Garden River Fishing Report

2017 Salmon Fishing Garden River Recap

Salmon Fishing Garden River

Salmon Fishing Garden River

Garden River 2017 Recap

Fly fishing on the Garden River First Nation for King, Pink and Coho salmon, along with steelhead is the best in the Midwest. The reason is privacy, this section is private,owned by the Garden River First Nation, a band of Ojibway Natives. No one is fishing where we are! The lack of pressure makes the salmon more likely to eat a fly and the steelhead beyond willing!

The Garden River fly fishing in 2017 started with a run of very large pink salmon. Usually when we have larger than normal pink salmon the numbers of fish is less than normal. That was not true in 2017, it was huge run of pink salmon. Fresh fish continued to move up the Garden River until the end of September!

Weather Struggles

Salmon Fishing Garden River

Garden River Steelhead

The dominant characteristic of 2017 season was the lack of rain and high air temperatures. The last significant rainfall was in the week of Sept 10th. After that a couple of small thunderstorms was it. The rainfall in the week of Sept 10th brought a nice run of large king salmon upstream along with a nice surprise, steelhead! For the next 10 days or so we had great fishing with all species available.

The Garden River Fly Fishing was humming right along until mother nature threw us a curve ball, 5 straight days on 90 degree temps and a continued lack of rain. This shut off the fish tap and started reducing water levels. The fishing suffered accordingly. Most noticeable was the lack of steelhead.

Salmon and Steelhead

The day that the weather broke we had high temps in the low 60’s with clouds and drizzle all day. That brought in another small push of kings but not many steelhead. That gave us enough fish to finish our Garden River 2017 adventure.

Many thanks to all of the anglers that fished with us up north in 2017. All in all it was a pretty good year. Weather hurt us a little but didn’t kill us!

Most of the customers rebooked their spots so we have limited availability in 2018. We have Sept 8-10, 4 spots. This date may be reduced to two days as it is prime pink salmon time and great for kids. Call for details of reduced pricing for children. On Sept 20-22 we have 4 spots available. These are prime time for all species with historically steelhead start showing up. Available dates are subject to change. Learn more about the Garden River on our Travel page.

If you have any questions or want to book one of the remaining openings give Capt. Chuck a call at 231-228-7135 

Summer Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan

Summer Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan

Summer Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan

Summer Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan

In Northern Michigan, the larger hatches are done around July fourth. That begins one of our favorite pastimes, Summer Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan. Many anglers put away their rods when the Hex hatch is over thinking that the best fly fishing of the year is behind us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Summer Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan can produce many surprises!

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Manistee River Trout fishing

CCC Boat Launch

New CCC Boat Launch

Access….critical to our use and enjoyment of Michigan’s many rivers. Kayaks, canoes, river boats, drift boats and humans all need safe and reliable access to the river. In addition we need access that does not harm the river by allowing sand in the stream or damaging streamside vegetation.

Last year long time property owner, Jim and Mary Ann Weber sold their place just downstream of CCC Bridge. The Weber’s believed strongly that the river belonged to everyone and graciously made their property available to launch and retrieve boats. This solved the problem with the launch on the upstream side of the bridge. It is narrow, concrete and often gets blocked by campers. Inadequate to say the least.

This is where the Upper Manistee River Association got involved to help. UMRA, with funding  primarily by Hawkins Outfitters clients, has lead the charge in improving canoe/boat launches between M-72 and Sand Banks. These launches were all existing but in disrepair, not protecting the river.

UMRA

UMRA and more specifically Dave Boberg, president and Jim Andersen, head of the restoration committee, jumped in and spearheaded an effort to build a launch on the downstream side of CCC Bridge. This has been a long and frustrating process. Due to the various entities that have to sign off on a project of this nature. However they have accomplished the seemingly impossible, all agencies necessary have signed off and permits are waiting. The money has been raised, thanks again to those that donated!

There is one final step, a comment period mandated by the DEQ. The purpose of this blog/correspondence is to ask all of you to hit this link below….

Since your comments can be very short and to the point I hope many of you take a moment and let the DEQ know how you feel.  Asa result we will hopefully have a dependable boat launch that protects the river is needed in the area of CCC Bridge.

Therefore thank you in advance for letting the DEQ know the need for this. Have a great summer.

Capt Chuck

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Division (WRD), has posted the following notice to the MiWaters home page.  To make comments and view documents please click on the following link: https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us/miwaters/#/external/publicnotice/info/-301210193690066715/details

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

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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.

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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.