The Hex Hatch The most highly anticipated may fly hatch in Michigan is the hex hatch. These big 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 […]
Update to the story
The US Forest Service has decided to not implement the ban in 2019 but instead has agreed to let local authorities address the problem in 2019. They have reserved the right to implement it in 2020. It seems obvious that they have bowed to pressure from the merchants.
Alcohol is no longer permitted on parts of three of our favorite rivers in Northern Michigan. All are within the Huron-Manistee Forest. This new policy affects the National Wild and Scenic River sections of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine rivers.
The Huron-Manistee National Forests announced the decision recently.
“This closure order is intended to address persistent public safety issues and protect natural resources on rivers of outstanding recreational value,” said Huron-Manistee National Forests Supervisor Leslie Auriemmo.
“Our goal is to create a safer, more sustainable, and more enjoyable experience for the thousands of visitors who recreate on our National Wild and Scenic Rivers each year.”
In Norther Michigan the AuSable National Wild and Scenic River begins below Mio Pond and extends to the upper end of Alcona Pond. It makes up 23 miles of the 138-mile waterway that runs through Northern Michigan and enters Lake Huron.
The Manistee and Pine National Wild and Scenic Rivers are each 26 miles with the Manistee section running from Tippy Dam to the M-55 Bridge.
This order will remain in effect throughout the summer recreation season, which runs from May 24 to September 2.
Specifically, it will apply on and within 200 feet of the:
· AuSable River between Mio Dam Pond and 4001 Canoe Landing
· Manistee River between Tippy Dam and the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ administrative boundary (map)
· Pine River between Elm Flats and Low Bridge.
Private lands, developed campgrounds, and designated campsites within those river corridors will not be affected. Violation of the order is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for up to five years.
This will not effect the fishing, should only make the weekend experience even greater with some of the silliness now being eliminated. While we all enjoy a few cold ones from time to time, please keep this in mind this summer and save yourself a hefty fine.
Transition to Fall Fishing
August is the time that we transition to fall fishing. Towards the end of August, we start to wean ourselves off terrestrials, mousing and smallmouth and begin to think migratory fish, salmon, steelhead, and muskie. Between now and then our focus remains on resident trout and smallmouth bass.
August and September is prime time for the Pine River, Lower Michigan’s most unique river. Cold, fast and the lower peninsula’s most prolific rainbow trout fishery, the Pine River is a blast to fish. In summer the Pine fishes very well with foam hopper creations. As the water begins to cool in early fall the streamer bite can explode. Fishing smaller offerings that are heavily weighted in natural colors. If you streamer junkies are looking for one more streamer excursion before switching to migratory fish, the Pine River should be in your sights. We don’t have a lot of days available in August and September but check with Cherie to see what’s available.
Streamers for Kings
By the end of August King Salmon are in our rivers in good numbers. This is streamer time for these fresh brutes. While rarely a numbers game, the pull from a fresh king slamming your tight line offering is something you’ll never forget. Throwing streamers in low light then switching to smallmouth is a fun day on the water. If you want to give this a try make sure to have plenty of Flash Monkey’s tied up.
As we move into September Kings and Muskie take center stage. Steve and Tim generally have available days for king salmon fishing below Tippy Dam. This is a great venue for beginning anglers and kids. Lots of action sight fishing for big fish.
Garden River Salmon
If it’s salmon you are looking for the Garden River in Sault St Marie, Canada, is a special place. This is private water owned by the Garden River First Nation. I’m there usually there from around September 10th to the end of
the month. The earlier dates are perfect for children and beginners as most of the fish will be pink salmon. There will 100’s of them and they are fun to catch. We offer a two-day special, one adult and one child for $1000. The later dates are when in addition to kings, we start to hunt cohos and steelhead. These trips are three days and run $995
If muskie fishing intrigues you Jon Ray and Ed McCoy have a September venue that they fish every year. The area is in Michigan but shall remain unnamed unless you have a serious interest in capturing one of these elusive, apex predators! Contact us about open dates and more information.
Manistee River Fall Steelhead
Finally, a quick reminder, fall steelhead is the highest demand time of year at Hawkins Outfitters. Jon, Ed, Jeff and I might have a few days available, but not many. Our newest team members, Steve and Tim have days available. If interested give us a call to check availability and then get some days in the calendar.
Years ago, Kirk Deeter stated in Field and Stream Magazine that Michigan is the best state in the union to fly fish mainly due to the great fly fishing for a huge diversity of species. The transition to fall fishing is the epitome of that. Trout, smallmouth, muskie, salmon, and steelhead. So many fish, so little time!
Give Cherie a call to book any of this at 231-228-7135
Fishing Foam Patterns Fishing Foam Patterns during the middle of the summer is pretty standard because there are less natural aquatic insects hatching. Trout are keying in on terrestrials, like grasshoppers, ants, and beetles. While simply throwing out a foam pattern into the river will work, there are a few techniques and tips that we […]
SA Frequency Magnum Glow Line
The SA Frequency Magnum Glow Line is a specialty line for those that enjoy the pursuit of big brown trout in the dark. I have been fortunate to use this fly line guiding since it’s release. Scientific Anglers is based in Midland, Mi. This glow line was tested by the pros on the AuSable and Manistee Rivers. This is home of some of the best night time fisherman in the country. Michigan has had a long history of night fishing because of some of our mayfly hatches. Some believe mousing was actually created by anglers in Michigan.
Better Dead Drifts
The SA Frequency Magnum Glow Line main goal is to help anglers achieve a better dead drift. One of the secrets to hooking big brown trout is having a perfect drift. Big browns are big for one reason, they are wary. One of the most difficult things about fishing in the dark, is knowing what your fly is doing. The SA Frequency Magnum Glow Line is charged with a headlamp or small UV light. You actually see what your line is doing. This works even in some of the darkest corners where the big trout live. Read more
Fly Patterns for Michigan Hatches
I remember way back (45 years ago) when I was learning to fly fish out west, the most intimidating facet of the sport was bugs. Pale Morning Duns, Blue Wing Olive, Green Drakes, I had no idea what these were or how to proceed in learning more.
Fast forward 35 years. One night during Hex and Brown Drake (the big bugs) season my son, Zach, was wade fishing while I was on the water, working. When all the guides and customers gathered in a friend’s garage Zach was showing a picture of a nice brown that he landed that night. A customer of one of the other guides asked Zach “how did you know what fly to use”? Watching from across the room I wanted to make sure that Zach was polite and respectful. He said to the angler “ just a moment sir, I’ll be right back”. Minutes later he returned with his fly box, opened it and told the angler “I catch the bug that the fish are eating, set it in my fly box and pick the bug that looks like the natural”! At 10 years old he had that figured out. Read more
The Pine River, near Cadillac, Michigan is a tributary of the Manisttee River. It joins the Manistee in Tippy Pond above Tippy dam. The rive is 53.5 miles long. Dominated by groundwater inflows, it is the coldest, fastest river in Lower Michigan. This groundwater keeps the Pine River temperatures always 69 degrees or colder.
The Pine River, like most northern Michigan Rivers, has been abused and neglected. The Pine River was dammed by an earthen dam in 1918. The dam was quickly rendered useless by the large sand load that built up behind it. Prior to the dam the river was used, to it’s great detriment, to move saw logs down stream. It’s banks were torn up creating huge erosion problems.6px;”>
The dam remained until 1997 when it was slowly removed as part of a negotiation for the relicensing of Tippy Dam by The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Dam removal was completed in 2003. Since removal of the dam the stream channel is forming again, gravel substrate is increasing in quantity and size, and fish populations are spreading in the river. Fish populations, especially brown and rainbow trout have increased by more than 250%. Read more
The Hendrickson Hatch is the first major mayfly hatch of significance. It usually arrives around opening day in Northern Michigan. Being a size 12 or 14 it is a big bug that hatches at the beginning of the season. Many times on the Ausable below Mio dam, or the Upper to Lower Manisttee I’ve encountered good hatches and spinner falls during the same float. Getting two bites at the dry fly apple with big fish rising is a great day.This larger morsel brings good fish to the surface! Hendricksons are the first and one of the best.
Like all of our mayflies Hendricksons hatch and spin during the best time of day. In the case of hendricksons most hatches occur mid afternoon (the warmest time of day) however on some rivers there can be a pre-emergence around 11:00 in the morning. This is why Hendricksons have the nickname of the gentlemen’s hatch. You can stay up late playing cards and drinking and still be on the water when the action starts! The spinner fall is usually in the early evening before temps fall to low. The Hendrickson mayfly is one hardy little guy. I’ve seen hatches where I had duns landing in my boat on three inches of snow. Read more
Red Bridge on the Manistee River will be closed this summer!
The bridge on Coates Highway crossing the Manistee is slated for replacement this coming summer. Beginning on or about April 2nd and through August the road will be completely closed while they replace the approximately 200 foot long bridge. The project is slated for completion at the end of September, 2019.
Smallmouth Bass and Trout Fishing
The water above and below the bridge is one of our favorite big smallmouth destinations in July and August. Where the bridge crosses the river is the back waters of Tippy Pond. This area has great smallmouth bass water. It’s also the take out spot for the trout water above the bridge coming down from Hodenpyl Dam near Mesick. In addition to great fishing water the river from Hodenpyl to Red Bridge is a very popular canoe and kayak destination. Along with amazing hiking along the North Country Trail.
Manistee County Road Commissioner, Mark Shodden has stated that the boat ramp will stay open during the entire construction process. He has requested that all river users be cautious when on the water near the bridge. The good news is that we will still be able to fish that water though detours will be required to get to it.
Capt. Chuck Hawkins
Chuck Hawkins and Russ Maddin featured in a new book, America’s Favorite Flies
This is a new book, America’s Favorite Flies. It showcases 224 favorite flies from such notables as Yvon Chouinard, Lefty Kreh, Joan Wulff, Craig Mathew, Huey Lewis and others including Russ and I. All of the profits are given to two nonprofit organizations. They are the Native Fish Society and the James River Association.
America’s favorite Flies is fun to read. In addition to Russ and I, I’ve seen other Michigan anglers featured. John Kluging and Dennis Potter are in the book. Each fly tier answered some questions and did a write up about themselves and or the fly the called their favorite fly. I’ve enjoyed both the stories and the photos, I’m sure you will too . There is also a ton of artwork by well know artists including Dave Ruimveld, Bob White and others. This is a substantial book, 656 pages, 1700 color images, it weighs 7 1/2 pounds! It is is a great coffee table book for the avid fly angler! You can get more information about it at American’s Favorite Flies.
How to Purchase America’s Favorite Flies
America’s Favorite Flies is available for sale for $145, shipping included, directly from the printer. It may be purchased by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 231-228-7135. If you would like Russ and I to sign it, we will be happy to! Just add $10 to the price to cover the extra shipping.
As Jason Borger says in the introduction “These pages represent the diverse fly patterns of a diverse group of anglers,but more than that these pages celebrate experiences and revere waters. With an underlying mission of preservation and conservation, America’s Favorite Flies is a visually engaging storybook for all fly fishers who share such ideals”
Many thanks to John Bryan and Rob Carter for inviting Russ and I to participate and for creating such a beautiful book.