The Spring Opener that kept on going…and going…

I had a very busy month of May, with three wonderful fishing adventures.  Two, with the Flygirls of Michigan, and one through Wilson’s  Fly Shop, where I was the lucky winner of a draw at the Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Forum in Burlington, Ontario in April.  That trip was to La Reserve Beauchene.

Before going into the details, I’d also like to say that while I was away, two Fly fishing friends passed away.  Jim Birkholm, known to many as James Castwell, was half of the founding team of Fly Anglers Online.  If you are into fly fishing and gathering info off the web, you will know what a great source of information Fly Anglers Online has been over the years.  It was the first fly fishing site I found online when I started this adventure. They have endured thought the years and stuck firm with a formula that worked as the site continues to thrive and has a healthy following.   I’ve met many fine people though this site, too…including Jim and Deanne Birkholm.     The Michigan “Fish In” became an annual event where a number of the FAOL gang would gather, including myself, “Mato Kuwapi”, “James Castwell” and “LadyFisher”.   Tight Lines Jim. 

David Prothero also passed away.  He was a fascinating  icon at the local shows in Ontario and a member of Winter Hatches Fly Tying Club.   Dave was an inspiration to all who met him.  I borrowed this photo from  Haveflywillfish

Dave , an avid fly angler and fly tier, suffered a stroke that left him totally paralyzed on his right side, at the age of 68.   He worked thought this hardship by teaching himself how to tie flies with his left hand and creating tools to assist him.  He inspired many to never give up.  He not only tied beautiful flies but he was known for tying very small patterns, down to 32. (the smallest hooks made) I was fortunate enough to take a couple of tying classes from Dave over the last few years. 

Trout Season opened for me with a Flygirls trip for Steelhead on the Manistee River in Michigan.  Our home base was Schmidt’s Outfitters.       See Last years post.       

     This year the fishing was outstanding.  All the tumblers clicked together.  I knew it was going to be good when the morning started with that perfect Steelhead Green water and  a perfect send off with a bald eagle flying alone with our boat as it moved up river towards our starting point.  I’d like to say I have lots of photos of steelhead.  I don’t.  I got my butt kicked royal.  I hooked about a dozen or so…I stopped counting.   Got some close to the boat, but that’s as good as it got.  I had on some of the biggest steelhead of my life, too.  I was expecting fish like our usual spring steelhead…around the 5-9 lb range…but these were behemoths.  Many in the 13-16 lb range.   Hopefully I’ll get to get a photo of one of these beauties NEXT YEAR!!!  In the mean time, I had a ball. 

  Our Guide, Larry Raney from Schmidt’s Outfitters.  Top notch all the way!!!

   Kelly with a big steelhead putting a band in her fly rod.  Larry was ready with the net…but the steelie wouldn’t have it.

  When the steelhead action slowed, it was time to streamer fish for the browns.   

  Shore Lunch.  Larry fed us very well. 

   More Flygirls drift on by. 

The next day we hit a  section  up river for some cute little trout. 

Kris lays out some line.


A typical early season, Manistee rainbow.

About ten days later it was back up to Camp Wa Wa Sum on the AuSable. (See Last year)

This has to be my favourite Flygirls outing.   No…it’s just my favourite outing, period.   I wouldn’t care if it rained all week.   Just the atmosphere of the place is worth it, but this year, the weather and fishing conditions were spectacular.  Certainly not what I was expecting when I packed up the car to head over there.  The weather report was calling for sub freezing temps at night, rain and cloud though the week. It’s one time I was glad the weatherman called it wrong.  WAY WRONG!  The sun was out every day, temps were in the 70s and it was so nice at night, three of us decided to sleep out on the porch, listening to the river below, the birds at dawn , fish rising  and watch the eagle fly by while enjoying our morning cuppa.










When we weren’t fishing we were exchanging information, tying flies, talking about rod building and just taking in the atmosphere.


The weather and the fishing couldn’t have been better. 

The nice thing about Photoshop is you can save photos that would have hit the trash heap, because they weren’t focused properly.  A nice afternoon on the South Branch AuSable. 

A favourite Michigan Delicacy .  Morels

When approaching the elusive Holy Water trout, be stealthy!   Sylvia DiAmilio  shows her form. 

To Be Continued….because the power is about to be shut off for the day, due to work being done on the house….


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