03/11/2020 Update!

Man this water up here looks awesome!!! (Not kidding, we love big flows and the clarity is good!) There’s a lot more water flowing in from the Baldwin right now than there is from the mainstream above it. In case you’re wondering what a level of 60.5” at the Bowman’s gauge looks like at Green Cottage here it is! 👍 (Links to these gauges can be found in the report below…)

Gauge and Green Cottage at about 10:30am on 03/11/2020

March 9, 2020

Attention anglers! The clock has changed and so have our hours… We are now open from 7am (Pre dawn!;^) to 5pm seven days a week and we “may” extend that closing on Friday and Saturday. (Keep an eye out.)

It appears as though our staffing needs have been met at the shop, but we will post any new openings if and as they occur. That being said, please feel free to apply with your résumé at any time if you are interested in joining our team so we’ll at least have it on file or, maybe even make a space for the right fit!

Gotta love spring!!

Save the date and join us at BBT, 9am on Saturday May 2nd for BBT’s annual spring river cleanup then, rather than the usual pole barn party, support the PMTU afterwards at the banquet to knock out two great conservation causes on one great date!! Karma will LOVE you…

PMTU wants to thank Mike Batcke & the team at Stealthcraftboats.com as well as Michigan artist David Ruimveld for collaborating on this one of a kind beautiful 13’ Sniper drift boat that will be raffled at our banquet on May 2nd. Get banquet tickets at this link!!

This low resolution image is all I have for now, but you get the idea! Only 200 tickets will be sold starting Wednesday, March 11 for $50 each. Details on how to purchase your boat raffle tickets to follow! 

River report… Depending on time, place, tactic, traffic, skill level, etc, I have recently seen what I know for certain to be honest reports of numbers of landed fish in a day well into the double digits right on down to we got skunked and everything in-between often times, on the same day!

We got absolutely spanked by some big boys that day! Thankfully Steve landed this spunky little dude to keep the smell out! ;^)

Seriously guys, that truly is why it’s called “fishing” and it has wayyyy too many variables like those mentioned above to truly nail it down, but yes, our spring fish are arriving in waves and this rain we’re getting today and tonight should help to push that right along into a higher gear! The water is currently still fairly clear and at “normal” levels up top here (At the time of typing this), but a steady slightly higher flow has helped the push downriver and conditions even up here are changing rapidly as I type this as well…

Here are the new water monitoring links in blue below thanks to PMTU!!! You should pay attention to these when fishing upriver rather than the Scottville USGS Gauge that you see here on the sidebar to the right of this paragraph on a laptop and at the bottom of the page using mobile: Note that once in the links below an even better graph of multiple days is available by clicking on the box with the arrow in the green bar! (Time series analyst) It takes a minute to load that feature, but I love it!

Click here for the M-37 Water Station.

Click here for Bowman’s Bridge Water Station.

Jake and I went back downriver the next day, but most of the big push of fish we’d gotten into the day prior had already moved on up and it was slower for everyone. Only lost one hot Steelhead to a tossed fly, but Jake got this pike as our consolation prize on hardware and my venison backstrap was delicious even if I say so myself!
Had to take a day off from the usual “day off brats” and use up some other parts of this years venison harvest on the grill! ;^)

My “guess” is that we’ll actually be in the thick of it by the weekend and this coming one should have a little less traffic than usual with many guides and anglers spending time at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo down in Warren rather than here on the river with the fish!

Mike with one of many only this one wasn’t camera shy!

It’s really a shame that this show has gotten so late into the Steelhead season that it doesn’t make sense for us to go as a shop any longer and I really do miss it. (The old Southfield dates were ideal if anyone is paying attention!) I will say this, if for some reason you can’t make it up to actually fish I do highly recommend it! Best fly show in the Midwest for sure with booths from many of our good friends (And some of my relatives!) represented…

On yesterday’s fun float with John this mini hen…
…was followed up by this mini buck a few cast later! I blew my shots at the larger variety to wood after doing good battle. :^(He, he, he… Happens to everyone!)
John lost a few big ‘uns to battles yesterday also, but he redeemed himself with a couple of nicer ones rather than minis!

All the usual methods are producing fish and on the fly end of things the nymphs seem to be outproducing the eggs for now. Black stones have been naturally active and fry patterns are picking up some real speed now that there are actual clusters of fry swimming around in the river! Look closely at those slack little edges with almost no depth or current and you’ll see that we’ve had a great early hatch in places.

This was my real day maker on a, you guessed it, fry pattern!

I’m still looking to fill a few days if anyone’s interested. I’m open tomorrow and Wednesday at the moment as well as March 31st then April 12,13 & 14. Between those days and what we have left with the rest of the crew (John K, John R, Donnie and Kam) we have some great openings. Just give the shop a call to check on dates for guides or motel rooms! 231-745-3529

You know it “tiss the season when the front of the pole barn starts looking like this or much more in the afternoons while we’re comparing notes and enjoying the camaraderie! Man I love it…

I’m not gonna add a whole lot more from here on the “report” side of things as this has taken me long enough, but I am going to start mentioning a few other things that pop up in my head rather than holding them in again for a little while and you can feel free to read on or not. These aren’t all “bad things”, but rather just some random thoughts on a few matters that you can feel free to agree with or not as well… ;^)

I’m calling this below here: “Steve’s Soap Box.” (Very original ‘eh?!) Read on if you like and stop here if not…

This week’s topic: Beads, go figure.

(Next weeks topic: A in-depth conversation about the ever evolving wholesale slaughter of the PM’s wild migratory fishery. Stay tuned…)

A heros rig I pulled from the branches of the flies only section yesterday… (This is becoming more and more common rather than less.)

Hey look folks, I absolutely get the “lure” of the bead rig. (Pun intended! ;^) It actually appears to be completely addictive to many, especially those who used to struggle to hook a few fish without the use of bait and the internet is now full of our new age heroes just killin’ it, but I showed this very rig above to DNR conservation officer Andrews along the river yesterday not 10 minutes after removing it from the bush and he assures me that it is still very much so illegal in the flies only sections of Michigan.

It works, I know. Every summer I spend more of my time than I care to admit doing the exact same thing up in Alaska because I’m working for someone else and with someone else’s clients rather than my own. I’m not really the hypocrite on this subject that I’ve claimed to be in joking to many as I honestly have nothing at all against the use of them or any other legal method for the area you’re in. Whatever makes you happy and makes you proud is what you should be doing; all we are asking is simply that you keep it confined to the areas it is legal to be used in…

From my own personal perspective you should try to understand that half the time when I decide to run the “flies only” section of the PM it’s definitely not because it’s necessarily the best section to be in for numbers of fish, it’s because, depending on my anglers somewhat, I know how much harder it will be to be successful running only hand tied flies in a very small river corridor with wild fish behind others who are running spawn, beads (With or without the chum we know factually is sill frequently used illegally.) or even backdropping. I run the fly water on those day’s most often only to at least be on a level playing field with those around me when it comes to the level of difficulty in method alone.

I’ve heard it called “the bunny hill bead brigade” and all that, but I still just call it people out having fun and catching fish on the method that pleases them, and that’s really cool. Different people will always have different priorities and different objectives when it comes to almost anything.

It took me only a few years to switch my own objectives quite some time ago and I got over my own personal addiction of “catching” and keeping that rod bent as much as possible by any means necessary to being lucky enough to guide mostly like minded to me fly anglers and being addicted to the challenge of putting them on fish successfully or, at least teaching them enough to do so. I’ll personally take one good fish on the line that way over 20 using another, but that’s me and you gotta be you! (I fully understand that some peoples outlook on all of that will never change and that’s fine too. ;^)

The long and short of this is; please read and follow the regulations for the area you’re in, decide on the tactic that produces your own desired result and by all means do it, but only “if it’s legal there”! Most of all get out on the water and have some fun! There’s a lot worse things we could all be doing with our time and you’ll never get anything short of a smile and polite conversation from me no matter where we’re at as long as it’s all above board. (Of course, the usual common sense rules apply here as well of giving each other some space and just treating others as you would wish to be treated in general.)

That concludes those thoughts…

Still Available, An Awesome Alaska Opportunity!

If you’re looking for a really great, possibly once in a lifetime deal, I have one for you and, I am looking for a few anglers to guide myself these weeks! We are offering 3 anglers for the price of 2 the weeks of July 18th to 25th July 25th to August 1st and August 1st to the 8th! (This works out to be about 2,664.00 per person for the entire week rather than the standard weekly rate of 3,995.00)

Here’s a short video some cubs playing at the mouth of Margot just because!

Contact me direct or leave a message for me with Karen at the shop if interested in this 2 for 3 deal, but don’t forget, BBT’s exclusive deal kicks in the very next week! (August 8th to the 15th when eggs could start flowing and the Silvers are showing!) Check this link for details and contact the shop on that. We have do have space available!

Tight lines all!
Steve