Fish Farmageddon Update


Let’s face it, the national political scene is about as entertaining as a never ending Nascar crash.  As a result, local issues seem to be easily set aside.  About a year ago Michiganfly, along with a number of far more credible sources, reported on the Grayling fish farm and their pursuit of a permit to operate the largest fish farming business in Michigan located in the East Branch of the Au Sable River (Michiganfly Piece).

To bring everyone up to speed, here’s what’s happened over the past year or so:

Trial Update

The Sierra Club and Anglers of the Au Sable weren’t able to win their case.  On February 1, 2017 Judge Daniel Pulter upheld the MDEQ permit with modifications including requiring Harietta Hills to conduct additional water quality monitoring and install settlement basins at the downstream end of each raceway where fish waste would be collected for removal.

The Permit

TDEQ Director Heidi Grether will reportedly make a final approval on the amended permit on March 8, 2017.  If so desired, Director Grether has the authority to deny the permit although this isn’t seen as a significant likelihood.

When will the facility be operational?

The facility is reportedly able to begin ramping up operations at this time.

Can anything be done at this point?

Yes, there is still hope as Anglers of the Au Sable plans to take the case into the judicial court system.  Those of us interested in supporting their cause can do the following:

1. Get educated

MLive piece Read This

Anglers of the Au Sable Trial Recap Read That

NY Times piece (hint: if you have anger management issues DO NOT read the comments) Read if you’ve got the time

2. Those active on social media are encouraged to share updates from the Anglers of the Au Sable website: https://www.ausableanglers.org/

3. Anglers of the Au Sable has spent several hundred thousand dollars and anticipate several hundred thousand more.  Funding comes from the general public Get wallet and click here

4. Take a look at Congressman Dan Kildee’s legislation and write your congressman.  So, new legislation was proposed by Congressman Dan Kildee on February 9, 2017 to ban fish farming in the Great Lakes and all federal “Wild Scenic Rivers” including the Au Sable.  The legislation is called the Ban Aquaculture in the Great Lakes Act.  Mlive has a nice overview of the proposed legislation (MLive Link)

This massive fish farm is a bad idea and needs to be shut down.  Get educated and get involved by voicing your opposition and supporting those who are willing to fight the good fight.  The national political scene is a mess, we all get that, but let’s not become complacent about what is happening in our back yard here in Michigan.

Travel Ban Invoked Against Michigan Anglers


This week marks the midway point of the annual migration of Mitt Monkeys to the northern Arkansas White River watershed and, as expected, tensions with local residents are at an all-time high.  From the bloated Cotter Courier police blotter to boat ramp protests at the Bull Shoals dam, it’s clear that Michigan anglers have once again worn out their welcome.

With local officials at their wits’ end, area officials reached out to inquire whether the new administration’s controversial travel ban could be invoked.  After hearing testimony from local restaurant and hotel proprietors and reviewing selected 911 recordings, the administration quickly became sympathetic to the plight of Arkansas residents and committed to adding Michigan anglers to the travel ban under an executive order.  “We think this is best for everyone” tweeted POTUS, “these Mitt Monkeys are really bad and totally stupid”.


The area has a long history of Michigan angler distaste.  Tensions boiled over in 2015 when Mitt Monkeys were suspected of starting a fire at the Bull Shoals dam (link to article).  In 2016, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission issued an invasive species alert for Michigan Anglers, a tongue-in-cheek campaign with limited success (link to article).

A rapidly growing group of area politicians are advocating additional tactics to supplement the ban including the construction of a wall said to be paid for by Michigan anglers at the Arkansas border.  Others have put forth a plan to post “Welcome to Buckeye Country” signs at the border meant to confuse, disorient, and deter Michigan anglers.


With the expectation of an executive order, residents may finally get permanent relief from their distant neighbors to the north.  Will the impending travel ban keep Michigan anglers from venturing south or is a massive wall in order?  Michigan anglers may finally realize that they aren’t welcome back in Cotter.

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.

Fly Fishermen Ponder the Approach of Peak Beard


Although few would argue that the steady rise of beard fanaticism is sustainable, many were taken by surprise this past week when Dale Dobak greeted his clients at Green Cottage on the PM Monday morning with a face as smooth as a baby’s bottom.  Dobak has long been considered a leading indicator of peak beard not only due to his use of beard fibers as dubbing in many of his unique steelhead patterns but also because his wooly mammoth beard covers a number of ill-advised face tats.

Michiganfly reached out to several local bearded fly brah’s for comment on this momentous event:


“Once I saw a small pair of hands shoot out of Dale’s beard to help with a client’s tangled line”


“I heard that brah’s beard got him in tight with a pack of local Sasquatch.  That shave is probably some kind of Sasquatch hazing ritual”


“What’s next, are you going to tell me that Dobak took up golf?”


“No way.  Dobak’s beard has some kinda forcefield around it.  One time at a tying demo I saw his scissors get too close to that beard and they just flew out of his hand”

Is peak beard in sight, will the Dobak doctrine hold true, was Dobak duped into shaving his magnificent beard?

Friday Update

Happy Friday, for us 9-5er’s that are essentially caged animals Monday through Friday another respite is nearly upon on.  Weather looks good in the Mitt this weekend, hopefully things don’t blow out with too much water.  A couple of interesting things going on right now I wanted to make everyone aware of:

MYSTIC RODS (Friends of Mitt Monkeys and all fish heads everywhere) has new hats and they are sweet.  They have free shipping from now through Sunday if you place an order.  I know that supplies are limited, so get in while you can. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.


Nomad Anglers has a great lineup of fly tiers at their 3 Locations this winter, whether you are a beginning or an expert that is always something you can learn.  I’ll be tying giant junk for trout on Feb. 22nd at the Grand Rapids location – I promise to tie mediocre flies but tell spectacular lies.  Facebook SIgn Up <— Facebook signup here.

Have a good weekend, get outside and do awesome stuff.

We’re Back…….



The very first post written on MichiganFly was published on Jan 9th, 2014 – 3 years ago today.  That Michigan winter was especially brutal, temps that reached a high in the single digits for several days in a row and snow that was measured in feet instead of inches.  Dan and I started this as a coping method as we searched for any crutch available to maintain the level mental sanity we both had.  Luckily for us, jumping on the internet and acting like clowns worked to the degree that we didn’t have to resort to our final plan that involved tons of drugs and booze.

We decided at the time that we would operate the blog through the winter months, then bail out of it when time no longer permitted, usually signaled by the polar bears and penguins migrating back to more permanent arctic lands.  So……..we’re back for the next couple of months.  Who’s ready for Tuesday bananas?

2016 was a good year – they are all pretty damned good if you have a group of friends that you spend time with on the water.  Here’s a the start of a brief recap:


Instead of typing some BS that nobody wants to read here, a video recap is probably better.

A few trout a few steelhead, nothing wrong with that.  Then towards the latter half of spring, something happened that….that changed everything forever.  In our circle a 20″ trout is usually referenced as a “good fish”, anything over 24″ becomes a “giant” and if you topple the 27″ mark, something that has been done once by Jeff (see his work at  Fly Fish the Mitt) its legendary status.

Well, Dan (MichiganFly co-founder) didn’t just set a new bar this year, he took the old one, broke it and shoved it up everyone’s rears.  Never in my lifetime did I expect to witness a 30″ resident brown trout being put into the net – but it happened.

The fish ate a fly of Dan’s own design – the Mitt Fiddle.  Guess what bug got fished by everyone else a lot for the rest of the year?


Personally, I was on the struggle bus a bit streamer fishing this past spring.  I had a number of opportunities at good fish maybe even a few giants in there – but usually I had my head up my ass and completely blew the chance.  Definitely, something that will be addressed this year.  I don’t know – is there some surgical procedure or something to remove craniums from rectums?

Rest of the year recap to come soon.  Tune in tomorrow for the 1st Tuesday Bananas of the year!

2016 B1F – Chase for the Duke & Lily Cup

2016 B1F Program2016 B1F Program 12016 B1F Program 22016 B1F Program 32016 B1F Program 42016 B1F Program 52016 B1F Program 62016 B1F Program 72016 B1F Program 82016 B1F Program 92016 B1F Program 102016 B1F Program 112016 B1F Program 122016 B1F Program 132016 B1F Program 142016 B1F Program 152016 B1F Program 16

Unpopular Fishing Blog Announces 7 Month Vacation

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 9

Likening the task of pushing out two or three posts each week to repeatedly placing a man on the moon, wildly unpopular bolggers at Michiganfly announced today that they will be taking 7, maybe 8 months off to recuperate, fish, and try desperately to catch up on American Idol before the series finale.

Just when site traffic finally began to surpass most pre-2012 inactive DIY project blogs, the guys predictably decided to “take a bunch of time off before people’s expectations get way out of whack” according to Michiganfly’s Chief Rocka.

Response from their tragically low readership has been mixed.



“It’s obvious they’ve been coasting the past few weeks and to be honest, I don’t think I could bear to see what they’d post if they were to try even less” commented Rich Youngstein.


“Avoiding work is pretty much what they do best so it’s no surprise they’ve decided to take a 28 week vacation” commented Ryan “Pulled Pork” Riggins.

Unsurprisingly, many appreciate the break.


“I just wish I could get back the four or five hours that blog sucked from my life this past winter” commented Cole Beardsley.

When asked if actually planning to return later in 2016, Bob and Dan commented that they’ve been thinking of opening a mall kiosk selling replica designer sunglasses and motorized scooters with all the click-through proceeds from their site. If for some reason that fails you can expect to see them back at it this fall.


Fly Tier Accused of Being a Adult Video Addict


Everyone knows that your Internet browsing history can be awfully incriminating if brought to the public eye.  However one man feels he was unjustly dragged into a domestic argument with his wife over the contents of his Firefox history and bookmarks folder.  The man is a well known fly fisherman in his social group and an avid fly tier.  He prides himself with his ability to tie some of the sports most exotic and complex streamer patterns that often have equally exotic and complex names.  However it is these suggestive names that have landed him in the hot seat with his wife.

“So, I just HAPPENED to stumble into his browsing history looking to install an extension or whatever and the list of YouTube videos and websites I saw just disgusted me” says his wife. “He claims they are instructional videos for the flies he ties, but I wasn’t born yesterday. He clearly has a porn addiction.  I heard about this on Dr. Phil!”

The man claims that it is all a misunderstanding and that he has just been working on developing his skills tying various streamer patterns that are  known to be top trout producers.  When we inquired about what patterns lead to this dispute, the following list was provided:

Articulated Butt Monkey 

Sex Dungeon 

Barely Legal

Double Screamer 

Big Hole Bug 

Butt Sump 

Pearl Necklace 

Stacked Blonde 

T&A Bunker 

Trophy Wife 

Girl on Girl Action 

Skinny Dip

Even with links, that list seems sketchy. But a trip to a local fly shop confirms these gaudy globs of feathers and synthetics toting sexy names are in fact real streamers that SUPPOSEDLY catch fish.  After our interview, we’ve been unable to contact the man as his wife informs us he is in therapy.  Which leads us to the question; are pro-fly tiers just having fun when naming their creations?  Or are they a cover for the online pornography industry and creating a new breed of porn addicted sportsmen?  We may never know….

Brah’s Annual Steelhead Weekend


Preparing for the annual weekend of “hot steelhead action” with Sam, his high school best friend, Dale Unger has a pretty good idea what to expect. Sam, a tantrum-prone 35-year-old, predictably goes through the same rituals starting with a healthy dose of pre-trip boasting about all of his new gear, secret bugs, and YouTube prep for an average of 12 weeks prior to the outing culminating in the purchase of a top shelf rod, reel, or waders, typically a brand name he’s spent years criticizing. About one week out Sam’s focus and attention is directed to heavy internet analysis with hourly USGS updates, Facebook puffing, and sarcastic forwarding of fishless outing reports from acquaintances with taglines like “not gonna be us pal”.

Knowing the impending events about to unfold, Dale endures Phases 1 and 2 like a pro realizing that this, by far, will be the most joy Sam will feel during the entire experience. Phase 3 starts in the parking lot where they meet Saturday morning when, while gearing up, Sam begins laying out a carefully orchestrated series of handicaps and disadvantages for use at some appropriate moment during the day. In a futile attempt to lower the odds of a meltdown, Dale often gives Sam’s gear a quick once over for obvious flaws.

During the walk in, Sam treats Dale to stories of his many successful outings in this river, often recounting events that Dale is pretty sure never involved Sam. Tuning out Sam’s tall tales, Dale recounts some of the more memorable blowups, fondly recalling the 2013 event when Sam spent 45 minutes fighting a “monster chromer” that turned out to be a despondent turtle. In 2014 it happened when Dale hooked and landed a large buck in water Sam had fished for over an hour. 2015’s meltdown resulted from Sam ripping a hole in his waders trying to step over a low barbed wire fence and snapping Sam’s brand new Sage 8wt that he’d nicknamed Excalibur.

Desperately trying not to trigger Sam’s impending hysterics, Dale fishes secondary water two bends down from his pal. After about an hour and when some of Sam’s gear begins floating by, Dale knows his buddy is upstream going ape shit.  Thankful for not having to witness this years meltdown, Dale quietly gathers his gear and prepares to call it a trip.

Reflecting on the galactic disconnect between Sam’s expectations and reality, Unger notes that it would probably help if Sam got out and fished on some of the 363 days between outings.

Man Ticketed for Indecent Exposure on Popular Michigan River


Baldwin, MI – Northern Michigan resident Ryan Zeller has been known by his angling peers to employ creative means of warding other would be fisherman away from his secret fishing spots in the past.  However, this winter his antics landed him in hot water with the local authorities and made a lasting impression on passing anglers.

Originally bantered about with his fishing partners over a night of consuming large amounts of Fireball and Boone’s Farm watching Babe Winkleman reruns in his basement, little did the others in the group know that Ryan would follow through on a devious plan that everyone wrote off as a joke.  Friend Paul Sullivan, said with a still stunned expression plastered across his face, “you can’t do anything anymore without someone being offended, I guess this was just going to far.”

Tired of being encroached upon by other anglers, either letting their centerpin rigs drift through his run from 3 bends above or being “low-holed” by anglers seeking prime real estate on the Pere Marquette River, Ryan waited for the right opportunity to hatch his master plan to ward off intruders.  With as many as 15 other anglers within Ryan’s line of site he casually pulled his buff down from under his nose, proudly displaying a hideous Fu Manchu facial hair configuration.  All reports indicate that Ryan’s attempt at Hulk Hogan’ing people away from him drew a raucous laugh from the growing crowd.

But Zeller didn’t stop there.  Like a scorned exotic dancer working at a backwoods gentleman’s club, he began tearing off every shred of clothing that adorned his torso, tossing the warming layers far onto the river bank.  Zeller’s rage stripping concluded when he clumsily slid out of his neoprene waders revealing pair of pasty white legs and a pink banana hammock that appeared to be filled with a zucchini from last years garden.

Hearing the commotion from 2 bends above, MDNR agent Phil McCracken who was out investigating a Sasquatch sighting, had made his way down the bank just in time to see Ryan turn to the crowds and angrily gesture towards his man parts in a last ditch desperate attempt to scare them off.  McCraken stated “I thought I was going to have to draw my gun, it appeared he had a sawed off shotgun in his speedo.”

McCraken issued Ryan a citation for indecent exposure and instructed him to dress and return to his vehicle.

Truck Driver and Fly Fishing Fashion Collide

who wore it better

The industry segment of the fashion world that serves up design and marketing to long haul truckers is considering a change in focus as a result of apparel trends in the fly fishing community.  Industry spokespeople claim that fly fisherman are more and more emulating the traditional “trucker” look with their style.  “Trucker” style mesh/foam hats, plaid shirts, puffy vests, comfortable pants and slip on shoes are all common sights at both local fly shops and trucker stops these days.  As such, the textile industry is shifting focus to marketing products to the fishing industry.

However, this merger of styles has been causing some confusion in several social circles as the two groups are often mistaking each other for peers.  A long haul trucker based out of the Grand Rapids area was recently quoted saying:

“I was at a gas station last week, saw a guy over at the instant latte machine who I assumed was a fellow trucker based on his appearance.  Had the mesh back hat, fancy vest for holding sunglasses and road snacks, comfy pants and the all important crocs.  But when I asked the fella what kind of rig he was running, he rambled on about a custom scandi butter stick rocking a hella aggressive front taper and mow leaders’.  I figured he worked for some European trucking outfit until I saw him walk out and get in an early 2000s Toyota Tacoma with more stickers on it than should be legal.  It was at that point I realized he was a into that whippity whip fly fishing and NOT a trucker.  So confusing….”

Petitions by truck driver unions for a ban on companies producing fly fishing clothing that mimics their uniforms has thus far been ineffective but they vow to keep on fighting to protect their image.  In the meantime, fly fisherpeople continue to take to the rivers looking exactly like truck drivers.


***If you like Tuesday Bananas and want to show your support, or even if you don’t like Tuesday Bananas and you hate us and want to defile our swag that took painstaking seconds to create, CLICK HERE FOR INFO

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week column intended for entertainment purposes only.



Tuesday Bananas is moving to Friday this week for a BANANARAMA SPECIAL.  To hold you over here is a video of Sesame Street Performing the Warren G & Nate Dogg Classic “REGULATORS”

MARCH Video Recap

Here’s a quick edit recapping Michiganfly’s March (watch in 720 or 1080p for best experience):

MDNR Unveils Master Plan to Thwart Snagging



Snaggers looking to pluck fish off beds this spring may find the task more challenging than ever as MDNR plans to deploy their fleet of metallic monofilament-chomping fake fish known as Gravel Guards. Placed strategically in and around spawning areas, Gravel Guards deter those planning to “fish” actively spawning steelhead with their scissor like mandibles and realistic profiles. Results of the Gravel Guard test phase were considered a fantastic success during the spring of 2015 as many anglers looking for an easy meal left disappointed and separated from most of their terminal tackle. Crowds gathered at times to watch world class lifters and snaggers attempt, unbeknownst to them, the impossible task of hooking a 40 inch, 75 pound, fake fish.

“When we realized our poaching hotline had been dialing a closed soul food restaurant in Detroit for the past 5 years we decided to refine our approach” commented MDNR spokesperson Phil McCracken. Following the hotline debacle, efforts to remove snaggers primarily involved posting bogus used car ads at trailheads, mostly for late model Chevy Astro Vans, a wildly popular vehicle among the snagging community. After a couple years of distracting snaggers with excellent results, the Astro program was exposed and snagging resumed in force.

With fewer returning steelhead anticipated this year, MDNR’s approach to protect the limited resource is considered pure genius. While a shroud of secrecy surrounds the program and specifics as to where Gravel Guards will be deployed, it’s no secret where snaggers tend to operate. River stretches with monofilament tangled tree limbs and the occasional rusty lawn chair are considered prime locations but beware as the agency plans to deploy some in secondary gravel areas to keep the honest fisherman honest.

Let it be known that MDNR has given fair warning to fishermen that choosing to snag may lead to nothing but frustration and failure. Time will tell as to whether the Michigan crickets and other lead-laced treble hook creations have finally met their match.

2016 Midwest Fly Fishing Expo


Sorry for the recent lack of activity – both work and life have had me firmly gripped right by the man sack.

This weekend I’ll be in my usual spot, manning the Mystic booth with Dennis and crew – stop by and see me.  Maybe we ought to come up with a secret Mitt Monkey handshake or something?  Never mind, that would probably go south in a hurry.

For more info click this link -> Midwest Fly Fishing Expo

Amusement Park Announced for Prized Michigan Trout Stream


Tourists looking to visit the old Grayling Fish Hatchery this summer to throw a few pellets and maybe wet a line will be thrilled to find that the hatchery is now a fully-fledged amusement park. Doing what they do best, Hunkeydory Hills has exploited yet another aspect of their arrangement with the county by opening Desolation Au Sable, a hatchery-themed amusement park. Providing that much needed bump to already skyrocketing revenues, the park pokes some good natured fun at county and state officials eager to give away the resource.  “It was kind of a joke when I said we should memorialize the desolation of the Au Sable with a theme park” commented Dale Vermin, owner and operator of Hunkeydory Hills, “and they freakin’ gave it to us!”.

Vacationers will really enjoy the attractions and rides awaiting them at Desolation Au Sable including the Au Sable Tilt-A-Whirling Disease, a classic ride with a local flare. Patrons will be thrilled by the crazy corkscrew ride, not unlike the journey that many juvenile trout stricken with whirling disease will be making in the river. This Tilt-A-Whirl is not for the faint of heart and boasts a 90% mortality rate, similar for both patrons and trout fingerlings. Survivors will be rewarded with a lifetime supply of skeletal deformation and neurological damage.

Those seeking interactive exhibits and youth oriented activities will be not be disappointed. “Overload the Ecosystem” lets guests enjoy dumping trash can sized hoppers of phosphorous and fish excrement directly into tanks of unsuspecting rainbow fingerlings. Children will experience a sense of unrestrained glee watching fish spend their remaining seconds in confusion and agony. Later, algal blooms develop and provide park attendees with a sense of natures chemically enhanced beauty.

Kids will also love the “Suffocator” where they will enjoy witnessing trout mortality first-hand as trout pens fed with clear, cold, oxygen enriched river water are switched with warm oxygen-deficient water simulating expected summer conditions on the Au Sable. Prizes will be awarded to kids able to estimate the number of floating fish, rounded to the nearest thousand.

Extending the olive branch, Hunkeydory Hills will generously hire locals unable to find gainful employment following the decline of the Au Sable fishery. In addition to earning minimum wage as attraction and ride operators, former guides and lodge owners will enjoy re-living the devastation and horror of their fishery’s decline each day in painful detail.

Expectations are high for Desolation Au Sable this summer as families begin planning dream vacations in the little town formerly known for trout fishing.


***If you like Tuesday Bananas and want to show your support, or even if you don’t like Tuesday Bananas and you hate us and want to defile our swag that took painstaking seconds to create, CLICK HERE FOR INFO

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week column intended for entertainment purposes only.

More on the Au Sable


We ran a feature on the extreme dangers facing the Au Sable river with the proposed scaling of an existing tourist attraction (that isn’t much of an attraction) last Tuesday instead of our weekly Bananas article.  This is so important of an issue that it merits further attention.  Mich Outdoors recently put together an overview of information that I encourage you to read, you can find it here: Au Sable River is Under Attack

This is incredibly important for a multitude of reasons.  First and foremost, that Au Sable is an incredibly valuable resource to our state.  It is a nationally renowned fishery that attracts FAR MORE tourist near and far than the existing tourist attraction that is proposing to expand by more than 15x.  The undoubtedly negative environmental impact of this will be extremely damning to the entire ecosystem of the river, and the economy that the river creates.

The potential damage of aquaculture or aquafarming far outweighs any capital gains that the state or the economy may experience as a windfall from supporting these businesses.

The shortsightedness of this issue creates a scary precedent for all waters – not just in Michigan.  If this can happen on the Au Sable, I’m sorry to say – IT CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP.

Here are some important excerpts from other resoures:

From the Anglers of the Au Sable

The DEQ admitted that when the fish farm discharges effluent at the maximum levels allowed by the permit, the fish farm will emit 160,000 pounds of fish poop and uneaten fish food, and 1,600 pounds of phosphorus per year. ** Without getting into detail, suffice it to say the DEQ testimony was weak. It reminded me of what the Flint Water Advisory Task Force said about the DEQ’s performance there: “Minimalist,” willing to accept mere “technical compliance” to protect the public, dismissive of others who raise concerns, and wrong in its interpretation of the law.

Finally, Dr. Canale applied his new model to the Au Sable River, and then assessed the effects the fish farm would have under various scenarios. His testimony and exhibits were stunning. He found that, even without the Grayling fish farm, the river violates oxygen standards. He said that, even if the fish farm performs the best possible treatment of its fish poop and feeding, the river will continue to violate dissolved oxygen standards. Finally, he said that, during low flows (summer drought conditions), if the fish farm were at maximum production with no treatment, oxygen standards at Stephan Bridge would be violated 98% of the time!

His findings regarding dissolved oxygen levels at Stephan Bridge were particularly alarming. Gary Whelan was asked if the current DEQ permit is sufficient to protect the river. His answer was short, sweet and to the point: “No.”

From Mich Outdoors

The Michigan DEQ (yes, the same group made infamous by the Flint water crisis), has approved a permit to turn a small tourist attraction into a large scale fish farm on the Au Sable River. Currently the small flow through hatchery produces less than 20,000 fish per year, but the state and county have approved the expansion, up to 300,000 fish per year

  • Harrieta Hills (the people wanting to expand the farm) is being given the land for $1 on a 20 year lease

  • They are not required to expand or upgrade the current waste disposal system that has been in place since 1914 and designed to produce a fraction of the fish.

  • This farm is located just above the “Holy Waters” section of the Au Sable. Which means this trout fishing mecca, that people travel the world to experience, is directly in the cross-hairs, and will without a doubt suffer a tremendous hit to water quality.

  • There are other state ran hatcheries that have been required to invest tons of tax payer money (rightly so) to upgrade their systems to create little to no harmful discharge. For some reason however this private company is not being held to the same standard.

  • This is being looked at as a gateway case by the state, its agriculture agencies, and Harrieta Hills to open up our great waters to more large scale aquaculture business that could further hurt our delicate ecosystems.

After the farm was shut down, the state opened a large farm at the headwaters, quickly destroying the remaining trout population. An frighteningly similar situation. A once world renowned trout stream that brought tourists from around the globe was destroyed. The article below shows the research to the problem, and also explains that once the farm was shut down the river has experienced a rebound in local resident trout.

From Gink and Gasoline

They intend to operate the hatchery with little modification, which will flush all of their raw waste untreated into the river until they reach 100,000 pounds production, at which point they plan to establish “quiescent zones” in which solids will settle to the bottom and be scooped out and disposed of. And that’s it. No wastewater treatment. No filtration. No real cost to HHTF, and no real oversight by the county or state– they will be self-monitoring their discharge. If that weren’t enough, the DEQ acknowledges that water quality will suffer but “that lowering of water quality is necessary to support the identified important social and economic development in the area.” All of this just upstream from the famed Holy Waters stretch of the river. Angler’s and conservation groups asked that a performance bond be required of Harrietta Hills Trout Farm in case of damage to the river, but this request was denied by the county.

But here is what is really frightening. Harrietta Hills Trout Farm, the Michigan Aquaculture Association, the DEQ, MDARD, and the Department of Agriculture see this as a gateway operation to opening up Michigan waters to large-scale aquaculture including open net pens in the Great Lakes.

Feature – Dave Hise, Casters Fly Shop


I met Dave Hise a number of years ago, I had wandered into the Grand Rapids Orvis shop completely new to fly tying and not knowing my head from my rear in regards to where to even start.  Dave, sitting behind the counter was quick to greet me and offer his help.  I don’t know why, but at the time it was some sort of embarrassment for me to admit I didn’t even know where to start when it came to spinning bugs – instead I started fumbling around the walls of slat board loaded with endless pegs of colorful materials that at the time I had no clue what their applications or purpose were.

I suppose that my lack of comfortability in accepting Dave’s offer to help was probably a result of my previous interactions with other fly shops.  The monumental level of smugness and unhelpful attitude that I had experienced previously left me apprehensive to  seek advice or help.  Instead I opted to pretend to know what I didn’t know, quickly slide into the shop disguising myself as someone “in the know” grab a bunch of materials that I had no knowledge of the purpose, return home and try to figure stuff out.

Dave though, he was different.  It was obvious to him that I had no idea what I was doing – so he pursued further conversation with me.  As a result, I learned more in 5 minutes talking to Dave than I had in the previous 5 months.   This positive encounter substantially changed the path I was on.

Dave has since moved to North Carolina, opening Casters Fly Shop (<- click here).  He has won or been nominated for a number of tying and fishing awards, including a number of nominations for Orvis Guide of the Year.  He has an enormous number of fly patterns (<- click here) that are carried and distributed by Orvis.  Always trying new materials, Dave’s tying style is unlike most, pushing the envelope in developing ways to create fishable realistic patterns.  His flies combine realism that exceeds others and yet are functional to fish.

hise hex

Dave’s use of materials and innovation has always inspired me, since the time that I walked into the shop a fly tying rookie all the way up until this point.  While not tied to the exact lofty standards of his flies, many of the patterns that I carry in my box are direct descendants of Dave’s flies.


Reviews of Dave’s customer service are nothing short of glowing.  His ability to consistently get his guided clients into exceptionally large North Carolina trout is impressive.  The innovation and knowledge that he shares with the fly fishing community has a positive impact on the direction of the industry.

Recently I was in desperate search of a few particular materials that the local shops do not carry, I needed these materials pronto for a demonstration tying event coming up.  Because of extremely poor planning on my part I was in a bind, I had to get the materials quickly.  I contacted Dave and explained the situation – of course he had the materials I needed, his shop has quite literally every tying material imaginable.  But that is not the impressive part, Dave continued to go far above and beyond and took it upon himself to rush ship my order to ensure they arrived in Michigan ahead of the time that I needed them.

In an age where there are endless options of where to buy from, its this extremely high level of customer service that continues to set Dave apart in the fly fishing industry.

Weekly Review


Matt Zudweg is one of the most talented people I have ever known, check out this feature at FrankenFly.

Some day I’ll have a Swift, and it will look as classy as this glass looks.

Gink and Gasoline has great casting tips here.

Rivers of Reckoning is one of my favorite reads this week he lays out the insanity that is associated with articulation

I’d really like to know how flexible Windknots & Tangled Lines is with #2 on their Prostaff Checklist.

Pile Cast hits close to home with this one.

Everything you need to know about sinking lines at Itinerant Angler.


Scientists Discover New Tribe of Mousers in Pigeon River Country


Mitt Monkey Special Correspondent Jason Tucker of Fontinalis Rising brings us a breaking story from Northern Michigan. 

Gaylord- Anthropologists with Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources are abuzz today with the discovery of a previously uncontacted tribe of Mousers in a remote section of the Pigeon River Country.

“We were up at night in our helicopter” says lead scientist Dr. Jared Ostro, “looking for anything really- elk poachers or a pot grow, anything, when suddenly in a clearing by a river we saw a fire and some headlamps. We set down as close as we safely could and tried to make contact.” The exact location is not being disclosed to protect their discovery.

There have been rumors about “Mousers” in Michigan for years, but up until now, the DNR has denied their existence. They are called Mousers because they fashion lures that look like mice in order to trick their preferred prey Salmo trutta giganticus. Many believed mousers were the imaginary bogey men dreamed up by intoxicated tubers.

“Mousers are extremely secretive, nocturnal, and usually solitary.” Says veteran Bigfoot tracker Bill Henderson. “It was years before I ever saw one, and most folks still don’t believe me.”

Well now they do. Dr. Ostro describes the meeting. “We set (the chopper) down close by and tried to make contact. When we entered the clearing where they were we tried to communicate with them via the pidgin English they are thought to speak. There were at least six of them, maybe more, dressed in their traditional garb” he says. “At first everything seemed to be ok, but quickly it became clear that we were not welcome in their territory. They became agitated, and so we backed off without provoking an incident. We are just so excited to discover a new tribe, right here in Northern Michigan.”

But the discoveries don’t end there. Dr. Dano Petrolakalis, a Doctor of Field Anthropology, who is in charge of logistics for the team added some thrilling details. “It was once thought that mousers were just rogue solitary males. We didn’t even think they reproduced, or if they did, that they played no part in rearing their offspring. But this tribe was different- there were two females with them. We thought there were three, but one of them turned out to be a male. It means that they’re a tribe. It changes everything.”

We reached out to famed fly fishing documentarist and auteur Randy Tillotsen. He seemed a bit shaken when speaking about his experience trying to document Mousers.

“The lighting man, the lighting man, it was terrible, just terrible. And I had to bleep most of the audio.” He took a drag on a cigarette held by trembling fingers. “They wouldn’t let me name the river, wouldn’t let me show their flies, wouldn’t let me take shots of the RIVERBANK man!!” he said with eyes bugging out, his voice rising as he spoke, and then trailing off.

Gerald Finkbiener, a biologist with the DNR, spoke with us on the condition of anonymity, as he is unauthorized to speak with us on the matter. “We have a zero contact policy. As long as no laws are being broke and they’re no threat to others, we have a hands-off policy toward mousers. Also, there’s no cougars in Michigan.”

Dr. Ostro says he and his team plans to return next summer to study the Mousers if they safely can. “We don’t want to change their way of life” he says. “We just want to learn their secrets- for science of course. Learn how they exist, how they’ve adapted to a nocturnal lifestyle, learn how they make their mouse lures. We will of course respect their autonomy. We will have to gain their trust first. We don’t want to destroy their world.”

Dr. Petrolakalis outlined some questions the team hopes to answer. “We want to know what role herbalism plays in their art and worship. They have a cult of donkey and unicorn worship. I mean, what’s that all about?”

Not everyone shares the team’s enthusiasm. “Yes I’m aware of rumors about lost tribes of Mousers here and there” says head of the Yale Anthropology Department Dr. Moe Schlosser. “I’ve tried to watch the documentaries but they’re all terrible if you ask me. Just awful footage and worse audio. We know that there are a few such individuals out there, but a tribe? I don’t think so.”

When pressed, Dr. Schlosser elaborated. “Just because a couple of women joined up with them and got Stockholm Syndrome doesn’t make them a tribe. Show me some dwellings, show me some six year old children tying gurglers and then you’ll have a tribe. Without further proof I’d say the jury is still out, at best.”

The skeptics haven’t dampened the team’s enthusiasm one bit. “We intend to go back and find them again after the Hex hatch. That’s when they seem to be most active” says Dr. Ostro. “This is exciting, because a new indigenous tribe hasn’t been discovered in the Pigeon River Country since the 1970’s, and they were Elk Poachers. They all died out in the 1990’s and early 2000’s once the State started maintaining the roads out there. To find a new tribe now is the discovery of a lifetime.”


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* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week column intended for entertainment purposes only.

Trout Lies

I’ve been reading through George Daniel’s book, Strip-Set recently.  There is certainly an enormous amount of information in the text to digest and I recommend it to anyone that is interested in upping their streamer game.

There is one particular part of the content that for some reason resonated with me more than the rest upon my first time through the book, it was regarding the different lies that you find trout in.  This was information that my father had given me when I first donned waders as a youngster and accompanied him to the trout stream with my Zebco rod and reel combo and empty cottage cheese container full of night crawlers the thunderstorm a few days prior brought to the earths surface.  It is also information that had been reinforced literally hundreds of times as I floated down a river and banged out casts to what I thought were spots that a trout may be sitting.

The way that George laid this information out in the book resulted in a moment of clarity.  It caused me to reflect on every good trout that was either hooked or indicated interest in a streamer on the dozens of streamer floats I had been on the previous year. I was able to quickly remember the exact type of water the fish came from and place it into one of the 3 categories below.

There are 3 different types of lies that you will find trout.

  1. Resting Lies – spots where trout are able to sit comfortably without expending many calories.  They are well protected places, most often difficult to get a bug into.  When a trout is in a resting lie, it may feed opportunistically – but will most often times show some sort of territorial aggression instead of actually consuming a fly.  This held true as I reflected upon the fish of the season past, fish that we “moved” or that gave chase to our streamers in this type of water very rarely ever found any hooks.  Most often these were fish that immediately flashed at the fly, and quickly turned back to the depths.  A behavior similar to that my 6 pound Chihuahua puts on display when when our 60 pound lab approaches his bed.  He puffs his chest out and charges at him about 3 steps to shoo him away and then curls back up and continues to dream about setting everything and everyone on fire.
  2. Hunting Lies – these are spots that are some distance away from the resting lies.  This is where trout hunt and look for food.  Often times I can identify this as shallower broken water, inside bends, or soft outside edges where smaller prey fish congregate.  This is the Old Country Buffet – we all have to drive there, strap the feedbag on, they don’t come to us.  Most of the trout that we saw AND most importantly hooked last year came from this type of water.
  3. Preferred Lies – this is an area that is a combination of a resting lie and a hunting lie, a trout can rest here and feed here – it doesn’t need to leave here.  This is where you find the bruisers, the biggest trout in any given area will certainly be in these spots.  That held 100% true for us last year, on a number of occasions the biggest fish that was seen the entire day came from this exact water.

Fish caught out of a high water hunting lie


hunting 2

Fish caught out of a hunting lie

preferred lie

Fish caught in a preferred lie

Weekly Review


Koz at True North True lays out the dangerous that threatening Michigan’s famed Au Sable

Head over to The Fiberglass Manifesto and check out the trailer for Chrome and then head to change.org and sign the petition.

Gink and Gasoline highlights everything you need to know if you want to be a guide.

Frankenfly features a beautiful caddis that certainly should be in my box.

Windknots & Tangled Lines profiles a pretty cool angler.

A Tight Loop as a great video of fantastic angler and even better person, Nome Buckman tying Nome’s Nuisance


So, you probably don’t remember (mostly because pretty much everything we say on this blog isn’t really that important for you to actually pay attention to AND/OR it was several dozen booze benders ago), but last year we ran a post seeking an intern……mostly as a joke.  CLICKY CLICKY -> Job Posting

Surprisingly enough there were a number of responses – mostly from people seeking to do the same thing Dan and I are seeking…..internet fame and acting like tough guys hiding behind the keyboard.

After careful review and a thorough’ish interview process we’ve selected a candidate!  You’ll see content from him beginning on Monday.  For your enjoyment, here’s the application and interview:

Dear sir or madam or sir-madam,

I feel fully qualified for the Michiganfly Intern position and am excited about the possibility of joining your highly skilled (if not ‘unconventional) team. Please consider the follow qualifications that I feel make me a great fit for the job and make up for the fact I only possess one and a half of the desired qualifications:

1. I am still pretty terrible at casting a traditional fly line (but don’t try to front on my chuck n’ duck toss brah) so any cast remotely better than noob level will inspire awe in me every time.

2. I have a truck and access to copious amounts of beer stores as well as an underground hook-up for some mystical Wisconsin beer that I was into before odd microbrews were cool…

3. I have been employed at a state funded University for 10 years where I work closely with college student employees. I know all the “in” variations of “bro” linguistics.

4. I’m very tall and already have vast amounts of experience retrieving flies stuck in all forms of vegetation. I was bullied a lot in my youth as well, so taking blame for other people’s mistakes will be an easy transition.

5. One time, I rowed a boat, like 600 yards up stream and guys at camp said things like “wow, you are crazy…why did you even do that?” and “you know, you could have just walked down the shore to get to your blind and not scared the deer as much”. It was pretty cool.

6. I have ADHD and am a notorious over exaggerator….plus every single fish I have seen in a river induces a sort of excited panic that usually causes my voice to double in volume and sometimes I jump around. And then I have to tell everyone I know about it including random strangers. And because my memory is so poor, I usually have to just fabricate things to fill in the blanks of the story….why not make them more awesome right?

7. I can’t figure out how to keep my iPhone from ripping off a good ten pictures in a row every time I take a picture. I’ll just move around so it’s of different angles. Plus, my student employee’s are awesome with Instagram and Photoshop….they’ll make the pictures awesome or I’ll take their meal plans away from them or ban their Internet access.

8. For 8 years, I have kept my wife from having any clue about my expensive obsession with fly fishing, firearms and video games. She also thinks I’m super busy at work all the time and not sitting here watching eleventy different youtube videos on how to tie different variations of wooly buggers.

9. I have been a walk-in fisherman my whole career. I know the best means to procure spots on the PM during peak salmon season times. I have been called a “dirty bastard” for consistently taking the best hole on fishermens trail and will ruthlessly stare down anyone attempting to shoulder in on my spot even if it can support more anglers. I also am REALLY out of shape, so some wind sprints down the river bank in waders will do me some good.

I may want to negotiate compensation a bit….but I hope you find my above qualifications ample reason to choose me as your new Intern. Feel free to contact me for an interview at your earliest convenience. If you can’t reach me, I can usually be found at Bass Pro arguing with the White River fly shop guys about how stupid high their prices are and how it’s garbage all the good sales are for hardware guys.


By far the most impressive list of qualifications we have yet to see. You have put together quite a career thus far. Maybe at this point some pre-screening quesitons are in order:
1. What’s the deepest that you’ve ever waded?
2. Oprah, Barbara Walters, and Cher – you’ve got to sleep with one, kill one, and marry one -what say you?
3. Are uplocking or down locking reel seats superior?
4. How many convictions or pending convictions are currently on your record?
5. Are kittens acceptable forms of chum for musky?


Thank you for your reply and I’m grateful you can appreciate my diverse skill set. Your questions hint at your desire for a serious fly fishing intern so I will do my best to give you my honest assessment of inquiry:

1. That’s what she said right?…if you recall in my previous application, I am quite tall, to the point that I am frequently asked “how’s the weather up there” and “do you play basketball”. In junior high, I played second string in a “you aren’t good enough to play on the school team but you can pretend with us” league. Even had a mascot that mimicked our school team. So you should know the answer to that last question is a definite NO. However it does give me the benefit of wading beyond the average angler’s safe depth. Also, if it is small mouth season, I would be willing to just straight up swim…think of the awesome under water shots of your fish. I’m pretty sure I read someplace the iPhone 5s is waterproof so we should be all set.

2. Marry Oprah for sure. I could finally fund my dream of opening my own pro shop in downtown Rochester Hills that specializes in stealing sales from Bass Pro and guiding on the Clinton River (ie eating donuts at Yates and drinking beer at Coyote Jacks while the wait staff is forced to dance on the bar). The obvious choice for kissy face touchy butt is Sher right? But she is an out spoken PETA member whom I’m assuming is vehemently against any form of fishing and I can’t give any sweet skinny white guy lovin’ to someone who looks down on my religion. So, I’ll finish what Sonny started there. And Barbara had all sorts of side action in her career….bet it wasn’t for her news reporting prowess #doyouknowwhatimsaying?

3. Wow…why don’t we go over to yahoo questions and ask if fly fishing is a superior way to fish vs spinning gear? Or post a question on a fly fishing blog whether it is ethical or not to bead fish? (see what I did there). I would say there is no clear cut answer to this question as it is based 1. on how and what you are fishing for and 2. the amount of desire you have to be perceived as a hipster fisherman or not. I usually say that uplockers are for people who care about big fish and downlockers are for guys that are aware there are rods smaller than a 6wt or use a bait caster.

4. My sketchy ass uncle said it best, “if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit!”

5. I mean, if it is acceptable for musky fly tying professionals to tie imitation baby ducks, why not floating cat parts? It is also widely known that cats are pure evil so I feel comfortable in their ability to fend off a silly musky long enough for someone to catch the fish on a fly rod. Dogs rule, cats drool!

Thank you again for your consideration!

Weekly Review

weekly review

Fontinalis Rising with his always entertaining and insightful Monday Morning Coffee.

If you don’t have one of these you probably aren’t in the cool kids club.  Fiberglass Manifesto beanies are super cool.

What could be more important than slinging 90′ of line you ask…..Gink and Gasoline breaks it down here.

Public Service Announcement: Nomad Anglers in Okemos has moved.

Flat Broke Fly Fishing is thinking of warmer temps and emerging bugs

Frankenfly features a local favorite tied by Jeff from Fly Fish the Mitt