We hit the Pere Marquette flies only section on Saturday and apparently so did every other fisherman north of the Mason Dixon Line. Most of the snow was gone, there were steelhead in the river and the forecast was good. Consequently, the people were out in full force. We were fishing with Steve Martinez from peremarquetteguide.com and stayed right on the flies only section at the Red Moose Lodge. Steve is as professional, personable, and amazing as a fly fishing guide can get and the Red Moose Lodge is clean, convenient, affordable and no hassle.
We hit the water late, 11:00 am to bat cleanup and try an avoid the crowd by letting the unwashed masses go ahead of us. As it turns out, most of the other smart folks had the same idea — crowd not avoided. So we leap frogged boats most of the day.
The good news is, there were still plenty of fish in the river. Right off the bat we had a couple good follows from decent browns and one small resident rainbow to hand. So there’s that.
By the end of the day when we hit the honey hole the fish were there in plenty of numbers. Our spirits were only slightly dampened by the rain that moved in.
My wife hooked up first on the indie rig. It spit the hook. That was her first taste of Steelhead and she looked pretty stoked, and soaked.
I jumped out of the boat and waded thigh deep to position myself for the swing on the 11′ switch rod. Then I hooked up to a nice male who boiled and tail-walked a couple times before spitting the hook. I hooked up another nice fish on the swing a few minutes later who alligator rolled me into a real mess before making like Houdini and escaping. The river was up. The current was strong, and the pull was perfectly intoxicating. My wife hooked up another and it promptly ran into some fallen timber and broke her off.
It was 45 degrees, raining consistently and shooting cloud to ground lightning every few minutes or so. Signs were pointing towards heading in, and eventually we did.
By the time we got to the ramp it really started pounding the big rain drop you usually see int he tropics. When the boat was just hitting the trailer, the quarter inch hail started pummeling us. By the next morning over three inches of rain fell. Flood warnings were issued, and we hit the road for home.