Today was a cloudy, drippy day of relief.  It felt awesome.  The BWOs were hatching and the little fish were rising and the cedar waxwings were nabbing the duns.  The water temperatures cooled.  Air temperature of only sixty degrees, but only a few puffs of wind.  We don’t get many days like this in July.   Now we get two in a row.  I did a short wade this afternoon and decided to fish a streamer for the novelty of fishing a streamer.  I chose the South Branch, which was very low and clear.  Little conehead.  Long leader.  It is sacrilegious, to me anyway, to fish a streamer through rising trout…in May.  On this one afternoon in July, it felt pleasantly subversive.  I had some great trout chase.  I thought to change to the dry.  I kept thinking about it.  I thought that a skunk along the wood would be the smarter choice.  A streamer in low water forces the trout to pursue a fly across the shallows…and they don’t like that.  But streamer was the mood that I was in.  And the few big trout that did chase, and didn’t eat, kept me thinking that one WOULD eat it.  And I thought that all the way until I ran out of water to fish and had to hike out of there.  Regrets?  No regrets.

Well…one regret.  Beneath a dark and shady cedar, I whipped my little streamer way up into the shadow.  My fly must have landed right on the head of a huge brown trout, 22″ if he was an inch, and he shot out of the shadow clearly terrified and, at about twenty miles an hour, which I suppose is about their top speed, that big trout nearly ran into me.  He then shot upstream and I, like a fool, threw a cast upstream at him as if, in this moment of terror, this wizened July trout might have a change of heart.  Then, as I gathered my line, I thought that if I’d just tied on that yarn skunk, the one I should have been fishing, and flipped it up into that shadow, twitch, twitch…damn.

Jeff and Matt did well on the streamer today.

I love this time of year.  The morning bugs are out — both tricos and olives.  We’ve seen a number of cinnamon ants flying ants, a few Isos, #18 caddis, the little evening BWOs.  The grasshoppers seem bigger, earlier in 2021.  The night fly fishing has been good, and the evening rise hasn’t been half bad either.  We had hex fly up through the Holy Waters last night, just ’cause, and the big bugs surprised a few anglers who ignored the bad (and incorrect) forecast and went fishing.  Even the bass-bugging has been fun!  There’s just a lot to do on the water right now.

Dad Chris and his son Sawyer have been catching some fine trout.  Chris ties our Awesomes, among many other flies for Gates, and has done so since he was a teenager.  His son Sawyer is on the path, that’s for sure.  This is one of several big trout the kid caught all by himself.  Dude!

Another Tiger!

Speaking of the Awesome…it’s a deer fly imitation.  It works.  We’re out of them. Chris is tying more.  But, yeah, it’s a deer fly imitation.  So is the SRB.  Right?  I don’t know now.  It turns out that it might be imitating something else, a deer fly imposter, and I got this from pre-reading the new issue of Michigan Trout — the Michigan TU Mag — and Ann Miller’s article in there.  I’m not going to give it away.  I’m just going to say that I learned something new, and like many new things I learn, it feels like something I already should have known.  So check it out when it comes out, and then forgive me for all the bad information over the last decade.


Events in 2021?  We are working on a summer calendar and we will post next week.  Yep — soon!  Kids, Free Lessons, Derby, Cleanup.  We’re going to do them in 2021.  They will be the light version, but they will happen.  More to come next week once we have firmed up everything and have sign up sheets.  But it’s going to be as good as we can make it!


Live on the Holy Waters, have trees, and want some trout cover?  Matt and I will be planning another winter trout project for 2021/2022.  What we need are land owners on the Holy Waters that want trout cover to contact me, at [email protected]  We will need winter access, fallen logs or trees that we can cut, and your permission.  The plan is to pepper in fresh trout covers throughout the Holy Water section to keep up with the aging out of past trout covers.  We can’t guarantee we’ll get to everyone who provides us permission, or that our permit application will be approved, but our goal is to make the river a better trout fishery…and we need your help.  Again, [email protected]  Please spread the word.