After 45 minutes on our local U.P. trout stream I questioned my sanity at being there. I mean 55 degree temps are only a few days away in the forecast what part of my lizard brain thought that going out on a 40 degree day with 20 mph nasty cold wind and 35 degree water would be a good idea?
I gritted through the first hour by telling myself how beautiful this area is and how I have all the prime trout water all to myself while some other fools are battling center pinners for steelhead spots. Ah...serenity. Wait, what...leaky wader? Dammit. Mellow officially harshed. Reality crashing in, 9/10 digits are about frozen off, and the wind feels stronger and colder than it did when I arrived. And no fish. Not even a tickle.
I started with small patterns, BWO nymphy stuff. Then went eggs. Then went larger nymphs. Still nada. Brrrrrrr. What was I thinking coming out here? Ok, time to look for different water and eat. Maybe food will help. Sandwich consumed and a 8oz shot of Mt. Dew. Now to force myself to wade out to the bigger slower water. Leaky wader be damned.
After a long sketchy wade I rig up my favorite big stonefly nymph, add some shot, add some more shot. Scan the big slow pool. Spot a couple nice holding spots in a slow run just at the top of a deep drop. Rear back and fire. And the wind just Carl Malones my rig and stuffs it right back in my face. Did I mention I thought it would be fun to dust off my summer 2WT 10FT nymphing rod? Seriously, I brought a knife to a gun fight in this wind. The wind finally gives me a calm spot. Slip a quick cast in. There we go. There we go...got a half way decent drift. Except can't mend because wind, uh oh, look at that line belly out, getting a little ugly...BAM! Fish on. Big ole brown. Oh, it's not happy. It proceeds to go up and down the pool. The 2WT does surprisingly well at getting the fish to the net. Beautiful. Wow these fish are all dressed up and ready to party.
Another wind cursed cast and sloppy drift. And another big fish take down. Wind is blowing so hard and cold I've got tears in my eyes but I'm no longer thinking of a warm car. The fishing is on fire. Five more casts, two more fish. A quick shift to the top of another big hole. Three casts, and another chunk of gold. Shift spots. Three casts, two fish. What the heck? Every other cast I'm getting a fish. This is nuts. Or, as my 8 year old son would say, this is the best day ever.
I move up the run and start working the other bank. 6 casts, 4 fish. Decide to get a little crazy and try a downstream swing presentation across some shallower water...bang!...nope, crap, snagged bottom. So I start yanking on it. Wait, the snag is moving. Now it's moving fast... down stream...POP!...there goes my 2X tippet. Note to self, a snag isn't always a snag.
After about an hour of non-stop fish I couldn't feel my finger or toes and decided it was finally time to seek warmer conditions. Now back at home and reflecting a bit, we are seriously blessed in Michigan and especially the Upper Peninsula with some amazing trout water that produce such beautiful fish.
Where I live and guide we are especially fortunate to have the catch-and-release trout water like I fished today that is open year round. I know steelhead fever is strong in November but it can also turn out to be some of the best trout fishing of the year as well. If you're ever interested in some amazing late season fly fishing in the upper peninsula give us a call. We'll get you geared up and we'll bring plenty of hot soup and coffee to keep the cold at bay and get you introduced to some amazing U.P. brown and rainbow trout.
Thanks for visiting
Caddis Shack Guide Service
Guiding Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Since 2002
We specialize in fly fishing for Steelhead, Smallmouth and Trout in the beautiful Upper Peninsula near Escanaba, Michigan. Float or Wade. Expert or Beginner. We got ya covered.