Flygirls Spring Steelhead and Trout weekend on the Manistee

Spring has sprung.  The grass has riz and the trout season is now officially open.   I’ve been lax with my additions to this blog but what else is new.  I was busy building a web site for our local fly fishing club over the past couple of months. 

  I can tell you that I’ve spent way too much time sitting on my heinie  over the winter.  It’s not going unnoticed either, as everything hurts big time, after a weekend of fishing. 

The outing was with the Flygirls of Michigan.  

I joined up with them last this past winter.   This is a great club.  I highly recommend it.  Click the logo for the link.    I used to think, "Why would anyone need a women’s fly fishing club".  After all, the only difference between men and women fly anglers was how they answered natures call in the woods.  Right?  It took me a couple of years but I finally figured out why "I" needed a women’s fly fishing club.  If you want company on the river and to go on extended fishing trips, this answers that need.  Lets face it…the guys won’t be too eager to ask some aging married female  along on a trip.  Women are few and far between at the moment in this sport.  Over time I’m sure this will change but too late for many of us.   Its  also a safe and welcome environment for those women who feel intimidated by walking into a club that is wall to wall men.   That was my experience but I’m not easily intimidated.  Besides…the men  often  fall over you to help get you started and the best part of that is that they tell you things they wouldn’t tell their best buddies, like favourite fishing holes and the secret fry pattern.   

  So if you’re looking to go fishing with other women this sort of thing is ideal and they offer great opportunities  at really affordable prices for every skill level.   It’s too bad this group isn’t in every state and province but that’s not saying it won’t be possible to start up something where you live.  I’m sure you can find help from this group to get yours up and running.

So on with the trip!   We were up in Wellston , Michigan this weekend, floating down the Manistee River, fishing for trout and steelhead.    I wanted to take the opportunity to work on my streamer fishing and see if I could bring up a big brown trout.   I also learned how to "chuck and duck" with a running line and pencil lead.  It’s not  what I though of as fly fishing but it does come in handy in the type of water we were floating.    The water is deep, the bottom uneven and the flow is  fast!  Chucking lead and lots of it, is the only way to get your fly to the bottom here.     I’ll be getting some running line for the fall!  LOL   

So your wondering how the fishing went.  I raised a lot of browns…several  large browns, too….and I hooked one beauty….but in the end I couldn’t keep him out of the logs!  D’uh!!      It doesn’t matter.  It’s just one less photo, but the thrill of seeing him hit that fly, feel that BIG tug and  seeing him come jumping out of the water was enough for me.  He sure was pretty!!   My intent was to learn all I could about fishing streamers for trophy trout.  I did just that and what fun it was, too. My thanks goes to our wonderful guide, Chris Martin  out of Schmidt Outfitters.   I love those BIG Galloup flies for sure!!   I tied up a bunch of them over the winter and now they are going to get the fished out of them over the rest of the season.    There is something about streamer fishing that is just as addictive as dry fly fishing, only more exiting. 

I also had the privilege of having Ray Schmidt assist me with my fly casting.  I’ll take all the pointers I can get from this man.   He is one of the very best and could tell me what others instructors could not, in a kind and constructive manner.   I now know not only what needs fixing but he gave me what I needed to know so I could figure out how to fix it.   I’ll be working on it for sure, over the next several weeks.


Ray teaching some of the girls.

This link is a video of Ray teaching how to tie the STS Bugger !

This is my drift boat partner, Kelly,  bringing in a spring steelhead with our guide, Chris at the net.

Some of the Fly Girls working hard for a trout.

After dinner discussion  during an informal gathering of the Flygirls at Schmidt’s Conference Centre.

The facilities are truly awesome.  There’s the fully equipped fly shop,

great advise, top notch guides, a casting pond, and sparkling clean lodgings to suite every need.

Most of the group stayed in these units.  There are three different buildings within this well wooded area, containing several units.   Your only minutes from great fishing too. 


Some of us stayed down the road at  Schmidt’s Pine Creek lodge…

(Click photo for larger view)

It was a great place to end each day.

I hope to get back up this way again soon.   Next stop!!!  Wa Wa Sum.  See you on the Au Sable!!


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