Fishing, not Catching

Sometimes the fishing is hard. You use all your skills, favorite lures, hit the best holes, everything that has worked before, and you catch nothing.

Last summer was that way. I had a great spring trout fishing and early season bass was productive, but by mid-June, not much was being caught by anybody I knew. The weather had cooled down and the patterns were crazy.

The last week of June, we rented a pontoon boat with extended family, 9 people tooling about East Twin Lake in Lewiston. It was a beautiful day, albeit cool. We had spin rods and my fly rod, night-crawlers, jigs, poppers and Clouser minnow patterns. Beyond a couple of perch, nothing much was happening anywhere – not deep, shallow, docks, or shore cover.

Towards dinner time, we just let the boat drift and it headed into the shallows. I had seen some fish tailing up in the shallows, but not regularly. There was not much cover, algae, or a major drop off.

I saw one tail about 50′ off the bow. I started my false casts and let it drop – 10′ short. But from experience I have learned that you strip anyway – you never know what may hit. Two strips in and something hit.

21" Bass on East Twin LakeAs he flew out of the water on a jump, everybody in the boat sat up to watch. Fishing my 6 wt, I could not horse him in, which made for a fun fight. Lipped him to the deck so we could get this photo.

21″ of beauty on a slow day. I can’t complain about that.

And my wife’s comment? “Wow, you really do catch big fish!”

But even without that fish, I spent time with family relaxing on the water. Sometimes it really is more about the fishing than the actual catching.

* Green Sunfish Deceiver from Lost Angler http://www.lostangler.com/blog/?page_id=451

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Volunteering Outside

If you are reading this, you have some interest in the outdoors. My question to you is “How are you improving your favorite area?”

Paint Creek Trail Access Point just down from Tienken. Jason C Davis Clinton Valley Trout Unlimited
Paint Creek Stair Project in February 2014

Here in Michigan, it has not been above freezing many days since Christmas. There is an 18″ snow base in my back yard. Paint Creek is completely frozen over. What good can I do outside beyond sledding, skiing, or snowmobiling?

While many scheduled winter projects have been rescheduled or cancelled this year, that has not stopped the planning.

Paint Creek Stairs
Stairs and streambank improvement on the Paint Creek

Last night my wife and I attended a Clinton River Watershed Council volunteer dinner for an ongoing project called the Clinton River Coldwater Conservation Project. Over the past 10 years volunteers have mapped out sections of the Paint Creek and Clinton River, assisting the DNR in their studies and promoting fishing and kayaking on the resources. It has also done stream restoration and access points for fishermen, kayaking, and trail enthusiasts. The presentations last night showed the work done in Rochester Park last year and highlighted the upcoming projects being planned.

This weekend is the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo here in southeastern Michigan. Along with all of the vendors, many conservation groups will be there promoting awareness of the various watersheds throughout Michigan.

I would encourage you to find a conservation group in your area and volunteer your time with them. Many of them have different types of fundraisers. Money is always welcome, but there is a joy in seeing something that your sweat helped clean up.

Here are some southeastern Michigan groups. Many of them are fishing related, but there are many trails and watershed councils throughout the state. If you cannot find something in your area, leave a comment below and I will help you out.

Clinton Valley Trout Unlimited
Vanguard Chapter Trout Unlimited
Challenge Chapter Trout Unlimited
Paul Young Chapter Trout Unlimited
Clinton River Watershed Council
Friends of the Paint Creek Trail
Michigan Steelheaders
International Federation of Fly Fishers

Anglers of the Au Sable
Michigan Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited