Of Steelhead and Sheep

Written by Ian Anderson
May 9, 2019

For the past 38 years fly fishing has taken me to some very interesting places.  One of my favorites is the Pere Marquette river in Michigan.  It is a fantastic river for Brown trout, steelhead and salmon with each having their own seasons and often overlapping.

Pere Marquette RiverI recently needed a quick get-a-way and called up a couple buddies to see if they would like to go out for some browns and steelhead for the day.  Quite the silly question, the answer is always “yes”!  So, I motored up to Walhalla this past Sunday and proceeded to hit the water on Monday.  I planned on staying in the area for two days and had no plans for the second day.  I kinda assumed if the fishing was not so good the first day we would have a fall back day.

PM Brown TroutHowever, the fishing was wonderful.  We got on the water about 10:00 am.  The weather was supposed to be good all day, temps in the low 60’s with a little bit of rain from 12:00 – 1:00 pm.  We started swinging streamers for browns right off the launch and in no time started getting hits.  Despite the fact the season opener was just the week before and all the worm dunkers were out we had many takes and managed to land a few nice browns and even a few small steelies on streamers.

PM SteelheadThe real fun came about 2:30 pm when we started finding steelhead.  After getting the depth right I managed to get the egg and nymph combo right were it needed to be and was rewarded with a really nice hen.  She must have been fairly fresh because she jumped at least six times clear out of the water as she headed down stream.  After a short chase she was in the net.  For me, nothing less than a miracle as I somehow seem to be the one to loose my fish in the wood.  She sure was beautiful.

About an hour later I stuck a nice buck but he did head to the wood and after fighting him for about 5 minutes he busted off.  He did jump a couple time and I could see he was as least a big as the hen I caught earlier.  We finished our day on the water catching a few more browns, swinging to a few more steelhead but the big fun was done.  All in all, a fantastic day on one of the most beautiful rivers around.

Sheep Fencing ProjectBut the fun for my trip was not done.  Since my fishing scratch was itches I headed over on my second day to help my buddy with some fencing he needed to get up.  I was Sheep Fencing Projectintroduced to his sheep (the need for the fence) and even a little one that needed some supplemental bottle feeding and soon we were stringing fencing.  It was just a great day out with the sun shining, warm temps, and50/50 outside work (“and May is one damn fine month to be working outdoors”).  I was even offered a little lamb of my own to take home with me!  To my wife’s dismay, I turned it down (for now).

Thus ended my two day get-a-way to the North, sweet memories of fish and water and farm work in the spring all with some wonderful friends.  Something to keep in mind in case you want to slip away for a few days, DO IT, you never know what great memories you’ll take away with you.