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Possible Great Lakes Spey Clave

5716 Views 41 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  danimal
Well how about it, a clave sometime later this spring here in the Great Lakes. I believe that this would be a great opportunity to witness the Great Lakes fishery by showing our home rivers and teaching techniques that are appropriate to our area that may not be seen that often. Destinations would be limited to the larger rivers in our region that can be waded and allow steelheading opportunities into the May-June months. Also rivers must be stable and allow angling under all conditions. It wouldn't take that much planning, as I have already did alot of it for my own local clave that I planned on hosting. Read below for details:

GL Spey Clave locations/details:

Ontatrio - Saugeen or Maintland River: Ontario's Saugeen and Maintland Rivers border Lake Huron's shorline and boost excellent runs of broad shouldered steelhead into mid-late May. A great place to hold a clave since both rivers allow use of spey angling methods, and allow for easily wading. The opportunities of catching steelhead in prime lies such as pocket water, pools, runs, and flats only further the expirence! Also consider the unique landscape with rolling hills, farmland and woodlands.

Michigan - St. Mary's River: The St. Mary's River in Michigan's beautiful upper peninsula is a world class fishery. A larger river system consisting of a rapids and a channel that connects Lake Superior to Lake Huron. Steelhead ascend later than most rivers in the spring, with opportunities into mid-late June at times. Late May or early June would be a good bet. This river also offers the chance to hookup with early skamania steelhead, large resident browns and rainbows, and even an occasional early atlantic if conditions are ideal. Steelhead also can be taken on a dry fly on this river system. Nearby Georgian Bay allows you to chase pike, muskie and atlantics as they feed on smelt and baitfish on the flats. The remotness sets it apart, making it feel like you are in the wilderness. Truly an desitination that should be expirenced.

Michigan - Muskegon River: The Mighty Mo as it is often referred to is a tailwater fishery in the heart of Michigan's Lower Peninusla. This river is quite large and allows use of a spey. Steelhead run later into spring, but best action is late april.
This river is an excellent trout fishery resembling a spring creek. Steelhead can be very large, and a great way to target them is in the slots and pools below gravel beds. Defintly not out of the question.

Let me know what you think. I can plan this very quickly and would be a great weekend clave. I was thinking sometime in earlier May, but we can always stretch this into June if we plan on heading to the St. Mary's.:D :D
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As mentioned...

Rob Estlund organized a Muskegon SpeyClave at Henning a couple years ago in early March. This was after a snowstorm cancelled a February date. I remember about 5-6 Michigan guys including one absolute beginner and Herb Jacobsen. Wisconsin guys included Rob, Dave P.., and a few others. Herb grilled brats, we shared some fly patterns and good info. I brought some loaner speyrods and so did Herb and Rob. A few guys floated the next day. It was nice to meet some other guys who swung flies. There was a small repeat get together last year but I didn't attend.

Henning is a good place to meet and cast. For a motel, the Riverside in Croton is the best place in the immediate area. FYI: The woman who runs it does NOT refund deposits during fishing season. Too many anglers cancel out at the last minute due to weather & water conditions. Grand Rapids is just over 40 minutes away and has plenty of affordable lodging with an excellent fly shop along the route.

May's really late for Steelhead here during a normal spring. Who knows this year?
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That is the place I stayed at, the Riverside. Anyways, the one that BBT oraganized had an alright turnout, but I think we could do better. I will try to organize the clave a little more for us.

West Mich, we plan on having it the week before or after easter in April. May is a little late, but this year the runs might be extended a little later...who knows?

Just get the word out!
If all goes well, you can count me in too. (I hope its scheduled for after I get a chance to take a feww lessons. I have yet to handle my spey rod near water.)


I would love to talk to you about fishing the Gaspe'.


If you have any dates we can agree on please add them!

I might be out of town, and so might a few others. Lets shoot for the first weekend in May(2nd and 3rd) or depending on the run status possibly April 12th and 13th. We have to chose soon, but I want to leave the easter week and weekends open due to some clavers who cannot make it plus I will be out of town.

Sound fair? Who knows, we might have a later run this year and the first weekend on May might prove to be best!:D

Well the fish should still be around into earlier to mid May, and by then you will have alot more trout anglers on the water.
At least we have a possibility it may be warm (50 degrees +) in May in April, well you know West Michigan april weather.

PM Out

April is alot different then May usually, there is something about May that makes it seem more like spring. In April you can have snow in the morning, rain miday, and it can be 55deg and sunny by dusk.:rolleyes:

Well, your guys call!
There are steelhead in the Mo from now until around the end of April. I wouldn't normally expect to catch any in May. If you want to catch fish, move it earlier. If you just want to cast, later is fine. Makes little difference to me as I fish every week here. I'd just like to see anyone who travels distance to have a decent chance at getting a steelhead. With that in mind I'd vote for earlier. March is good too.

FWIW: Herb and any other guide's will probably be booked every weekend in April and the latter half of March too. In May, they're getting busy with trout trips on weekends. If you hope to have them attend or supply demo equipment, keep that in mind.

That is the thing, not too many fish in early to mid may. End of April is best. I don't mind the weather, I fished just yesterday with it being only 17deg. I am looking at the weekend before easter, and I will contact a few more shops tonight. I will know the date by sometime at the end of this week for sure!

I don't know if Heron will answer your post about the Gaspe or not. He and a couple others are going up there with me this September. I'm sort of organizing it only because I've been there before. In fact, we all met for dinner this past Monday night to set dates, etc. Feel free to ask anything you want about that area. If I don't know the answer, I might at least know who to contact for the answer. It's also possible you're a regular up there, and there might be a lot we'd learn from you. Let me know. Feel free to send a PM if that works for you.
talked and talked....

Well I talked to a few flyshops today who seem somewhat intersted. I will keep trying to see what I can do, I mean...the more the merrier!

We can decide the final date sometime by the end of the week!:D
current status....

Ok here is the details and status as of right now.

Although the date has not been finalized, I can give you some news. We are shooting for the weekend before easter, April 12 and 13 and presumably it would be a two day event.

I did talk to a few dealers, outfitters and flyshops and we will be getting a few rods/reels for demos. I also talked to Craig Harris today and it looks like he is going to be helping us out. He just told me once we get the date, he would send some reels or he would bring them if he decided to come to the event.

Looks like we are going to have a blast, I will fill you in on the date ASAP.:D
Wow thats right in the middle of the late runs. Steelhead will be in all the west michigan rivers then and all will be open except for the upper sections of some until th trout opener the last saturday of April. Weather may even be warm. Will mark it on the calendar and hope nothing major comes up family or business.

Are the sage lite spey rods going to be there ? :smokin:

PM Out

P.S. Will have to get taxes down early this year and not wait until the last minute, 4/15
we aren't sure

....not yet....I will know soon! Might be week before or week after easter!
Let me know the finest lodging available in Newaygo area ?

You know 5 star ones.

The last motle I stayed in Newaygo years ago we had roaches in the motel room and no heat I think. Thank god we were on the MO all day and only crashed there at night.

PM Out
I just want to know your definition of "good" :D

PM out
Need cable tv, micro fridge, coffee maker, and indoor pool sauna, jacuzzi, attached restaurant and bar preferred also. Thats so I can put my waders and everything else on in the warm room versus at the cold and wet river access point in the dark.

Then I just pulled the preassembled and rigged rod, vest, wading staff from trunk, turn on the flash light and go into the "quick step" march in the dark, racing to get first light advantage at that mornings chosen blue ribbon steelhead holding water.

Priceless !

PM Out
Too long a ride to the MO, I think I know where I will go.

PM Out

P.S. Otherwise I will just bring Mountain tent and sleeping bag and show you how tough I can be. :chuckle:
Lets just spey steelhead fish 24 x 7 an all nighter.

Who ever catches the first steelie gets to sleep.

PM Out
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