The dogs were tearing around the house and I was feeling an early onset of cabin fever brought on by too much work on the weekend. My wife and I decided to head over to the local creek to run the dogs out of energy. Seems to have worked because it’s been a quiet night in this house.
Kory messaged me last week. Dude, I had a cancellation, wanna come up and fish the St Joe this weekend? Hell yes I do. Lemme clear it with the better half and I’ll get back to you. Of course my awesome wife said get the hell out of the house and go fish you’re bothering me or something like that. Tied up a few streamers and some foam headed dealios, packed the gear, loaded the ride, and Saturday morning found me driving through a color run in South Bend. White people are funny creatures. I’m going to venture a guess that many pumpkin spiced lattes were consumed after that race.
We headed over to Michigan since it’s basically Kory’s backyard and dropped in on a section that looked promising. There were lots of salmon running up and we heard of folks getting on some cohos. The water was coming up and the smallies were shut down. The old college try and all the jazz, we headed back to the launch to try another spot. The other place started in Indiana and goes into Michigan. A word of caution here; there are no signs warning you that you are leaving the state. Make sure you have a license for both states when fishing this area. Kory will remind you of this as well. If you’re looking for a trip on some great looking and super fishy water you need to book a trip with Kory for some smallies. He does steelhead trips as well, so even after the smallies head to their winter holes he’s still putting folks on fish.
Kory put a report up on his site this morning: http://www.boozersguideservice.com/angling-reports
If you’re in the South Bend, Indiana or lower Michigan area, look Kory up and book a trip. Hell you can even take the South Shore Rail from Chicago to South Bend and skip all the traffic.
There’s things in life that I’m pretty terrible at. Golf is sorta one of them. My friend here asked me to play on his team for a work outing. I should have stayed home and stacked wood, got the boat ready, and fished Saturday instead of the shitterrible day that Sunday fishing was. I was screwing around with my fisheye cheater and got this shot.
Here’s some music to make your day better
I hooked up the boat to the Jeep and pulled it out of the garage. Of course in Fritz’s mind this means car ride. In mine it means go sleep in the Jeep while I sand some wood and throw some varnish on this project so I can be done with it. I glanced up to see where the dogs were and I saw this cool shot.
Summer is winding down. It’s been a weird one. I thought it was just me, but many people have mentioned how bad the fishing has been for them. Good to see there’s some solidarity in our lack of fish to hand. I figured I’d start doing some photo dumps as I see to build up a good amount of photos that don’t really fit anywhere else.
Beaver Island, Michigan. We’ve all heard about it. Some of us have been lucky enough to get there and see this island chain that’s earned it’s place in fly fishing mythos. A few years back, when I was last on the island, it was mentioned how someone could come up and scumbag it on the beaches, walk the flats, and maybe if he’s lucky, catch some fish. That idea stuck in my head because it sounded like an amazing trip for someone with a do it yourself mentality. Fast forward a few years and I started thinking about maybe heading up with a boat, sleep on a beach, and get away from everything. My buddy Andrew and I started bouncing ideas off of each other and we formed a plan. Now, they say that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and that was the truth in this case.
I got word that the mosquitos this year were bad. Bad in this case was an understatement. We ditched the sleeping on the beach idea, which was the main part of awesome for this trip. Hotels just aren’t as great for morning views of Lake Michigan even when yours looks out at the bay. I called around and got lucky on a room. Gimme the room, it don’t matter the price because, well, mosquitos. Fuck mosquitos. Evil little bloodsucking assholes who serve no purpose. Kinda like a politician. We arrived on the island on Friday night to winds and rain and cold. Cold being relative as I’d left 90 degree weather in Indiana and was greeted with high 50s and low 60s on Beaver. The big lake was a little choppy for the Towee, so we headed to an interior lake to fish bass and pike. When you think bad mosquitos you go, “oh I’ll just throw on some bug dope and I’ll be fine..” Ha! No such luck here. These things live on hate and spite and think of deet as an appetizer. You can’t stop on shore, you can’t be near shore, if you are near shore, you leave shore as fast as possible. They will drain your blood through layers of clothing. They swarm so bad that you’d think they have a hive mind hell bent on the destruction of anything breathing. The lake we fished was beautiful, just like you expect a northern climate lake to be. I did hook up with some hammerhandles if I remember right, but we were skunked that night. We did however lose about 16 pints of blood so it was back to the bar to replenish them with beers and food. One thing to know about this island is that there is damn near no place to get food after 9 or 10pm. If you’re hungry, you stay hungry until the sun comes up and the breakfast spot opens up. Better pack that PB & J.
Saturday was our one full day of fishing. We had to head back Sunday so we checked the water, wind, and headed out to search for some carp. A word of caution if you ever do something like this and have a small skiff like a Towee, do not attempt this if the waves are up. Great boats for small streams and calm flats. Not so much for open Great Lakes water where things can change in a heartbeat. We were always watching for the wind change in case we had to run the few miles across deep water from one island to get back to the bay. We hit one island and immediately saw carp. They were moving with purpose. Cruising fast and ignoring anything you presented to them. We kept hoping for one to turn and get hot, but we couldn’t buy a bite even with a perfect setup. We had maybe one out of fifty slow down and then keep on cruising. That shit is heartbreaking. The bass and a pike were eating though the bass are closed season until July 1st on Beaver so you can’t actively target them. They will eat what you’re throwing to carp, so good luck getting them to stop.
The day was amazing for just exploring and enjoying the feeling of being remote. We found a flat with a marshy back water and just started heading back into it. There were so many fish back in there it seemed silly. GPS showed a channel to another open area so we just kept going. We started feeling like we might have been the first to get that far back in sometime. Totally not true, but damn it feels like it. That’s a great feeling that’s hard to come by in this day and age. The mosquitos on this island might have been worse. We could hear them from the interior of the island. It’s like they were chanting our names. Evil little shits. I can’t wait til we genetically engineer them out of existence.
Sunday came too soon and we had to hop the ferry back to the mainland. It’s a weird feeling getting back to what’s considered civilization after only less than 48 hours on the island. 60 miles per hour seems insane. No one waves. People are in a hurry to get nowhere fast. That’s the best thing to come off the island, that reset that you need sometimes. We shot back to Midland and then I headed out for the drive back to Indiana.
So that brings us to this.. Can you DIY Beaver Island? Yes. Should you? Well, that’s the thing that I’ve been pondering for a month. To answer truthfully, to get the fullest fishing experience while there, I would have to say no. I know personally if we had a few more days out there we could have stuck a carp or even a few but to truly have an epic fishing experience out there you need to hire the guys who make a living guiding it, so look up Indigo Guide Service, and let Kevin, Steve, and Austin take you fishing. They know that massive expanse of water intimately, they know where the carp are, and they make it look easy. It’s not as easy as it looks and if you don’t respect Lake Michigan, she will make you respect her and that can mean bad things for you and your boat. I will be the first to say I wish we’d had a day to fish with the Indigo guys, mainly because they’re some of my favorite people in the world to fish with and just be around. You will not regret it if you do book a trip, but do it early because they fill up and you’ll be shit out of luck. One last word of caution if you do think about heading to Beaver Island with a boat and a truck. Cost. It’s much cheaper to book a full day with one of the Indigo guys than it is to have a boat ferried over. Much cheaper. Taking a boat and truck over will make your wallet go into seizures. Remember that and book a trip with them to make life better for your wallet.
What are you doing Friday and Saturday August 1st and 2nd? If you’re near Berrien Springs, Michigan you should check this event out. Single to switch to spey. All in a day. http://flycastingonthejoe.com/
Private: Friday, August 1st, 2014 – Private lessons with Peter Humphreys and Jeff Liskay
Free Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 – All free demos / lessons / exhibits / booths by fly shops, guides, and manufacturers.
Some random photos from this summer. It’s been a good one so far. Not as fishy as summers past, but there’s a puppy who needs attention and that takes up a lot of that free time. My respect for actual parents has gone up a few notches. Already planning fall musky trips. That’s plural. I need more toothy critter in my life. One without fur, that is.
My wife took the Finn overboard photo. What he lacks in grace he makes up for in drive.