The day was cold, and the wind howled, on occasion, I was warmed when the sun managed to sneak between the clouds. I had been on the river for over six hours and had only caught a small brown trout. It measured no more than twelve inches. Along with that, I had caught multiple stumps, rocks and whatever else I managed to find on the bottom of the river.

My fingers felt swollen as I continue to cast and strip my line back in wrapping it tightly as I tried to maneuver my line in the wind. Cast, strip, cast strip I was getting extremely exhausted. I had already bandaged my fingers where the line had worn through, but I continued. Hopefully that this next cast would be the one and I would be met with success.

    I felt the tug and was sure I had caught a tree and started to state this when I felt it – three head wags reverberated up my line, and I shouted Fish-On! I was excited. I sensed that it was big and strong and the battle began to wage. The line screamed as the fish started to run pulling my line and rushing down the river. Suddenly the fish turned, and it was coming back toward me as fast as it had left. I began to reel as fast as I could, then after a moment the fish reversed again and headed back out again. The battle was waging human against fish – I was hot now, my muscles strained against the mighty fish. Who would win?

    The battle continued for what seemed like a long time. My excitement rose as I watch the fish jump into the air and continue its back and forth charging. I stayed intense pressing and slowly watching as the fish began to tire, realizing that I was rapidly gaining on the fish it was quite possible that I would win. Then it happened one final jump and a run toward me. I now had it at the side of the boat, and the fish was finally netted.

High-fives ensued throughout the boat along with happy smiles and quick pictures. The fish was amazing. Once we were done, we placed the fish on the side of the boat allowing her to rest. I watched as she gracefully swam away to continue her journey and maybe give another person the battle of a lifetime.

Steelhead – A cold day in April

Getting Ready for All Weather
The excitement was great as I began to pack for my long awaited Steelhead trip. I was going with a group of women from our local group called Flygirls – to me; these were the most exciting trips. The trip would include hours of laughter from this group of women anglers and to top it off we would have a great day spent floating on the Muskegon River chasing the allusive Steelhead.
My Face Barely Showing
But Happy
I had been counting down the days to my trip, but as the time neared my concerns were rising. Weather forecasters were predicting a four-day snowstorm. It was going to hit the Great Lakes in waves – ice, sleet, snow, and rain. As I finished my packing, I found myself watching the forecast. I prayed the fishing prayer, “Lord let the fish bite.”
I arrived at the cabin on Friday night, joining the many women who had arrived earlier. The weather was already showing some of the changes predicted. Inside the cabin, the mood of the group remained lighthearted in spite of the dismal forecast. Stories were shared around a crackling fire, and frequent laughter filled the air. As the flames began to diminish and the shadows grew longer, the crowd around the fire began to disappear. Women made their way off to their rooms to ready themselves for tomorrow’s adventure. They were turning in for the night – dreaming of the adventures that would unfold the next day.
April Also Had An Awesome Catch
Morning came quickly.  As soon as I opened my eyes, I felt the cold and realized the glaring brightness was newly fallen snow. The guides called, warning us that many of the booked trips had canceled for the day. I knew this group would not cancel – we were excited about this trip and a bunch of diehard fishing women.
Breakfast hurried along as woman ran to get ready — packing on many layers of clothing, winter coats, waders, and rain gear. We prepared for any weather that came through. Soon everyone was ready. The guides began to arrive, each arranged to pick up the ladies that would be floating with them that day. For myself and April it was an awesome guy named Luke. 

We got out on the river, and within what seemed to be only a few minutes, the wind and hail started. Jackets were pulled tight as we battled the cold that was bearing down on us. In efforts to stay warm, hot chocolate was sipped with whatever else; mine had the taste of Rum warming my throat as I sipped. The wind was so strong that it became dangerous to fly fish. We soon began to do what is referred to as Chuck and Duck. True to its name we were doing precisely that – ducking and hoping the wind would not push the fly back into our faces. 
The wind was changing, as was the weather – sleet one minute, then giant wet snowflakes the next. The fish seemed as cold as us – we already were several hours into the float and had not even felt the tug of a fish. I changed my gloves for the third time – each time sliding a dry hand warmer deep into my glove. Suddenly, as the wind had changed, so did the bite. I nearly lost my fly rod it came so hard. The battle had begun! We spent the next two hours making an event that would stand out in our memories. Even the guide service talks about the trip as the worse weather endured with the best fishing. For me, the steelhead landed after a phenomenal fight was well worth the cold. It would indeed be a trip I would remember for a very long time.

Beginning Fly Fishing

Everyone starts somewhere – for myself it was at a quiet lake up north. The day was perfect, warm, sunny, no breeze to speak of – just a beautiful, early summer day. I was standing out at the dock casting – spin casting – yes, hook, sinker and worm.  Relaxed and watching a man on shore swinging this rod back and forth, my curiosity got the best of me. I meandered over and asked the man what he was doing – fly fishing – seriously people do that! I honestly thought it was something from the movies, the olden days.  I am sure he felt my reaction was hilarious.
That was my start in fly fishing, on that quiet lake fishing for bluegill, and I have never looked back – my spin rods are collecting dust these days, and I am continually looking for my next fly fishing adventure.


Michigan’s temperature has been crazy this year. So instead of fishing, days are spent fly tying, reminiscing of previous fishing days, or dreaming of warmer weather ahead. It was wonderful to have what appeared to be a later winter this year. Some days it felt like winter had alluded us  – but it was as if mother nature was laughing and winter blew in with a fury.  Over fourteen inches of snow and temperatures reaching 40 below with wind chills. River fishing is on a standstill, ice shelf’s stand mocking the fishermen daring them to try. 
The weather made me appreciate the fishing I did in mid-January, catching what I call little beauties. The river was cold and racing I found myself more than once roll casting from shore to warm my legs and rest from the constant pressure I was fighting. It was not without success many of the little beauties were photographed and gently released to grow bigger and hopefully be caught again. Sitting indoors now reflecting on that time of fishing is looked on with pleasure.  I sit and tie flys and sit by a crackling fire, and dream of the days behind and ahead – better days are yet to come.

Way back …..

I guess the love of fishing started a long time ago… a very long time ago. Back in the days when my dad took me fishing. I’m not sure where I was somewhere up near Traverse City. We were by the place where the trains went by, and the creek was shivering cold. I can remember sitting on the edge of the bridge dropping my line in the water or like most kids playing with my line in the water. Bare feet were dangling over the edge absentmindedly, when all of a sudden I swung the hook and screamed…I can still remember my dad running across the stream to save his little girl – cigarettes, wallet and all his pockets emptying as he leaped – his belongings floating aimlessly downstream. I wasn’t injured, more startled than anything. Wouldn’t you be with a wiggling grasshopper stuck on your big toe?
 I guess it was the start of my fishing or at least the earliest memory I have of fishing.  There are many more stories over the years…But that was the earliest, and believe it or not,  that was the onset of my love of fishing.