration in all fishing experiences. Andrew resides in Bozeman, Montana and spends a great deal of his free time exploring the practically limitless fishing opportunities within a few hours of home. Most of those fishing trips are spent trying out new fly ideas or working out new iterations of current ideas. Andrew is happy to have Umpqua Feather Merchants produce upwards of 2 dozen of his unique fly ideas and is always working on adding to that list.

Autumn swings on the Lower Madison River. Photo by A. Grillos

Be sure to check out other work by Andrew Grillos and keep an eye out for more of his cool stuff  at www.andrewgrillosflyfishing.com

Merry Christmas!

2018 December 21
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Merry Fishmas!!

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!!

Working some woody structure on the upper Manistee River.

Let’s Fish!!

Michigan Fly History

2018 December 11
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by Brian Kozminski

A recent project begun by Ray Schmidt of Temple Fork Outfitters Great Lakes Region has received some attention by local fly anglers and tyers across the country. Ray, former owner of Schmidt Outfitters in Wellston, MI and innovator of many Great Lakes patterns such as Ray’s Rattlesnake and STS Bugger, thought it would be a wonderful winter project to dig into the history and document the development of many patterns that made our area famous and also highlight others that may have had their 15 seconds of fame. I reached out to Mr Schmidt to get a little inside scoop. Here is where this endeavor is headed…

I was about 30 years outside of the Michigan fly development stage- 1930 thru 1950’s. I was lucky enough to be visiting my older brother in Grayling that lived next door to my Uncle Clarence Roberts.

The wonderment of law enforcement with the lure of fishing made a young lad want to be like his elders.
My love of tying flies soon followed. As years past and a world of fly-fishing opened for my career I wanted to preserve some of this stuff I knew, maybe some no one else knew.
I’ve chronicled flies for years both in text form and on our web sites. 
After our sale of Schmidt Outfitters and retirement looming large, I wanted to put together  these historic patterns in one spot for the community to see and enjoy.
When our friend Chris Doyal volunteered to help put this together, well….bingo.
Ray & Kate  -Double SS Outdoors
You can’t talk about fly tying and not mention the fly that put Mayfield Pond, near Traverse City,  Michigan, in nearly every fly box from here to Redding, California- The ADAMS. Whether you prefer the classic upwing spent style in Catskill fashion or the more popular parachute post, original muskrat gray body with Grizzly/Coachman hackle to current revisions in purple and iridescent sparkle, there is little doubt this mayfly pattern has fooled it’s fair share of trout from coat to coast. Midcurrent picked up on the project and many have now been tuned in. Join Ray as he talks & ties his way through the many flies our predecessors worked diligently to fool that big brown down on the millpond from decades ago. Who knows, a few of them may need to be tied up and swung into a current seam near you, they just might work.

Thalken’s Chloris Leechman

2018 November 25
Comments Off on Thalken’s Chloris Leechman
by Brian Kozminski

Earlier this season, I was fishing a river that has single 3/8″ hook size regulations, I wanted to throw a large streamer for coho and steelhead. Frustrated after drifting multiple egg patterns and stoneflies that were not getting attention from anything larger than 11″ stocker trout, I nearly gave up my day on the river. This spey style articulated leech pattern was sitting in my steelhead box and never saw any action. I gave it a go. The action and depth were exactly what I needed. Fish started coming out of shadows and deep pools to inspect this likely looking egg sucking leech fly. I reached out to Morgan Thalken to get some more info on his soon to be famous “Chloris Leechman” from Umpqua Feather Mechants.

Chloris Leechman from Morgan Thalken.

   “I began fly fishing when I was eleven years old. I began tying flies earlier than that. I was fortunate enough to have an anadromous fishery just a short bike ride from my house. Summers were spent swinging Caddis pupa, or skating heavily hackled dries for juvenile steelhead. Winters were spent chucking Teeny lines with egg sucking leeches in hopes of a grab from something larger. The obsession with swinging flies for Steelhead became engrained in me at a young age. The years and the travels have only fueled the fire.  

     The Chloris Leechman was a pattern that I began tying about five years ago. Essentially just a tweaked bunny leech to add some elements I desired. Nothin’ fancy. It had to be rabbit and it had to be articulated to have a natural fluid motion. I preferred a bead head over dumbbell eyes. I could achieve an egg sucking look with a hot bead, or go a little toned down sculpin style with a metallic bead. I also wanted to add a little accent color with a picked out dubbing collar. 

     Since I began tying these, I now probably have forty variations stuffed in my box. Different sizes, color combos, some with standard beads, and some with tungsten. I typically throw this pattern using a Skagit style head and a variety of sink tips depending on conditions with a 3’ leader.  This pattern has proven itself very versatile from fall to winter fish all along the Pacific Coast and beyond. “

Start with Rabbit and Gamakatsu Octopus Hook

Tie in connector and either Waddington Shank or hook you can sacrifice at the bend. Be sure to slide Bead on prior.

Wrap rabbit strip, Ice Dub head add some flash. Very simple effective pattern. Cut hook with pliers. (wear eye protection)

Finished product. Be sure to tie a variety of colors.

Barred Rabbit in olive and/or orange are very attractive under water. Cream/Yellow/ White in multiple sizes are a good idea. Purple for Bass and Pike is a must have fly.  Here is what you need.

Materials List:

Shank: U302 sz 6-2

Stinger: Gamakatsu Octopus hook sz 6-2

Bead: 5/32-7/32 size to match hook, color to match pattern

Thread: Uni 6/0 color to match body

Connecting material: 30lb braid

Body material: rabbit strip, standard or cross cut

Flash: flashabou to accent body or collar color

Collar: Arizona Diamond dub, set in a dubbing loop and picked out. Color to accent body