My first trip to the Pere Marquette was definitely one to remember. Our group booked lodging several months back and chose to stay at the historic Green Cottage right in the middle of the flies only section. After arriving shortly after midnight on the 22nd a few in the group already had the fire going and beers on ice. I am pretty sure I got about 20 minutes of sleep before we met our guide Kevin Morlock, of Indigo Guide Service, the following morning at the boat launch (conveniently located about 15 feet from our front door). And no, we were not up till 5:30 am, I just tossed and turned all night like a kid on Christmas Eve excited for our first day on the water. Not to mention my first guided excursion since I was maybe 15.
Kevin put us on some fish early, however the water was extremely low and clear which had the fish acting extremely finicky. Eventually my buddies each got some nice sized browns that were feeding below the steelhead we were targeting. I was able to land a small male steelhead while working some gravel as well. I decided a picture would be unnecessary as I was confident I would land something bigger. My confidence paid off as Kevin put me right on a big hen that took off down river. As fate would have it we lost the biggest fish of the trip at the net. We were able to get a few pictures of the browns though and my buddy Theo did a great job editing the photo of him and his first ever brown. This blog has definitely made me realize to not take a sure picture for granted.
The remainder of the weekend went well. Most of us hooked into a few more very small steelhead/rainbows. The accommodations were perfect as we were able to wade completely fishable water in both directions right out our back door. Even though we didn’t catch as many fish as we had hoped, we all agreed the PM will be somewhere we hope to return to as often as our schedules would allow. I really enjoyed being able to fish some quality water with wild fish only a few hours from Chicago.The flies only section did not disappoint, I wish we could have similar un-damned water north of Chicago! Imagine chasing Milwaukee River steelhead past Grafton or even having fish far upstream beyond the private water in Kohler. One can dream! For now we will just have to turn the car in the other direction for that type of water.