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Rivers of Sand: Fly Fishing Michigan and the Great Lakes Regionby Josh Greenberg
Synopses & Reviews
Rivers of Sand is an exploration of the unique techniques needed to fish the waters of Michigan and the Great Lakes region, and a discussion of (and paean to) the region itself.
About the Author
Author Josh Greenberg is manager of the famous Gates Au Sable Lodge, and writes a popular, on-line fishing report that draws as many as 40,000 hits a month. He has contributed to several magazines, including Fly, Rod & Reel and Fly Fisherman. Three years ago, he contributed to a book with his boss, Calvin “Rusty” Gates. With little fanfare, and as published by a local press, Seasons of the Au Sable sold 5,000 copies in less than two years.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The lakes and rivers that necessitated the diverse methods of fly-fishing practiced in Michigan, with some history. From the spring-filled Au Sable and Manistee — dry fly havens both — to the burly Pere Marquette the range of habitats has made Michigan anglers proficient in everything from Spey to Tenkara.
Chapter 1: Headwaters
Techniques for fishing the small water including rod choice, approach, slow vs. fast water, casting, flies, tippet and leader, scouting, and meditations on the above. This chapter will guide anglers in finding their own secret stream by revealing what to look for on maps, characteristics of a good creek, and how to be a steward of your own patch of little water.
Chapter 2: Making a Day of It
Prospecting for trout year round, including two fly rigs, wet flies, soft hackles, attractor patterns, as well as reading the water and scouting out good summer and winter refuges. From sucking ice from the rod guides to drinking from a spring on a sultry summer day, the off-season — or the off-times — is something to be savored by the few smart enough to be on the river when others aren't.
Chapter 3: The Small Flies
Ways to make fishing the little flies easier, along with why some anglers are discovering the joy of going tiny. Amadou and desiccants, 8x fluorocarbon, point flies and lead flies, and other tricks from a river valley where #30s are a fact of life.
Chapter 4: The Rise
Fishing the major hatches, with some anecdotal content. Links well with Swisher and Richards, who wrote Selective Trout on the Au Sable, about the bugs within the chapter. This allows me to document changes to fly design, as well as the way the hatches have changed over the years. We actually have heavy hatches of bugs that, back in the seventies, were rarities! Many of our Michigan rivers offer unbelievable dry fly fishing, but each river is different. On the Pere Marquette and Muskegon, the Gray Drakes fly into flashlights. Meanwhile, on the Manistee, the brown drakes bounce at dusk.
Chapter 5: Midnight
From hex to mice, the best way to be successful after dark, including, as before, gear and terminal tackle, along with fly ideas, flashlights, stories, and ways to simplify the problems posed by darkness. Along with Pennsylvania, Michigan has been at the forefront of the midnight game. In the heat of summer, we rise with the fireflies and snooze to the songs of the morning birds.
Chapter 6: Streamers
The different approaches for streamer fishing between seasons, including new patterns and techniques, articulated flies, classic streamers, brook trout in the fall, and big water and dory techniques.
Chapter 7: Chrome
All the ways we fish for steelhead in Michigan, from graceful Spey to the clunky Chuck-N-Duck. We have steelhead fishing available every month of the year, and we chase them with all the vigor of big game hunters. From sight-fishing for steelhead eating the roe of spawning Chinooks, to swinging colorful egg-sucking leaches through the big blue waters of the Manistee in March, Michigan is a steelheaders paradise.
Chapter 8: The Warm Water Tour
Smallmouth, Carp, Muskie and Pike. We have some of the finest fly-fishing for these species in Michigan. We'll cover the exotic use of helicopter to locate schools of shallow-water carp on remote Great Lakes islands, to chucking 12-inch divers for record class muskie, to wading the pleasant sandy shoals of Traverse Bay casting for smallmouth. This chapter rejoices in the aquatic habitats most often overlooked.
Chapter 9: The Big Lakes
Salmon, brown trout, lake trout and steelhead in and around the stillwaters of Michigan and beyond, including surf-casting for record sized browns, catching lake trout along blue drop-offs, traveling to the famous Sault St. Marie rapids for Atlantic salmon, including tackle, line choice, and scouting. The summation of our journey from the fern-lined headwaters, the big lakes not only harbor the fish that spawn in and replenish our rivers, but also feed the rivers in the winter, dropping many feet of "lake-effect" snow on the high inland. We'll cover the techniques needed for this highly specialized form of fishing. Fly choice, rod choice, and even proper clothing will be discussed: this is a game of fall, winter and spring. The conditions are harsh. The fish are silver. And anglers brave the early morning to try their luck for a mystery that borders on a creature of the deep.
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