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pmflyfisher 10-07-2002 07:07 PM

Steelheading USA

Good article comparing Great Lakes and West Coast steelheading in the November/December of Fly Rod & Reel Magazine by Jerry Kustich. History, techniques, state of the fisheries etc.

Also the Fly Fisherman - December issue also hs a large steelhead section on east and west rivers etc..

Check them out, I picked them up today at Borders.

Lipripper 10-10-2002 02:48 PM

Info/River Pimps
Hey Hal,
I have been viewing this forum for a little while and haven't taken the time to register til I saw your post. I am new here so sorry if this is out of line.
I have a serious problem with the amount of hype/publicity our rivers in Michigan get from Fly Mags. It's completely iresponsible. They publish articles that make Great Lakes Steelhead fishing sound like anyone can come hit 12 fish without any experience on any given day. Which, as you and I both know, is most certianly not the case. Most of the Mag readers come up to MI from southern states and due little more than stand in the way. On rivers like the PM this can be very frustrating given it's size. But, never the less it is right there in FF and all...for everyone to see and some to beleive.
While I am a realist and I do understand that we Michiganders have a great resource at our finger tips and I realize that out-of-state anglers are going to want to vacation here. The hype needs to stop. The iresponsible publicity and hype will, without a doubt, be the demise of our fishery.

Sorry, just my opinion. Ok, I will get off my soapbox now.


pmflyfisher 10-10-2002 03:29 PM


I agree but the national hype on great lakes and PNW steelhead fisheries have been around since the early 80s at least. They do over hype, heck in 23 years of michigan steelhead fly fishing the best I have ever done a couple of times is 13-14 hookups in one day and two landed. If any one thinks they can do that here consistently on any day ,that is not the case even if you are an expert steelhead fly fisherman. They run these artcles every fall and spring it seems. It must be the PNW writers trying to swing the pressure to the great lakes waters.

The internet fishing forumns have hurt even more with every one putting up timely detailed information in my opinion the last few years.

I hardly ever post detailed information on a fishing trips results just general results etc.

BTW, Welcome to the forumn


Lipripper 10-10-2002 03:54 PM

You may be on to something there with the PNW authors. ;)
And the Fish Snitches too! :mad:

Maybe I'll see you up north sometime. :)

dansteelieman 10-10-2002 06:25 PM

I agree to an extent, but it is possible to hook larger numbers of steelhead when the run is on. You can hook over 20 fish a day sometimes, depending on the situation. A problem like Hal and John stated are the number of anglers fishing. Alot of times they do stand in the way and not know exactly what they are doing, but we won't be able to stop that and they are entitled to fish anyways. I hate the snaggers though, they truly make me sick. Many anglers drift their patterns with a method called chuck and duck(using lead, long leaders, swivels on a flyrod), and while I once did that I can say I moved on to more traditional methods using sink tip lines and indicator nymphing methods, and sometime this year I am going to try greased line atlantic salmon methods for summer steelhead or in late spring for dropbacks. I feel like flyfishing should be a challenge and that is what I look for when I am on the river. I began flyfishing the surf for this reason, the rivers can get crowded. I know I can find tranquility in a few of my "secret" streams, and when the fish are present it is rewarding.

By the way John, where exactly in Michigan are you from. I live in SE Michigan!

pmflyfisher 10-10-2002 08:23 PM

BTW, I only fish what I call the early or late run periods and only during the week. I stopped going during the prime salmon and steelhead season periods due to the crowds and idiots. Winter fishing keeps the crowds down some what, so I prefer then also.

I gave up C+D about 15 years ago, went to traditional nymph wetfly with sink tips, then into spey fishing with sink tips. I know I do not catch as many fish as I would with C+D but I am beyond catching large numbers of fish.

The guides that post the results of their trips with pictures several times a week on the major internet boards I do not think are helping the fishery. I guess they need more bookings and this is their way of marketing new customers.

Good luck guys, looks like I will be up in michigan's blue ribbon steelhead region soon. Leave some for me please, I only catch and release so I will leave any I touch for others.



Lipripper 10-11-2002 09:05 AM

Dan, I am from G.R. area. Spend the majority of my time on the west side, with the only exception being the ausable/upper man in summer...for trout.

C&D can be a naughty little lining technique when put in the wrong hands. I would be less than honest if I said I didn't ever rig up a C&D rig anymore. :devil:
The truth is there are specific applications where I find it untouchable. Even if I am using a streamer. I do fish primarily out of a boat though. And I don't target anything on gravel. I guess I still have that numbers hitch to work out of my system. All things come with age.
I too look forward to December/January Hal. The best time of year as far as I am concerned. We should hook up for a float and you can show me a thing or two about the old school sink tip method.


pmflyfisher 10-11-2002 01:49 PM

C+D is deadly, as soon as I switched to that method in the early 80s I started hitting steel regularly. I may pull out that reel from my vest if there is a deep hole and I am really desparate for a fish otherwise it is traditional spey with floating and sink tip methods. Does not get as deep as C+D but I feel more successful when I do hook up knowing I am using traditional fly fishing tactics, etc..

Yes we should get some of the michigan steelhead FF guys together for day or two of fishing. Don't really know how many there are on this board, we are in the minority to our PNW steelhead colleagues. I would say there at least 4-6 michigan steelhead fly fisherman posting on here now.


West Mich 10-11-2002 04:00 PM

I often bite my tongue when reading internet discussions on Michigan fishing. I've seen on-line reports about small rivers that have literally destroyed those waters. It's even more disgusting when it's in your own backyard or just up the road. Most high hookup numbers are a result of anglers "fishing" for fish they can see. Numbers and landing ratios usually tell the real story. If you're a sportsman or an ethical guide, you know the real numbers and you know what BS is out there. Sure, I've had an incredible day or two too - out of the hundreds I've fished. Get real.

We have it very good here. Let's keep it that way.

flytyer 11-02-2002 09:05 PM


This show and tell of the fly fishing mags is very maddening indees. I've seen it happen in Montana (I lived there for 12 years from (1979 to 1991) to the point where there were so many fishers, boats, and guides that you couldn't efffectively fish. It has gotten so bad on some of Montana's rivers that there are restrictions being placed on the number of boats allowed in certain river stretches and some stretches have even place restrictions of out-of-state anglers.

Saw this in Pennsylvania,where I grew up (left at age 25) as well. Everytime someone does a show and tell on a Pennsylvania stream or river, it gets so many fishermen it is pathetic.

I've seen this same thing happen here in Washington state where I now live as well. There was a time when you could go fish on the Olympic Peninsula rivers and see only a few other fishermen in a day. Everytime someone (usually a guide or shop owner) writes one of these show and tells, the river named gets flooded with fisherfolks, and most of them son't know what they are doing. Sure thrash the water to a froth though and scare any steelhead around silly.

I've seen it here in the NOrth Puget Sound region too. Last year there was an 'article', really a marketing promo, in a regional fishing mag on one of my favorite fall steelhead rivers. This is a small to medium sized river and it really effects things a lot when a bunch of fishermen shjow up. Needless to say, I was appalled at both the numbers of fishermen and the unsportsmanlike conduct this hoard displayed. The crowd hung around until the weather turned cold (for us that means lows in the upper 20's and highs in the 40's). There were 2 fly shops in the area sending folks there as well and telling them that all they had to was find some open water and they would catch fish.

The maddening part about it was the person who wrote the article did so to increase his guiding business, then he had the gall to complain about how those of us who had been fishing this river for years were keeping his clients from getting to the water! He had the nerve to ask several folks (myself included) to go and fish some of the less acceccesible water so that his clients could have a chance at the fishing 'cause many of them travelled a considerable distance from out of state to get in on the bounty.

Fortunately, this did not happen again this year on this river.

I would love to see the guides and shops that do this simply knock it off. Yes, it provides some additional revenue for them for a time. But it just destroys the experience of having a pleasurable day astream.

I sure hope that some of this stuff gets curtailed.

pmflyfisher 11-03-2002 09:53 AM


I agree with you but with the pervasive instant information age we are in now through the internet, cell phones, PDAs, etc. it appears it will not be stopping. In the 60s and 70s we waited for the monthly issues of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, or Sports Afielt for Ted True Blood, Joe Brooks, or Charles Waterman, Lee Wulff article on may be one national blue ribbon fishery and only during the spring and summer fishing seasons. Now you go on the internet find what you want and the national outdoor and specialized fly fishing books and magazines are even more pervasive than the 60s and 70s. The proliferation of the media and the commercialization of previous recreational fisheries by professional guides since the 70s has really hurt most of our fisheries. I can remember in the 60s when there were no guides, and then in the 70s wondered why an angeler would need a crutch to hire a guide since that cuts their own individual learning curve and to me a big part of the challenge of the sport.

I have not hired a guide yet, probably should have when I first moved to the great lakes region in 1979 would have expedited my conversion from trout to steelhead and salmon fly fishing. But it was a great challenge and fun to got thorugh the conversion and succeed on my own.

Now rivers I never saw guides or drift boats in the 70s and early 80s have a constant stream of 30-40 drift boats with professional guides with their clients during the peak runs. If any one can tell me how they think that type of increased fishing pressure is good for the rivers and fishs I would like to hear it.

Maybe a solution is to limit the number of guides on any one river on any given day. Maybe that would help ? Some smaller rivers should have no drift boats on them period. To my knowledge there are only a few rivers in the U.S. with these types of rules.



flytyer 11-04-2002 09:25 PM


Unfortunately, you are correct about the information available today. Yes, Wullf, Brooks, and others wrote about fly fishing back in the 60's. However, the focussed on how and why not when and where. I remember reading Joe Brooks talking about fishing for Missori River brown trout in the fall. However, he never mentioned where on the Missouri he fished. He did talk about how to dress for cold weather, and what equipment to use and why.

After moving to Montana, I went exploring and found exactly where Brooks was fishing for the large fall browns on the MIssouri. It was an out-of-the-way spot that was not that difficult to get to if you were willing to do some exploring with a 4X4, or willing to walk thr river bank for about 2 miles through a narrow canyon. The fishing was wonderful until the Kokanee Salmon were released into the river from an up stream irrigation diversion dam. The Kokanee spawn ant the same time as the browns and were digging up the brown trout redds. This area is only a ghost of what it used to be. But I digress.

My point is that Joe Brooks never told the exact where or the exact when, neither did Wulff, etc. All Brooks said was fall brown trout fishing on the Missouri River in Montana. Charlie Brooks was the same with his articles and books on the Madison and other Yellowstone waters. Charlie Waterman did the same as well. This despite that Charlie lived in Monatan 6 months/year and new exact where and when on mny Montana waters.

Interestingly, Gary LaFontaine gave when and where except for his two favorite places, the upper Clark Fork River and upper Rock Creek. Waters that I spent many an ejoyable evening or morning on, including having Gary come by and chat before or after fishing. He also never spoke about Flint Creek where I would also run into him at times. However, Gary wrote a lot about the Bighole river and the Missouri River, he claimed is was needed to "preserve" the fishery. Gary guided on both these rivers and had a guide friend in Helena, MT who guided on each of them. Guess who he mentioned in his articles about these two rivers?

I liked Gary and he was a very generous and honest man. However, I wished he would never had publicised the Missouri and Bighole Rivers.

Wulff would say he fished the Yellowstone River, Schiebert would say he fished the Madison river or Firehole River. They never said where they fished them or exactly what time of year.

I sure would like to see some of the same restraint practiced today by the fly fishing scribes. And, like you, I think that part of the answer would be to have state fisheries department limit the number of guides that could work a river, or stretch of river.

Lipripper 11-05-2002 09:53 AM

River Pimps
I just plain sucks. I read another one a couple weeks ago...written by a guide. The fall steelhead fishing here has been less than steller and I would be less than happy if I were an out of stater that read the article in Flyfisherman and decided to make the trip. You guys are right. Limit the number of guide boats, also, raise the price of out-of-state fishing licenses. I think that a large portion of responsibility falls in the laps of the mag editors too. Yes, the guies do the write-ups, but, the editors know what the result will be and they should know better in many cases. My 2.


pmflyfisher 11-05-2002 11:36 AM

Yes agree with both of your points.

I was writing a response which was just summarizing all of the issues formerly stated and then I realized I could not propose a viable solution to fix the problems.

The only thing that comes to mind as a start is more state DNR resources assigned to enforce fishing laws, management of guides and angler education.. That would require more funding increased taxes and fishing/guide license fees, political actions and you know what that means.

Lets face it there are a heck of a lot of fishing laws now on the books in each state which are not enforced.

In 43 years of trout fishing I have been checked for my fishing license and proper tackle less than 5 times and twice was in the same day in British Columbia which left me impressed thinking they had their fishery enforcement resources and methods under control. However reading the posts on this board from the BC anglers and hearing the state of some of their blue ribbon fisheries makes me reconsider if even their they have their fishery management and enforcement actions under control.

I get depressed just thinking about the lack of controls on the fisheries. Most states appear to focus their scarce fishery resources on fish management such as the hatchery operations

Lipripper 11-05-2002 02:37 PM

Hopefully after today's election things will change a little on that front. God knows we needed to send a couple people packing.:rolleyes:


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