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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to have a day or two on the St. Mary the second week of July. Is my 10/11 going to be overkill on the Atlantics there?
 
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St. Mary's Atlantics

Not at all. The St. Mary's is a huge river. It's almost as wide as it is long. Since most 10/11 rods are fifteen feet or longer it'd be perfect. Yes, the line weight is a little heavy for the size of the fish and the type of flies used there, but the line control issue becomes significant on that river. It's one of the few rivers where I use my 15' 10/11 any more. Wade carefully, as this is one heck of a strong river.
 

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JR,
Thanks. That is exactly the kind of info I need. I was really thinking about the power of the rod vs the size of the fish when I asked the question. I don't want to go that far, pay for a guide, and then ruin it by being over rodded. Surely the fish in the Soo are big enough to work out the 15' x 11w?
 
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St. Mary's Atlantics

In my limited experience, most of the Atlantics in this river system are small, about the size of grilse in ocean going fish. There are fish over ten pounds and there may, indeed, be fish over twenty, but most of what I've seen would be six to ten pounds if accurately weighed. Because of the strong current throughout the rapids, these fish will put a bend in your 11 weight. And of course, the strong rod would be almost a necessity to land a large fish due to how difficult it is to wade after the fish with any speed. Are you fishing with Karl Vogel as your guide? He kept me from from swimming all the way to Lake Huron several times! I now wear SOSpenders whenever wading there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I am going with Mr. Vogel. From what I have read I think he is the best, at least for an old gezzer like me.
 

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JR SPEY,
I too may be making a trip up to the St. Mary's rapids this summer for atlantics and I was wondering if you may be able to fill me in on some of the patterns that they take fish on. That way I can get tying right now. I'm going crazy down here in Southern Ontario where the last few days have been over 30C and the only fish in the rivers are carp, and I'm not sure how well they like a swung fly!!:)

Thanks for your help,

Mike
 

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Per my St Marys steelhead articles on the St Marys from the book "Great Lakes Steelhead " A Guided Tour for Fly Anglers" Linseman & Nevala.

Primarily nymphs are used: mayfly (michigan hex nypmphs) , stones, and especially green caddis patterns. Sizes 10 & 12.
Natural colors.

Start tying.

Good luck!
 
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St. Mary's Atlantics

He's pretty well summed it up. I cannot resist also taking some of my Miramichi salmon patterns in the same sizes, but the guys who catch fish are almost always using nymphs. I'm stubborn enough that I'd rather catch one fish on the swing than four or five using an indicator, even if I have to swing a nymph pattern.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I had an article a year or two ago by Supinski specifically on Soo Atlantics, but I can't find it. (I could lie and say someday I'll get organized, but after almost 50 years the evidence otherwise is overwhelming) Vogel is THE Man for what I'll be doing anyway. Will post results when I return.
 

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Forgot believe they also use a Galloup Mysis Shrimp nymph pattern up there which is very effective. I am sure MS is there now fishing the rapids. Yes if I went there I would want to swing nymphs or small atlantic salmon wets. Looking forward to the trip report on this one for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I would probably have gone with Giuliani if I hadn't gotten Vogel. From what I have read I don't think you could go wrong with ether of them. The best of the best. I think that Lake S. cold water will be a trip saver with this heat.
 

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Yep I believed the smelt patterns would work, to bad I tied up a bunch of new patterns this winter, wish I could get up there to use them.

How long does the fishing stay good in rapids ? I know July is good what about August ?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hal,
I'll ask Mr. Vogel for you.
To bad there isn't time for you to LOAN me those flies you went to all that trouble to tie. :hehe:
UPS delivered new breathables, studded felt wading boots and an adjustable staff. Whatta ya wanna bet I take a tumble and fill the waders anyway?
 

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Pat,

Please tell Mr. Vogel I have been using his Vogel Caddis and the Disco Caddis very effectively the last 5 years ever since I saw his story in that steelheading book about their effectiveness. At times they are the go to pattern for sure.

Have a great trip !

Hal
 

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Back in 1973 when stocking of salmon was just starting in the St Marys a group of us took the opportunity to close the gates and drain the St Marys Rapids and undertake a survey of insect populations Stoneflies were the most common species together with black fly larvae and caddis.
While I havent fished the rapids for thirty years I continue to get reports from my son who built the original salmonid hatchery at the Soo.
You might want to check with the staff of the Lamprey Control Unit located near the Canadian Locks their biologists should be able to give you good information on current conditions
 

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Discussion Starter #16
We leave this morning, if I ever get myself together. As Bob Cratchett said "We were making rather merry yesterday." Oh well you only have one 25th aniv.
Thanks for the 'carving' tip. As you may have guessed from my signature I'm as addicted to waterfowling as long rods. (the Dominicans are better than the Cubans these days anyway)
Will hit the stonefly larva paterns heavily. Hope I have time to go talk with the Biologists. That would be worthwhile just in itself.
thanks to all, for all the tips.
Will report in upon return.:smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm back. The good news is, I had a ball with Vogel. The bad news is, we never got off his boat or over to the rapids. The end result being all short rod fishing and no Spey application. Small (14-16) nympth, under a lot of lead. Not my first choice, but as Karl said, Vy would you pay vor a guide, and not do vat he zay?
I learned a lot and the next time(and I intend that it be soon) I will be standing in the rappids waving a very ling stick!
Pat
p.s. if interested in more details see my post in Great Lakes Salmon and Steelhead.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes, thank you for recommending it. Actually I think I was a little overwhelmed. There was to much to focus. Kind of like going into Cabela's store for the first time. There were so many carvings that I really liked I couldn't pick one that I could say "ah ha, this is it". No matter, it was well worth the trip up. Pretty darn good scenery on the way too.
Thanks,
 
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