Big Chromes Fall 2011
This year was reported as the best salmon run since the 1980s... there were more salmon and bigger salmon in the streams this fall than most people have ever seen. There was great anticipation from the diehard steelheaders that the same would be true for the chromes to come.... to say the least, they have not been disappointed. We landed several double digit steelhead on this trip with the largest being a 13 pound hen. My good friend Barry came up with a beautiful 12 1/2 pound male. I can't remember how many 10 pound steelhead we caught, but it was a bunch. Normally when we get a nice 8 or 9 pounder it’s a big deal, but this trip we were saying awe it's only an 8 pounder. The size of this year's run was amazing, but the really neat thing was how fresh these guys were. Fresh meaning they have very recently swam up the rivers out of Lake Michigan within a few days. When the water temperature is in the 50s and you get fresh fish they are referred to as Hot!....meaning they will rip line off your reel and not look back, and they may jump 4 feet out of the water...several times. I had one that jumped 5 times before it got off.  When you have a hot one on, it takes longer to land them and during that extended fight the chances of the the hook pulling out or the line getting cut increases... we had an excellent ratio of landings to hook ups, in my opinion, over 50%, especially for hooking into so many hot ones.

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 About as fresh as you can get                                      changing colors                                                        Compared to the first photo of the Fresh run you can see the transition as they darken and get the red stripe the longer they are in the river the darker they get and start to look like rainbows.

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Beautiful Fresh Run Steelhead                                  Starting to get a little pink                                        13 lb hen was my second largest steelhead I have ever caught

These silver chromed, fresh, hot steelhead is what keeps me coming back for more. They are acrobatic, strong and beautiful. What more do you want?
Had to share the following photos... you may not like one of them, but it is the normal process of the life cycle of salmon. You will find the bodies of the dead ones along the banks on the inside turns where the current flow is slow. Not a pleasant sight and not a pleasant odor. The second photo is a very rare sighting of a Michigan Alligator.