Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Fly Fishing Trip with She's So Fly

(Rycki practicing to cast with "chuck and duck" fly casting method)

By Rycki (beginner fly fisherwoman)

While traveling Western Michigan, I was kayaking with a friend and happened to stop in Baldwin Michigan to eat dinner. While we were in town, we met a professional river guide, named Mike Marsh from Marsh Ridge River Guide Service.  We were search for a place to camp for the night before we headed off to toward the next town to explore and kayak again.  Mike so graciously gave us advise about the area and helped us find a camp site.  Since then, I have became friends with Mike and developed an interest to learn to fly fish.  He was always talking about his trips and experiences with his clients and it sounded like so much fun. He also told me that he has been giving Sherri Russell from She’s So Fly, private fly fishing lessons and that Sherri was a novis fly fisherwoman that truly became a maniac with the sport of fly fishing after all her personal experiences.  This interested me even more so, because if Sherri Russell could do it, so could I.  Then Mike spoke to Sherri and she suggested that they both take me out on a fly fishing trip and I agreed to do so.

Mike, Sherri and I began to plan our trip. Sherri resides in Newaygo Michigan and manages lake front cottage rentals, so we thought it might be easiest to fish the local Muskegon River and stay overnight and rent in one of the cottages with a hot tub. This was also a central location for Mike and I to meet because I live in Lansing and Mike lives in Holland Michigan.

(Fly fishermen out on the Muskgeon River)

The day arrived and we all met up at a public launch just below Croton Dam. For those of you who have never seen Croton Dam, it is a sight to see. It is one of two historic hydrolic dams in Michigan. Mike launched the boat into the river, gathered our gear and Sherri and I hopped into the boat with Mike. As an additional bonus for my trip, Mike brought along his fly fishing dog, Grace. Grace is a very unique dog and a sweetie! She sure knows the ropes of the boat and appeared to be excited to be out on the river.

(Historical Croton Dam - in Newaygo Michigan)

We were on the search for Steelhead. Mike and Sherri showed me how to handle the rods and reels and taught me how to “chuck and duck”, which is apparently only one way to fly fish and he told me there were many more, but this was the one we were going to practice that day. After a few casts, Mike told me that I was a natural and I was ready to fish on my own. He showed me what to look for in the river to indicate fish population etc..apparently there are what is called “seems” in the water which are stripe of bubbles and ripples and flat area in between them – and I wanted to cast my line into the flat areas in between the bubbled strips in search for fish.

(Mike teaching Ricki how to fly fish)

We tried several areas with no luck for steelhead (sometimes you find them and sometimes you don't). So then he switched fly patterns on my pole and I began to fish for trout. I caught one trout and I was very excited.

(Rycki with her trout caught by fly fishing)

Sherri was very accommodating and very helpful with answering questions about fly fishing in a way that a beginner would understand. It was very important to her that my experience be a good one. She strongly encourages women to get into this sport and promotes it a lot - I was surprised to learn all the the things to do with fishing that she is involved in and never knew such a girly girl to personaly like the outdoors and fishing as she does.  Mike and Sherri sure made my first fly fishing experience a lot of fun.

Thank you Mike and Sherri for my great experience. I want to fly fish again. I truly love the outdoors and kayaking and now possibly fly fishing from my kayak…lol.

note from the editor:  Thank you Ricki for taking the time to report and share your story with our readers...I really enjoyed fishing with you, and Mike was right, you are a "natural".


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