2019 flew by like a tornado through a trailer park in Mancelona. Fast and furious. Did it feel like that for you as well? What does 2020 hold in store for you? Care to make any resolutions or promises? Here is a quick recap from northern Michigan guiding and playing in our water wonderland.
Last year started off like any other year, running the show circuit, seeing and talking to many other fervent anglers eager to get out on the river and test out new rods and fly patterns only to be met with one of the coldest and wettest April’s on record. Hatches were deferred for weeks and fish were sated from all the rain and snow melt when spring finally decided to make her arrival. The fish caught, although few, were beefy and had wintered well, strong and healthy. The Hex hatch hopefuls booked their trips months in advance only to be met with decent drake hatches- not a mega Hexagenia limbata to be found until closer to July. Record high water on the Great Lakes has backed up many lower river sections and slowing the flows to some extent. We made the best of it and had some great evenings. We floated some new water, sometimes out of necessity- bridges were being replaced or car spotters had gone on vacation, and look forward to exploring more with fellow guides on our days off. August came with some intensity, putting some of our bug schedules back on track and heaving a healthy dose of much needed terrestrial time for those who sought to bang tall grassy banks with foam imitations.
Being able to attend IFTD in Denver was a high point for me personally. Repping for Umpqua and TFO has allowed me to finally meet and shake hands with many of the industry giants in person. Which also brings up one of my resolutions for 2020. We often make casual promises to one another- “We need to fish sometime.” casually interjected over morning coffee at an Expo or at a Fly Fishing Film Festival. I intend to make those empty promises more legit. I have two or three dates in my black book already reserved for anglers who have complied with ending the ‘False Promises’ and we shall actually fish together in 2020.
Here are a few other Resolutions from anglers across the HOOK SHOTS crowd. I made far too many trips to Colorado for sales meetings without bringing a fly rod- that will hopefully change in 2020. Same goes for sales meetings in Dallas, Texas- there are a few fisheries down there I need to explore with fellow TFO anglers. I was fortunate enough to fish salt with Captain Rick Worman of Flatline Guide Service and connect with a few Drum and Redfish near Melbourne Florida. Check out the Banana/Indian River if you get to visit the Great Space Coast.
We had good start to show season a few weeks back in Grand Rapids with decent attendance at the Delta Plex. I hope the Great Lakes Council of Fly Fishers keeps this venue and date in order for it to grow with success in the coming years. In the coming months, I will be busy on the road for Temple Fork Outfitters and Umpqua Feather Merchants. Cincinnati Fly show is February 1, Columbus Fishing Expo February 7,8, & 9. I will tying at Jays in Gaylord January 25 and at Cabelas in Dundee on January 18, 2020. The Midwest Fly Fishing Expo is March 14 & 15– be sure to stop by and check out the latest in fly gear from TFO and UFM.
We will be watching our rivers and keeping a close eye on developments as we all eagerly await possible Grayling re-introduction. Whether you are for or against, it is a noble concept and could be a great resource for a few of our cold rivers in northern Michigan.
Another goal in 2020- spend more time with my girls on the river. Not merely making empty promises, we need to engage our children in the outdoors so we can have the next generation care about the resources we work so hard to preserve. If you are looking for potential projects, The Mayfly Project is expanding all over Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. The Mayfly Project introduces Foster children to the beauty and serenity of our rivers through Fly fishing. This is a great opportunity for passing on our passion for the resources. Even if you can only volunteer to do a fly tying session or streamside bug sampling, these kids truly appreciate and enjoy time in the outdoors without counselors or Social Workers asking questions that may bring up hurtful memories. Make a difference and volunteer.
Here is to wishing you a very prosperous and Fishy 2020!!