The rollercoaster ride that is spring Up North has been nothing short of eventful. Two weeks ago, the mercury danced near 70 degrees, and two days later, cold rain, more of a deluge of water and plummeting temperatures in the 40’s that would deter most anglers who have a date set for the river. We were not that easily diverted. The river had crested around 1840 cfs and was beginning to recede. The boat launch was at least a foot above normal flow and the current readily noticed as we eased the Costa Blue Adipose in the side seam.

Water high and flowing

Water is high and flowing.


We managed a few decent ‘Tweeners’ early in the float, and even saw a bigger flash and swirl from the depths but nothing above the 18″ mark. Water pushed us faster than normal float time, but this was to our advantage. We have intentions of doing a second leg after lunch.

TFO Mini Mag is perfect for this stuff.

TFO Mini Mag is perfect for this stuff.

We were on a mission to compare a few rods. The Temple Fork Outfitters line in particular. Recently being turned on to the Mini Mag by Ray and Kate after I inquired last fall about the best all around northern Michigan daytime streamer/night-mousing rod available, TFO Mini-Mag totally makes sense. This compact rod design was originally aimed at B.A.S.S. anglers, being just under 8′ regulation for tournament competition, but equally perfect for tight cedar corridors and throwing heavy water-logged streamers and deer hair mouse patterns. The power in lifting articulated flies is attributed to the high modulus graphite and unidirectional S-glass and equally translates into a phenomenal rod for roll casting these heavier patterns as well. Matt and I are very impressed. We have both put more than a few hours working our rotator cuff while frothing delicious looking water and can honestly say after consecutive days of casting the 6/8 weight rod is more of a pleasure than a workout. The durable TiCr coating adds to the seductive blue marble finish that is reminiscent of a 70’s Camaro while the feel of the Flor-grade cork grip feels like you are behind the wheel of a muscle car. Give this rod a go this year, I can’t wait to see how well it does for Hex and midnight Mousing.

TFO Impact gets it done!

Grey Ghost mush-mouth butter belly.

Randy was working the bend of the 8 weight IMPACT which comes in at 4.6 ounces, a few ounces heavier than the BVK, but it has a sensitive feel unlike many rods of this caliber. I took it for a few casts and could not believe how well it hit targets with pin point accuracy. The smooth feel of this slim rod design coupled with Tactical Series stripping guides and ultra-light weight chromium impregnated stainless snake guides delivers flies right on the mark. WOW! the pure adrenaline and feel of this rod is worthy of praise. It is sexy AND it produces. The rod loads with minimum effort and maximum efficiency, perfect for tossing streamers all day. But then I got thinking, ‘I really love my BVK, what about the Impact 5 weight for trout?’ It was an epiphany. Holy wah~ YES! This would be a dynamite rod in a 4 or 5 weight for delicate presentations and accurate casts often required of my beloved BVK. Expect to see a 5 weight Impact in my arsenal in the near future.

We reached the take out in record time, just as a small trout came out after Randy’s deceiver, and then a big boy came out of the wood work to seal the deal. I was on the oars  testing out the new Pro-Loks when Randy muttered something under his breath, and then got a little more animated. “It’s a BIG one!” I quickly slid in the slack water and jumped for the net, perfect timing for a beautiful fish. Quick couple of shots for the camera and off to the depths from which he came. Now the debate- should we do the same float again? or head off to other water?

We saw a few BWO’s coming off, nothing worthy of switching to a dry fly game, but a couple of sporadic risers. The Hendrickson hatch will wait for warmer days ahead and promises to be a great Trout Opener next weekend. We made our way through a few newly uprooted trees and caught a couple more wth twice as many ‘hopeful’ chases out of the wood debris. Randy came through again in the end with a beast that charged halfway across the river and annihilated his streamer.

Beast Mode.

Next weekend will be packed on the rivers, we hope to see some of you out there enjoying the promise spring weather can afford.  Be sure to stop and say hello if you see us on the road or at the gas station. We will most likely be near the Lovells Historical Museum Leaky Wader Run at 10 am.  There will be plenty of people at Fuller’s NBOC exchanging stories and plans for the weekend on the water. We will have TRUE NORTH TROUT T-shirts on hand, also available in our store. Then headed to Anglers of The Au Sable Banquet, hope to see you there!!

Tight Lines,