Even caught a fish

Well, I have been busier than busy, but am finally posting because I was able to take a short fishing break this morning.

I went to the home waters looking for a few bluegill, and maybe a smallmouth if I was lucky.


Instead I caught a rainbow trout. It was only a stocked juvenile steelhead, but I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been fishing this stretch for several years now, and I’ve never seen trout in this water. I took the water temp, and it was just over 60 degrees. Who knows… It was a nice surprise, but at this point I’m calling it a fluke.

home waters

October Trip

To say I have been a little busy the last few months is an understatement. Life is full of ups and downs, and there has been plenty of things thrown my way over the last few months, and I am now finally posting about my fishing trip I took up to the AuSable back in October.

My friends and I were headed up to a men’s retreat for the weekend, and we made plans to go fishing just prior to the retreat. Now that I know there is an Amish Bakery just outside of Mio, I like to make the stop there to pick up a breakfast-on-the-go or snacks for later. The homemade pecan rolls or peanut butter cookies are usually my choice.

We first stopped off at a section of the NB of the AuSable to try our luck with the brookies. I found a pod of fingerlings that were willing to go after some tiny BWOs, but one of us found a pod of fish with this nice brookie.


Definitely a good sized brook trout, and especially for that section of the river.

The sun played hide and seek with the clouds, but the good news was it wasn’t raining on us. After fishing in and out the the section of river we were at, we decided to move to our next and last spot for the day. This is one of my favorite spots that I tend to go back to almost every fishing trip to the Au Sable area. I know it is a beautiful spot to fish, but I also like it because of the history it holds with regards to being a stomping ground for people like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.


We got geared up at the access point, and if you fish the NB, then you probably know this spot as well. We decided to split up and headed in separate directions,hoping to run into some more brookie pods.


The highlight of my day was a nice brown I pulled out of a log jam on my new “go-to” streamer I’ve been using for the last two years.


I decided to lay this guy out for a picture against my fly rod so I could measure the length later. This was an above average brown trout from what I’ve caught on the NB. That’s probably not saying much, but he was a nice one in my book.


It was another fun trip to one of my favorite places to fish. Hopefully, I’ll get to do it again soon. Winter has only just began, and I can already fill Spring fever setting in.

September Au Sable Trip

My family and I spent several days in Grayling, MI, and I was able to get on the river and even hook into some fish.

The first day had what I would consider normal fishing for this time of year. I was on the north branch of the river, and was expecting to get into some brook trout, and I did. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera this day and don’t have any pictures, but it was still fun to get into a handful of fish.

The next day was oddly slow. There were barely any bugs on the water, and streamers weren’t working. I did catch one really nice brookie on a beadhead streamer, but it was the only fish I saw all day.


That afternoon, I took my daughter fishing for the first time. I took her to an access point that is busy, but has a good chance of catching a fish, and is very shallow. She seemed to have a lot of fun.


The next day I stopped at Gates Lodge to pick up some flies and a streamers I was lacking…


After picking up the streamers, we headed back to a different spot on the north branch, but it was another very slow day.

I took the opportunity to head off to some waters I’ve never been to before. I was actually trying to do some creek fishing, but the creek I was targeting was barely a trickle upon my arrival. We decided to head to the main branch, and my father-in-law had landed a nice fish on second cast. It would be the only fish of the day, but I was glad to visit some new areas.


That night a front rolled in, and I woke up to hear a downpour outside. The rain continued off and on, and I hit the stream mid-morning. After only a few minutes I hooked into this nice brown on a black bugger:


Here’s a different angle of the same fish to see the length against my fly rod:


We had a few more fish on, and a few more bites, as we waded downstream for the last time of our trip. The fishing was definitely slow, but it was still an amazing time.

A short fishing trip

A few days back, my father-in-law and friend, and I traveled over to a new place to fish. My friend had a float trip on the Huron River a few weeks prior, and I had really wanted to get over to try out the fishing on this warm water fishery.

I’ve heard stories of the late-August hex hatch combined with a river full of smallmouth bass, and I had dreams of hooking into a slew of smallies. The reality was we had a fun time exploring some new water, stopping at a new fly shop, and hooking into a handful of fish.

We stopped at Colton Bay Outfitters before we hit the water, because I wanted to pick up a couple hex flies just in case. I also picked up a couple streamers and a book on the Huron written by local fisherman Dirk Fischbach.

We headed out to one of the metro-parks that lie along the river north west of Ann Arbor, and found a nice little spot with a short hike to the river. After a long while, my father-in-law caught a giant creek chub a ways down from where I was standing.


Both him and my friend hooked into a smallie, but I came up empty handed as we decided it was time to move onto a different location. We loaded up in the car and headed down to the next metro-park, and hopped into a nice section of the river. My father-in-law hooked into a little smallie right away, and I decided to wade into a section just above where he was fishing that looked promising. I switched over to a black conehead rabbit-strip streamer, and after about 20 casts I hooked into a nice little smallie.


The sun began to sink, and we continued to fish alonga nice section of the river. My friend said he started to see a hex spinner fall as dusk hit, but I don’t think we had any more bites the rest of the time there. We decided to pack it up as the light dwindled, and headed back home. It was a great time learning new water, and hooking into some fish as well.


My first fly rod build

So, I have decided to embark into another realm of the fly fishing world. I have decided to build my own fly rods. Well, at least I’m going to give it a try. I ordered up enough parts to build three rods as “trial builds”, and so that I could lump the shipping costs together and buy some of the materials in bulk.

I ordered the hardware, glues, thread and tools from Hook and Hackle and Janns Netcraft. Based on some recommendations I found on several rod building forums, I ordered the blanks from Sevier Manufacturing. Lastly I found a web site for a company called Cork Specialties where I was able to get the grips for a very good price.

While the parts where on the way, I decided to build a rod wrapping jig. I found plans on some different web sites ranging from fancy wooden jigs to modified show boxes, and I figured it would be easy enough to come up with something decent. I bought two pieces of poplar and some screws from Home Depot. Combined with some scrap wood, my hole saw, and a chop saw, I was able to put this together in about an hour.


The parts started to arrive, and I decided that my first rod built would be for my first daughter. I began building a pink and purple 6-foot 2/3wt for her. I found a purple aluminum reel seat on Ebay to match, and the first thing I did was installed the reel seat and grip using U-40 Rod Bond paste.


Next I began wrapping the hook keeper and guides onto the rod. I choose purple thread on black hardware, and I think it is turning out pretty good so far. There are a few fuzzies showing up on the thread wraps,but after some epoxy goes on I should be able to shave them off.


I purchased a rod drying motor from Janns Netcraft for around $12, and am planning on building a drying jig next based on my wrapping jig. I am almost done wrapping the the guides to the rod, and then I will put some decorative wraps in, and then I should be able to begin the process of applying the epoxy to the guides. I will try to post more updates to the blog as I finish the rod up and start into my next one.


Birds of a different feather

If you haven’t heard yet, there is a fashion trend sweeping the nation where folks are putting feathers in their hair. These feathers happen to be the same feathers that fly tyers use to make their flies.

I noticed on the front page of Google news that there was even a story in the NY Times about it:

I heard about this phenomenon months ago, but I am guessing that the trend is about to peak out here over the next couple months.

One good prediction I’ve heard is that the feather production will increase to meet demand, but demand will drop off rapidly, and the price of feathers may end up tanking. So, maybe it will work out in the best interest of fly tyers in the end.