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19 June 2006
Shiawassee River fishing report [17 June 2006]

DownstreamB didn't arrive home from Montana until Saturday night, so she missed a fun paddle/fishing trip on the Shiawassee River on Saturday afternoon. The river is flowing just below normal volume now - down from its recent post-rainy spell flood level. The aquatic weed growth is underway, but is not yet abundant enough to limit fly presentation to surface techniques only. A streamer is not yet off the list of possibilities.

At around 12:30, I met up with Mandy and Jen, Flygirls extrordinaire, for a short paddle through some familiar smallmouth bass territory. Too bad B missed the group fishing outing, we had a good afternoon. The sun was bright and the temperature was in the 90's. Thank goodness we were wet wading in a light breeze. We strung up our rods and transferred a car to the take-out point and put in our boats. Good looking pools and runs precluded paddling much at any one stretch. We spent a heckuva lot more time fishing than floating.

Rubyspot damselflyWe found quite a few little 11-12" smallies and a bluegill. They seemed to maybe prefer subsurface streamers to surface poppers and terrestrial imitations. The smallmouth in this river always impress me with their smooth greenish-bronze color and obvious health. We watched a lot of carp cruising the deeper sections. Belted kingfishers scolded us regularly and muskrats occasionally skimmed along the river edge. We pushed an immature bald eagle downriver ahead of us a couple of times. There were only a few other paddlers on the river with us. I caught maybe 10-12 fish in total on beadhead woollybuggers of some sort. The biggest fish of the day was caught toward the end of our float - a nice 14" smallmouth.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and I'd fish with Mandy and Jen anytime, anywhere.

Fleece quotient: -2
Lost flies: 0
Wildlife sightings: tree swallows, belted kingfishers, immature bald eagle, muskrats, carp, carp, carp
Air temperature: 95 oF max
Water temperature: ~ 70 oF
Injury report: sunburn
Did I get to use a spey rod?: Nope.
Enjoyment grade for the trip: B+

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