Friday, June 24, 2011

The Lakes Are Hot!

In spite of ongoing weather issues, fly fishing around the Great Lakes has been very productive. A recent Lake St. Clair adventure with Capt. Brian Mezaros of Great Lakes Fly Fishing produced numerous smallmouth bass and a nice northern pike as a bonus. High winds limited our fishing areas, but Capt. B was able to produce plenty of fish.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Great Lakes Golden Bones

Carping activity will move into high gear across the Great Lakes area over the next few weeks as the fish complete spwning activities and begin to feed regularly again. Carp are one of the hardest fish to fool consistently with a fly. They provide great sport to a growing segment fly fishers who target them as they cruise the shallows looking for food. Nick Pionessa of The Oak Orchard Fly Shop took this handsome specimen from the upper Niagara River at Grand Island, NY.

Great Lakes River Mouths

You can find fish cruising the mouths of tributaries entering the Great Lakes all year long. Species may vary depending on the time of year, but nearly all will hit a fly. The best time to fish these places is at sunrise as these shallows have had a chance to settle out from the previous days activity. A stealthy approach and a baitfish pattern on a floating line can get surprising results.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Here are some additional pattern variations incorporating Fish Skulls. The top three are based on my Meat Wagon streamer, while the bottom two are classic Deep Minnows incorporating Skulls instead of the usual barbell eyes. On-water research is proving successful, but plenty more testing to do!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Males Do Most Of The Work

Smallmouth bass are in full-tilt spawn mode across much of the Great Lakes region right now. Depending on location, smallies may spawn in anywhere from 2 feet to as much as 12-15 feet in depth. Beds will be fanned out by males so that a layer of clean gravel is uncovered to hold the eggs until they hatch. The males stay with the nest and keep the eggs clean of silt and sediment. After hatching, males will guard the fry from predators until they can fend for themselves.

Room for Everyone

Long thought of as strictly the realm of gear & bait anglers, the Great Lakes provide world-class fly fishing opportunites for a variety of both warm- and cold-water species. With thousands of miles of shoreline available there is plenty of room for everyone to chose and use the method of their choice. Lot's more on Great Lakes fly fishing to follow.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Door County Red Eyes

Just returned from a trip doing "research" for my upcoming book on Great Lakes fly fishing. Finally got a chance to fish in Wisconsin's Door County, one of the prettiest areas in the Lakes. We found the smallmouth just moving up to spawn and had great success wading shallow areas. One technique that worked well was to look for larger rocks in deeper areas just off the shallows and fish to them. Many of these were holding bass that were staging to move up onto beds. This fish hit a perch/crayfish colored pattern tied with a Fish Skull.

For info on fishing Door County, talk to Charlie or Tim at Tight Lines Fly Fishing in DePere, WI. These guys will point you in the right direction!

Love Those Skulls!!

Here are a couple new patterns I tied up recently for Lake Erie and beyond. These utilize the Fish Skulls from Flymen Fishing Company. Fish Skulls are proving to be a great addtion to nearly any streamer pattern. They are much more versatile than beads or cones, having easily added eyes and with their keel-like shape, can also make the fly ride with the hook inverted.

These sculpin/crayfish/goby imitators were tied to ride hook up and utilize a variety of materials including , grizzly marabou, rabbit, emu, and australian oppossum to get their look. The hook is a Daiichi #2461.