Shiawassee River Fishing Report [September 4 2005]
We needed a respite from the overwhelmingly sad and disturbing news of the hurricane aftermath. This week, my head has not been in a state where fun is all that likely, but I needed to make an attempt to at least distract myself temporarily. It was a beautiful day - comfortable 75 degrees, lots of big fluffy clouds regularly floating in a bright, clear blue sky - much better visibility than is typical in Michigan.
We floated the same nearby stretch of the Shiawassee River that we enjoyed in early August. We put in at a city park at about 1:00 PM and took out at a county park about 6 or 7 miles downstream at about 8:00 PM. I was concerned that we'd be doing more dragging than paddling since the Shi's water flow is seriously 'off the charts' low right now. But, we didn't have to portage over much more river bottom than last time - only 3 or 4 short stretches in the whole trip. The very low water and super-vigorous weed growth did limit the fishable locations somewhat, but there are so many great spots on this river that, even in these conditions, it's a really nice stretch to float and fish.
Three of us employed 5-6 weight fly rods and one brought along a spinning rod. It's pretty hard to fly fish and float at the same time, so we typically paddled from spot to spot where we'd beach our boats and wade for awhile. Fly line in the boat, time necessary to retrieve line, paddle access and impending crashes are not pleasant combinations, so we generally keep our fly rods stowed while paddling. The spin fisherwoman is able to fish and float a bit better and has access to a bit more water as a result.
Little 8-10" smallmouth bass and rock bass were plentiful. We probably caught 10-15 fish each - most were found up tight against the bank, in shady log jams or near underwater structure. We threw mostly surface patterns - poppers and rubber-legged flies like a Turck's Tarantula or a hopper. B's white and tan beadhead woolly bugger invention, now called Smallmouth Crack got some use too. The largest smallie, a nice 14-incher, was caught by Vicki on a sluggo retrieved over a nice deep spot with underwater boulders. The smallmouth in this river are beautiful - deep green-bronze and extremely healthy looking with no scars or signs of parasites or bad luck.
When we reached our take-out point, there were a few whiteflies hatching. There had been a pretty hatch of something smaller during the last hour of our float, but only a few small surface feeders seemed to notice.
Number of leech encounters: 0 again! Neoprene socks rule.
Scratches on the bottom of my kayak: TNTC
Wildlife sightings: a fish I need to identify, great blue herons, wood ducks, kingfishers, woodpeckers, an osprey, a beaver and lots of cedar waxwings
Did I get to use a spey rod?: Nein
Enjoyment grade for the day: A+
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