Most of my fishing happens in and around the Huron River watershed. These outings are mostly quick trips to the river after work, or a family visit to Kent Lake. An hour or two hear and there, and so far this year they have been few and far between. And although I’ve caught fish, they haven’t produced any real quality catches. So I will be bulking a few of these together at a time throughout the summer to keep from getting repetitive. I’ll show a few pictures of fish and the flies I’m using, as well as shed some light on the techniques that are working for me.
Here are the flies that I caught fish on during these trips. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me tie you some.
Chocklett’s Feather Game Changer: This has been the hottest fly for me, and should continue to produce all year. I use it mostly for bass and pike, but am looking forward to trying it later this month on some trout. It utilizes the Fish Skull Articulated Spine system to create multiple articulation points. You can tie it with synthetics specifically designed for the task, or with feathers. Schultz Outfitters in Ypsilanti recommends the feathers for better action. Mike’s video, here, shows you how to build the taper. Don’t forget the lead wire on the bend of the front hook, it makes a world of difference! I tie this fly in a few sizes, the one below being the biggest. I used all 4 sizes of articulated spine, plus two hooks. As you can tell I didn’t taper the feathers very well. On this size it is probably easier to use the synthetic body wrap, as it can be difficult to get six distinct sizes of feathers off of one patch. I haven’t noticed the fish be too picky because the action is so good.
Schultzy’s Swinging D: As far as I know this fly was created by Mike Schultz. It is another fantastic warm water producer. The diving foam head allows you to get down to the wood and then stop and let the fly come up enough to stay out of the snag. This suspending action is deadly, and all the flash makes for some aggressive strikes. Admittedly I didn’t tie this fly, I purchased it from Schultz’s shop. I wanted to give it a try before I invested in all the materials. But it is definitely one I will be tying soon.
Classic Deer Hair Frog: This is another fly I purchased instead of tying. I haven’t had much experience packing deer hair. I think I got this one from Orvis a while back. I use it as a popper primarily, but if you strip it fast it will dive just under the surface and entice bass and pike to chase it down.
Boogle Bug Popper: If you are a fly fisherman that spends any time fishing poppers, then you are probably familiar with this bug. The Boogle Bug is the best of the best. You can try to tie it yourself, but you will likely never match the value and productivity of these flies. They aren’t cheap but they last much longer and catch way more fish than any other popper.
On the Water:
There probably wont be any mind blowing information here, but I’ll try to add some thoughts as to where and how I found fish.
The Largemouth Bass in the pictures below were caught on Kent Lake (Huron River System) and a private lake called Island Lake of Novi. There were quite a few others that I didn’t take pictures of, but this gives you an idea of the typical size in this water. There are definitely bigger fish to be found in Kent Lake, but I haven’t hooked any yet this year. Pretty simple stuff technique wise here. Just casting along the first drop-off and trying a combination of fast stripping and slow twitches to pick off aggressive fish. The deer hair frog and Game Changer were the top producers. I fish Island Lake a lot when I don’t have a ton of time, I haven’t found any large fish yet, but it always produces a lot of bass in the 12-14″ range, which are fun enough on a 5wt rod. This lake, being the headwaters of a string of lakes, also gets a great run of Carp I am told, so hopefully I will hit that action in the next couple of weeks.
The Smallmouth and White Bass were caught out of the Huron River at Frog Island Park in Ypsilanti. These both came on a Feather Game Changer, but I also caught a bunch of White Bass on a Clouser Minnow, and lost a couple larger fish on the Swingin’ D. I’ve been catching a lot of White Bass, and haven’t found any good sized Smallies yet, but I’m new to this area and still trying out new water all the time.
I find that strategy differs here, as it often does, when you are wade fishing as opposed to boat fishing. Now, I’ve only waded this stretch, but it is a popular section of river for canoe, kayak, and drift boat fishing. In the boat you are going to pound the banks and structure. Getting a cast right up to the logs, taking a few strips and then casting again quickly is the goal. You are searching for that chance at an aggressive trophy fish, and because you are moving you don’t have time to swing out all your casts.
That strategy is great when you are covering a long stretch of river from a boat, but I feel you are missing out on some fun fishing doing this while wading. Stripping from the banks and logs is still your best bet for a large fish, but since you are covering a much smaller section of river you may find yourself skunked if there aren’t any fish on the take. This might be okay for those of you who only want to catch the aggressive pool boss, but I don’t fish enough to stomach getting skunked very easily. So I try to hit the bank, take a few strips, and then let the fly swing out with just some twitches like you would use when swinging for Steelhead or trout. I will let the streamer swim all the way until the hang, and then make a few jerky strips at the end. I am getting some strikes in that first strip at the bank, but most of my action is coming on the swing and hang. Most of the fish have been similar to the pictures below, but I’ve also had a couple larger fish take that came off.