Sunday, May 16, 2021

In the Swing


The Deward Tract on the Manistee River last weekend.

It was a beautiful weekend but the nights were very cold. I slept in my Canadian 0 degree bag with a fleece over bag. Indeed, I was toasty but for the tip on my nose.

I had a great weekend camping and fishing even if the fish were more inclined to nymphs than I was. My faith lay in the soft hackle and the Leisenring Lift. Alas, it was not enough.

One must embrace one's beliefs without reservation and I've never been sufficiently dogmatic to will things to happen.

Some flies I worked over this wonderful water:

A Coachman style soft hackle which usually rouses brookies.  Partridge hackle, silk in scarlet and herl.

Here, a proven winner.

I believe this is Pearsall's purple (dwindling supply) but my color vision has left me. If I'm wrong, apologies. I believe this is one of the grouse variants tied thanks to Brian giving me one of his wonderful skins.

Ah, we are going old old school here....

The cock-y-bondu tied in a simple style. Furnace hackle and herl on a Partridge heavy soft-hackle hook I bought a few years back at Dette Flies in New York.

Anyway, I had an awesome weekend despite the cold and the uncooperative trout. The bugs were out. I had plenty of bugs: BWOs, a few Hendrickson, a smattering of caddis.

Below, camp pictures. The bear tent.


The new cookstove which made awesome chili ( hey, when faced with a cold night chili is a welcome meal).

This is a Camp Chef Everest stove (the 2x model) which is a beast. Built like a tank it generates an impressive 20K BTU that will boil coffee toot-sweet. What makes it special? Low low simmer where the burner really does hold the flame. 

Eggs over easy are no effort at all on this thing.  If you cook instead of boil: get this stove (but don't pack it in ... heavy).

Below: a panorama. Michigan did some selective harvest forestry (aka clear-cut)  on ground next to Canoe Harbor campground. This was a wonderful wooded campsite four years ago but today is less than a stump farm. It will come back but not for a bit. The breeze will however keep the bugs down!

I'm big on field hygiene (thanks, Col. Wiley) and here hanging is my Sunday morning wash basin.

This is the ice off the top of the water. Froze up nicely. 


Lastly, two pictures of joy. 

A Hardy perfect sized 3 1/4" trout in gunmetal on a McKellip M84.

Great rod, Mike!

Nice reel, John. Thanks for the sponsorship for this model.

A marsh marigold.

And what looks back at me from the mirrors all too often.

Maybe I'll see you next weekend -- on the water.



  1. Great to see you out n about kind regards from across the pond.

  2. Thanks George! The same to you. I was inspired by your early season camp outing!