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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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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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 […]

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 […]

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.

Jeff Topp

Fishing Guide Jeff Topp

 

Jeff Topp

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 Jeff Toppmagazines 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.

Hawk

Sonar Cold Lines

Cold Sinking Lines from Scientific Anglers

Cold Sinking Lines from Scientific Anglers

Manistee River Trout Fishing

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.

Hawk

steelhead flies

Top 5 Spring Steelhead Flies

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 […]