Steve Ladd

Steve Ladd

Steve Ladd

A Life Well Lived!

Last Sunday morning Steve Ladd, longtime friend, client and world traveling angler passed away from a heart attack in the kitchen of our river house. In the last 25 years Steve and I fished together very often, some years as many as 50 days. Ladd was gruff and opinionated on the outside and warm and giving on the inside. He was always first to donate to causes helping the rivers he loved, the Manistee and Pere Marquette. He contributed time and money to efforts to teach people to fly fish. He worked tirelessly for Project Healing Waters, getting wounded vets on the water fly fishing.

Steve was one of the most optimistic guys you would ever encounter, he believed that the Cubs would win the World Series, that his next cast would result in a 30 inch brown and that the Republicans would someday control the White House, Senate and House. Amazing how things came true.

Steve’s presence will be missed by many of us. Brown trout however are elated the world over. Rest in peace Laddie, I hope there are great trout streams in heaven

Hawk

Steve Ladd

Gray Drake

Gray Drake

Gray Drake

photo by Ann Miller

Gray Drake

Gray drakes are a very important hatch in some area rivers. Most notably the Pere Marquette and Muskegon Rivers though they occur in most of our trout streams.

Starting as early as mid May these size 10 or 12 mayflies are the first really big bug to show up. Gray Drakes spin at dusk generally in large numbers over riffles.

Gray Drakes are very easy to identify, the have a thin body and a very visable white stripe around the head.

Life Cycles

Read more

Dorado

Dorado

Dorado

Dorado

I’ve recently returned from three weeks of fishing in Argentina, my favorite place in the world to fish. Due to adding 8 days of fishing in northern Argentina, I’ve added another reason to spend time in Argentina with a fly rod, Dorado!!

They are beautiful, ferocious jumpers that take a fly readily. Consequently dorado are a fly anglers dream. Dorado are one of the most bad ass fish I’ve caught. Another plus is the fishing reminds me of trout fishing, hitting structure, running seams etc. Most of all imagine trout that average 8 pounds, can reach 40 pounds and you have dorado.

 

The Lodge

Parana on the Fly, a signature lodge from Andes Drifters was my home away from home. Andres and Marcello, the co-owners do a fantastic job with their lodge. The boats are an outstanding craft to fish the varied waters of the Parana and its tributaries. The lodge is comfortable, food terrific and the guides very good at what they do. This old estancia on the river is quaint and comfortable. In addition WiFi, air-conditioning and great service are all included.

Species

DoradoForming the border between Argentina and Paraguay the Parana River is a huge river system. As a result it almost seems like a lake until you toss a fly into a log jam and see how fast the water is moving. The Parana is considered to have the largest dorado in the world.  That’s due to their preferred food item, a fish known as a sabalo. I saw millions of these 6 to 16-inch-long fish. That abundance helps to grow these large dorado. Hence, I estimate that 8 pounds is average, 12-15 pounds very common and 20-40 pounds possible!

In addition to dorado there are other species to catch with both dry flies, nymphs and streamers. These include but are not limited to Pacu, Pira Pita, Boga and Piranhas. Almost everything has teeth! Howler
monkeys in the background, an occasional alligator sighting and beautiful sunsets all combine to make this a very exciting fishing experience.

Tackle

Preferred tackle are 7 and 8 weight rods loaded with floating or intermediate saltwater lines. As a result of so much wood in the water you need to stay high in the water column.The typical dorado set up for me was an 8 weight Helios loaded with an SA Saltwater Intermediate Titan line. To that Andres attached a 9- foot leader that was 50 lb. test at the end. In addition he added 12-18 inches of 40# wire as a bite guard.

Flies

The flies we used were between 6 and 8 inches long. Eli at Great Lakes Flies tied up a bunch Doradofor me that were outstanding, Dorado especially  found the Optimus Swine JR to their liking . In addition, the guides all had their favorites. Black, black and chartreuse and black and yellowwere the dorados favorite colors. The flies were generally light weight, consequently they were not that difficult to cast once you got used to the leader. Many of the hits were on flies that were very close to the surface. The hits were all followed immediatly by multiple jumps and short runs. Most of all, it’s great fun!

Conclusion

Finally, if you are looking for a destination in winter that provides exceptional angling opportunities, a great lodge and a new fishing environment, Dorado fishing at Parana on the Fly should be at the top of your list.

Andes Drifters and Parana on the Fly are represented in the Midwest by Hawkins Outfitters. Due to the extensive experience I have in Argentina I will help you plan your next winter fishing trip to Argentina. Check out our Travel page for additional  trips we offer. Also I will help with travel, equipment, flies and the nuances of traveling in Argentina. Visit either lodge or both, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.

For more information contact Chuck  or give us a call  231-228-7135!

Dorado

Hex hatch

Hexagenia Limbata

The Hex Hatch The most highly anticipated may fly hatch in Michigan is the hex hatch. These large mayflies bring the largest fish in the river up to the surface to feed. Hexagenia Limbata is a floating filet mignon to a trout. Therefore the Hex Hatch, whether duns or spinners probably produces more large trout […]

Isonychia

Isonychia bicolor Dun – Slate Drake

Isonychias, are the best mayfly for anglers in Michigan! In Michigan, and elsewhere, the Isonychia mayfly provides the best dry fly opportunities of the year. That’s heresy to many in fly anglers in Michigan, who would argue vehemently that the mighty Hex beats Isonychias hands down. Isonychias are the best mayfly in Michigan for many […]

Big Manistee River Steelhead

Hawkins Outfitters Best Fishing Memories of 2016

Do you have Fishing Memories of 2016? We do! Hawkins Outfitters is fortunate to have a very large repeat angler business. Most of these repeat anglers are friends, we’ve spent many days together in the boat. I often get asked “why did you and the guys on your team choose such a difficult job”? There are […]

Proposed Resistance Board Weir

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has received a request to permit the placement of an anchoring system of a temporary resistance board weir (RBW) on National Forest System lands in the Manistee River. The seasonal weir is intended to aid in the Adult Lake Sturgeon Monitoring Project being conducted by the Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians (applicant). The proposed project site is located on the Manistee Wild and Scenic River approximately one river kilometer downstream from the Rainbow Bend Access Site.

Read more by clicking this link – Resistance_Board_Weir_Scoping_Letter_Final


 

Please submit your written or hand-delivered comments to District Ranger Jim A. Thompson, USDA Forest Service, Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District, 412 Red Apple Road, Manistee, MI 49660, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or faxed to (231) 723-8642, or emailed to comments-eastern-huron-manistee-manistee@fs.fed.us (must be readable by Microsoft Office 2007 or Adobe Acrobat 6.0 formats). It would be most helpful if comments were received prior to January 20, 2017, although comments will be accepted at any time.

Please include the following:

  1. 1)  name, address, telephone number, organization represented and title;
  2. 2)  title of the project on which the comments are being submitted;
  3. 3)  specific facts and supporting reasons regarding your comments.

In addition, an open house will be held on December 20th from 3:00 to 7:00 pm at the Days Inn Conference Room in Manistee, MI. Representatives from the applicant and the USFS will be available to discuss the project.

Comments received in response to the project will become a matter of public record. If you have questions or need additional information regarding the project, please contact Mark A. Herberger at (231) 723-2211, ext. 3109, or write to USDA Forest Service, Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District, 412 Red Apple Road, Manistee, MI 49660. Copies of the final decision will be mailed to people who have submitted comments on this proposal and to anyone who requests a copy of these documents.


 

Manistee River steelhead fishing

Manistee River Steelhead Fishing

Manistee River steelhead fishing is some of the best steelhead fly fishing in the Great Lakes, maybe even the lower 48 states. Anglers from all over the country travel to Michigan for Manistee River steelhead fishing. The Manistee and other northwest lower Michigan rivers have steelhead in them from late September to well into May.

Dorado Trip to Panara

Dorado Trip to Parana

Dorado Trip to Panara

Chuck Hawkins is hosting a Dorado trip to Parana on the Fly  Lodge in Corrientes, Argentina, April 1-7, 2017

Dorado are considered by many knowledgeable anglers to be the fiercest fresh water fish in the world. The Upper Parana River has the biggest Dorados in the world! We are fishing the Upper Parana River In Correntes Province. Were we fish is a section of the river known as Alto Parana, which is the tail water of Yacyreta Dam.

Floating line streamer fishing is the most effective method for catching dorado. They are an ambush predator, so much like trout fishing here in Michigan you are casting to structure created by rocks and wood. Fantastic fights follow when you hook up. These fish run and jump with the best of them. Average fish run 5-10 pounds, most anglers will land a fish around 20 pounds and most weeks behemoth 40 pounders are caught.

In addition to dorado the Parana River system holds good numbers of Pacu (8 to 12 pounds) and Pira Pita (to 10 pounds). These fish are caught on dry flies mimicking fruits and flowers. Both species are highly sought after gamefish. The large size of these fish coupled with a dry fly rise situation makes them a very fun quarry.

An average week (if there is such a thing) will see an angler land 15-30 Dorado per angler plus 10-20 Pira-Pitas, and 2-3 Pacu. Big mean fish on streamers and dry flies, warm weather and a great lodge, what a trip!

The cost is $4450 per week all-inclusive except gratuities and flights.  This price is based on two anglers to a room and a boat. You will fly into Buenos Aries Saturday morning arriving by noon. You will catch a connecting flight to Corrientes at 4:00 Pm arriving there at 5:30. You will fish all day for 6 days and then depart Corrientes Saturday morning April 8th for your flight home.

Come join me on this world class adventure!

Chuck Hawkins

231-228-7135

 

Words are hard to describe these great fish. You can get a good feeling for the water, the lodge and the fishing by watching this video


 

Upper Parana, River of Gold & Mystery. from Andes Drifters on Vimeo.