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.
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!
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
Plan D Boat Articulated Fly Box
There are a lot of fly boxes on the Market today and most of them are designed very well, but tend to be somewhat repetitive. Today’s current fly tying craze incorporates a lot of “shanks” in the fly design and the current fly box designs on the market today do not allow these flies to be secured properly.
We tie a lot of “intruder” style spey flies for steelhead in our region and the fly design typically has a hook in the rear of the fly attached to a “shank”. This style of fly doesn’t store well in most of todays fly box designs and usually creates a mess of flash and fur over time for me to sort through. Well, there is a new fly box design on the market that is designed to work exclusively with a shank to rear hook fly design.
Enter PlanD Fishing Solutions and the New Plan D Boat Articulated Box!! We were able to get our hands on one of these new boxes and put it through a “guide” test and I must say it surpassed all of our expectations. The design is simple and compact, very durable, and more importantly it is easy to use and includes a foam patch on the outside to dry your flies after each use. More importantly the foam slits and stainless steel hooks secure your flies and keep the flies locked in place even after bouncing down the road and getting tossed about the boat.
The Plan D Boat Articulated Box compact size still allows you to carry 56 articulated streamers and will fit in most of todays standard boat bags without taking up a ton of space. Plan D Fishing Solutions also has a couple of other fly box configurations including an all articulated design (Pictured), a 50/50 configuration, and a standard foam slit design for standard flies. They also sell a couple of other models that incorporate a more compact fly box design with the same articulated fly configuration in a Pocket and Pack model for the walk in angler. I highly recommend this product and you can check out the boat box and their entire line of products on their Plan D website.
Support your Local Fly Shops. You can find the Plan D Boat Articulated Fly Box at the Northern Angler, Great Lakes Fly Fishing Co, and Schultz Outfitters.
Cherie and I are happy to announce that Jeff Topp has joined our guide team.
Jeff has been a full time fishing guide since 1996 when he started at Katmai Lodge in Alaska. He is now in charge of guide operations there. He’s also spent 4 years guiding in Chile. In 2000 he started guiding in Michigan, moving north in 2002 to tackle the Pine, Pere Marquette and Manistee. He is now an expert on those watersheds. Jeff has been written up in most major fishing magazines in both Alaska, Chile, and Michigan. He’s a great teacher, accomplished guide and a fun guy to spend a day with. Jeff’s newest passion during the winter months is fishing the backcountry in Florida for Tarpon, Snook and Redfish!
Jeff lives in the Wellston area and has a girlfriend, Keri. Keri is almost as fishy as he is. She loves to fish more than most. I’ve been trying to get Jeff on our team for years. Very pleased to have him and so will you if you get lucky enough to get in his boat. He has a few days left for fall steelhead, call Cherie to get one.
Cold Sinking Lines from Scientific Anglers
Scientific Anglers has created a couple of lines that couldn’t be more perfect for the conditions we encounter here in Michigan and for rivers that we fish in Patagonia and elsewhere. The Cold Sinking Lines are available with either 25 or 30 foot heads. They have a distinct advantage over conventional sink tips. In cool to cold temps they don’t tangle after being stripped in. This allows you to quickly and effectively recast. Perfect for robo casting hunting big fish.
The Sink Cold 25 has a twenty five foot had followed by a floating running line. I have fished it in the 250 grain weight and it performs flawlessly. The running line doesn’t tangle at your feet, you can throw it a mile, and it sinks quickly. Strip the color change into the tip and roll cast it to the surface. Make a back cast, haul on the forward stroke and watch it go! It makes for easy run and gun streamer fishing.
The Sink Cold 30 has all the same advantages as the 25 Cold but is a very different line in a couple of ways. The thirty-foot head is followed by an intermediate line, which slowly sinks. I fished the line in Patagonia using a 300 grain weight, it got down very quickly! This made it an ideal, and simple line to swing flies with on the Limay Medio. That is the guides preferred method to catch the migratory hog browns. The longer head did require a little more work to get it on the surface to cast especially the 300 grain. The effort was well worth the result. It sank quickly and swung beautifully. I have also stripped it on some of our larger waters like the Lower Manistee and have been very satisfied with it’s performance.
These lines cast easily, sink quickly and don’t tangle at your feet. It can’t get any better, at least until the folks at Scientific Anglers surprise us with something even better. Give the Cold Sinking Lines a try; you’ll be pleased you did.
Many anglers that I know in Northern Michigan consider the Sulphur hatch to be the very best hatch of the year. It is a fairly long and usually very prolific hatch. It can last as long as a month in northern Michigan. Due to the usually large numbers of bugs, Sulphurs will produce some very large fish for the size of the dry fly.
There are two Sulphurs, the Ephemerella invaria and the dorothea. The first to hatch the invaria is a size 12-14 and the next bug, dorothea is a size 16-18. Don’t worry, that’s the last of the Latin!
What you really need to know about sulphurs follows. It is good to carry Sulphurs from size 12 to 18. I’m a big fan of the Robert’s Yellow Drake pattern and use it primarily for my sulphur imitation. I carry it in all four sizes. Hatch times vary by bug and weather but look for them anytime from mid afternoon until dark for the little guys. Fish can get very selective on these flies. At times you may encounter duns of one size hatching and spinners of another size falling at the same time. They can also get focused on emergers of any size. Close observation is key here.
Speaking of spinners, they are a different color than the duns. Instead of the sulphur yellow they spin having changed to a tannish to rusty color. So again you need to have three or four sizes of rusty spinners. Sulphurs will spin over riffles very late in the day, even at dark.
To effectively fish the Sulphur hatch a fly angler should have emergers, duns and spinners in at least two sizes, 14 and 18. It is better to carry them in all four sizes, 12-18 if possible. You should be on the water by 3:00 pm and stay until close to dark. You need to be very observant because this time of year is generally the most complex time of year hatch wise. In addition to all of the sulphurs there are many other mayflies that may be present.
Good luck, see you on the water.
There has been a lot of talk lately about the value to an angler throwing streamers using “short rods”. These are rods that are usually between 7 and 8 feet long. I decided to buy a couple of Orvis Recon short rods and give them a shot. I purchased the eight and nine weight Orvis Recon short rods. They are seven feet eleven inches long.
The advantage of shorter rods is lees air resistance during your casting stroke and greater leverage when fighting large fish. Short rods also load fly lines with short heads very quickly. This allows you to deliver large bulky flies very quickly and accurately. These Orvis Recon short rods are extremely light and coupled with a very light reel are a pleasure to throw all day long. In particular my guides are using them to fish for muskie, pike, salmon and to robo cast big streamers hunting trophy trout. They do an exceptional job for anglers fishing from boats for the above species especially throwing big offerings.
As great as they are in the above circumstances they do have shortcomings (no pun intended). The biggest weakness is if you are the rear angler in a drift boat using these length rods. If the anglers are fishing the proper direction out of the boat (approximately 45 degrees) it is very difficult to deal with the guide’s oar. You are all over that oar. Roll casting takes a little more work with less height as well as casting over foliage behind you.
The bottom line…for good casters, chasing big fish with big offerings, they are great. Use some of the short head lines like the Scientific Anglers new Cold Lines and stay in the front of the boat you’ll find these Orvis Recon short rods can’t be beat. For average casters, wading their favorite streams using normal lines the work required to fish them probably isn’t worth the benefit.
Top Five Spring Steelhead Flies Most fly anglers eagerly await the start of the spring steelhead run. In this blog post I want to point out what I believe are the top five spring steelhead flies and when to use them. Any list of the top five steelhead flies for spring or for anytime has […]