After a day of rain and cold, yesterday morning looked to be perfect. But then, I’d never fished for Steelhead in the rivers and learned that cloudy days are the best. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky yesterday as we drove north. And the further we went, the more snow was left from the weekend’s storm. We got to the Pere Marquette around 10:30 PM, suited up and hiked back into the river. The water was higher than my friend had expected and at places I found myself in fast water, well over waist deep, pushing the limits of chest-high waders. Once I tripped and almost went swimming, catching myself before diving headfirst, getting only my left arm soaked, which made a cool rest of the morning. After lunch, I changed into dry clothes and the afternoon was more pleasant. We were in a fly only section of the river, using artificial fish eggs on a heavy fly rod. I’d had one strike, Lee caught the only fish I saw, a 6 inch long trout, nothing like the 10 pound Steelheads that supposedly come in from the Great Lakes to spawn. We didn’t see any fish spawning on the gravel beds, where they drop their eggs to be eaten by other fish that lurk in the holes behind the gravel bars. At least we weren’t alone, proving that misery loves company; no one else along the river was catching any fish, either.
My friend watching his line as the faux eggs bob downriver, just above the bottom.
Another sign of spring is Skunk Cabbage. This is a unique plant that develops its own heat and melts the snow and ice from around them. They grow early in the season, in swampy areas, and provide pollen for early insects. Their name comes from the smell they give off when they’re broken (or crushed underfoot). Yesterday, I saw many such plants sticking up in the snow, a sign that despite winter’s attempt to hold on, the seasons are changing.
As the bumper sticker reads, a bad fishing beats a good day in the office…