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Great Lakes Steelhead & Salmon Amazing "Inland ocean" fisheries

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Old 03-29-2006, 05:44 AM
grouseman grouseman is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Muskegon River, Michigan
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Muskegon River

I'm new at swinging flies and admit to frustration in the past week on the Muskegon River. I have yet to hook a steelhead in 6 valiant days of effort. The river is running about 3500 and gradually clearing and temps about 36-39f. I understand the need to slow the streamer down, but its been hard and I'm not sure I'm doing it appropriately. I'm sure I've covered steelhead with my casts, and I see plenty of fish being caught by the indicator crowd. It's enough to make me backslide. Any tips or thoughts?
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Old 03-29-2006, 06:22 AM
Nick Pionessa OOFS
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: wny
Posts: 160
slow and deep this is your mantra. cast straight across mend a time or two until the line gets to about 45deg angle below and let it swing. avoid any belly in the line and try to mend the line parellel to the current to slow down the swing. this time of year means big flies egg sucking bunny leeches big buggers and marabou speys all work you need to make the fish think it's worth going after. try to keep in mind that if you show the fish the fly broadside and slow and then have it speed up and start to rise and swing toward the shore, this will trigger the catch and kill predatory response from the fish. other than that it's the same way you get to carnigie hall. stick with it and the reward will come.
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:53 AM
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Charlie Charlie is offline
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Eastern Great Lakes & Gaspe
Posts: 1,003
Black Francis has some good advise. And believe me there are not many that know better than him.

You may also want to add some sink tips and sinking leaders to you arsenal as well as weighted flies. When the water is that cold you need to get the fly down. The fish will not move far to get the fly. This is also the reason for the slow swing. If you are not loosing a fly to the bottom once in a while you will not be catching fish at this time of year. As the water temp goes up they will start moving more and you will reach a point when the water is in the 50ís were you will actually start out-fishing the indicator crowd. Now thatís fun!

Like anything, it does take a bit of practice. But there will come a moment when everything clicks and you will start catching them. Good luck and tight lines.

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Old 03-30-2006, 08:17 PM
wilson wilson is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Columbia, MD
Posts: 120
I'd only add that swinging flies for GL Steelhead takes a certain level of commitment, so don't backslide just yet. It was actually Black Francis who showed me how to catch these fish with this particular method and I don't think I've dead drifted much more than a dry in front of those fish since.

Get back out there armed with the tips these two just gave you and give it another go. One fish caught on the swing is worth 10 lip hooked off an indicator. You'll know what I mean when one peels off the bottom and slams that fly.

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