Caseville Pier, Monday December 27, 2021
All the ice that had been jammed up against the deep channel side of the pier had blown out, more ice was jammed against the shallow beach side of the pier. Dozens of fishermen were spread out along the 1/4 mile pier and catching lake trout from the shallower water by the parking lot all the way out to the pier end. Clearer water with 5 feet of visibility with a strong cold, offshore wind at our backs is what I found. There was room to flycast in the middle or the pier, out past the groups of guys nearer the parking lot. Fish were hitting spoons to both sides of me, within my casting range from shore. About an hour in, I got my first and biggest fish. It took a 2/0 Mag Flash Tu Jiggy fly (White with Opal, Silver and Blue Flash).
I quickly got 2 more average sized ones (still big), all on a count down of 6 seconds, followed by a rhythmic strip retrieve (rip - fall - rip - fall). About 16 inches on a very sharp quick rip and 2 seconds on the fall. Things slowed down but I got 3 more on the same big fly, spread out over the mid afternoon. Later, spoon casters continued to get some fish but I got nothing more until dusk when a very big Lake Trout rushed the Mag Flash Jiggy fly as I was lifting it off the water. On a quick cast back, I should have just let it fall hoping she would find it. But I retrieved it toward the retreating fish with no results.
A 9 weight fly rod with a shooting head made from a type 3 sinking line worked well for the depth at the mid pier spot I fished and water clarity for this day. On the previous trip, I was spoon fishing further in more wind and deeper muddier water. I think a faster sinking shooting head fly line would have been better.
It turned out a good thing that I had broken off the hook barbs and tied these flies on 60º jig hooks because that allowed me to use the fly rod tip top as a 9 foot long hook disgorger to easily release the last 4 fish from up on the pier.
- Mag Opal Flash Jiggy Fly (See Tie a Fly Blog post)
- Hook: # 2 to 2/0 Down Eye Standard shank Wet or 60º Jig
- Bead: Silver, 3.8 to 4.6mm Tungsten or 5.0 to 5.5mm Silver Brass
- Threads: 210 Danville, Chartreuse body, Fire Orange wing tie down collar
- Tail & Wing: White or Chartreuse Bucktail
- Tail Flash, Magnum Mirage folded to both sides, Silver Krystal Flash long on top.
- Body: L or XL Mylar tubing tie forward and folded back over tail to bend
- Wing Flash: Magnum Opal folded to both sides. Silver Krystal Flash folded to both sides
- Wing Top Flash: Colored Ice Wing or similar folded on top
All these hooks need the barbs broken off to fit the beads over these big hooks. I bent up the straight shank on KoreaSun 7362BN with round jaw wire bending pliers.
- Planning Great Lake Fishing Trips.
- Wind direction and strength is critical because:
- Wind and Waves dictate how comfortable or difficult it is to fish effectively
- Light or Offshore winds over the last couple of days mean clearer water
- Winter Offshore wind blows out colder surface water, clear warmer water is drawn up near shore.
- Winter winds blow ice into one shore maybe off of another shore.
- Summer Offshore wind blows out warm surface water, drawing up cooler clear water near shore.
- All of this affects where bait minnows and game fish will be found.
- In Michigan you can choose your coast on the Upper or Lower Peninsula, or the Thumb
- Check Wunderground.com 10 day forecasts for wind speed-direction, temperature, precipitation and cloud cover forecasts at potential trip sites.
- Look at online maps like Maps.Google.com while thinking about wind effects, Satellite View can show piers, access points, dredged channels, shallow-deeper water, sandy-rocky bottoms, weed beds, tree sheltered shore lines.
- USGS.gov/National Water Dashboard where you can zoom in on their Map to find local stations on many rivers and streams. Use the graph displays of recent current flows and water temperatures. Recent high water means muddier water or fallen water levels mean clearer water.
- CoastWatch.msu.edu has maps of real time, great lake water temperatures, cloud cover permitting.