Wednesday, July 15, 2015

North Country Trail and Fly Fishing

North Country Trail
The family went out of town this weekend and provided me a last minute opportunity to get away.   I'm planning a backpacking trip in Wyoming later this summer and decided this weekend would be a perfect opportunity for a short trip up north to break in my boots and explore some new water. The North County Trail stretches from North Dakota to New York. It's not finished...maybe some day.  But it does offer some excellent hiking opportunities in Northern Michigan.  

The trail parallels the Manistee River between 2 dams, great for fishing in a backcountry like setting.   Berkley and I set off on Friday night, only making it a mile or so down the trail before dark. We pitched the tent, made a fire, and enjoyed dinner in the wild. I've never fished this stretch of the Manistee, we were looking forward to finding some fish the following day.
Manistee River
The next morning we set off, Berk flushed 3 turkeys out of out camp, his bum leg not seeming to bother him on the trail. We passed several does and a pair of fawns before we approached the river. The sights did not disappoint. The river was wide, deep, and littered with riffles. Across the valley I spotted a small stand a cedars with a campsite, just adjacent to a large sweeping bend with plenty of holding water. This would be our home for the following night. With my 6wt strapped to my pack and a small box of flies we made our way up river. About 2 miles up steam was a suspension bridge for foot traffic only. We crossed the river and meandered down the following bank in search of our campsite. We spent the afternoon fooling smaller trout and a handful of feisty smallmouth. Berk can't put in the miles like he used to, so we stayed put and enjoyed our slice of the river.  Kayak traffic was lighter than I expected, making for a peaceful day. It's not Wyoming, but it's close to home and world's away from the the reasons I love it outside.
Berkley Camping

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth

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