Yesterday morning I woke to a dusting of snow on the ground.  When I arrived at the office, more snow, and the snow guns blowin' on the slopes.  This morning I woke to several inches; the lake effect machine doing its job.

Winter is generally well received, but when everyone has been hoping for snow for the last month, it is a happy sight for the ski resorts.  But what has been a rocky start to the skiing and riding season for the resorts, it has been a revered fall for the fishing and hunting enthusiasts.  

With sustained lows in the 40s, and some days even poking into the 60s, the river temps are still fairly warm considering the time of year.  Intermittent rain showers have helped flush some water into the system and keep the rivers a very welcome light stain.  Streamer fishing has been fair to excellent depending on the day, and the fish are extremely aggressive packing on extra pounds before the cold hits.  Articulated flies with lots of action are the ticket.  Natural undulation, such as bunny and marabou accents, have been a great thing to have in your flies - when stripped with a pause, these flies just seem to call fish from their lairs like a dinner bell.  If you want to be a little more aggressive, Lynch's D&D and Double Deceivers are always a great choice.  White, chartreuse, yellow - the bright colors are a solid choice.  If fishing a stretch with a decent population of rainbow trout, try to add some pink into your flies during the winter.  The smolt seem to add a nice solid hue of pink during the winter months, and I personally think it is a trigger color for otherwise wary browns.  Orange flies are also a great choice - "the new yellow" as some people call it.  Pound the water hard, and you should be rewarded.

Fall steelhead are in our midst.  The Boyne is responsive to high water periods.  As the water rises, fish enter from Lake Charlevoix.  As the water drops for a few days, the fish return to the lake.  Watch the forecast and when the rain or a melt arrives, get here and beat up on fresh chrome.  The Pigeon and Sturgeon are a great bet for fall steelhead.  Although not "Great Lakes Steel", these skippers from Mullet & Burt Lake are great adversaries on the fly.  Typically ranging 2-6 pounds, with some larger, definitely put a solid bend in the rod.  Swung flies are very effective on these systems, and the browns are responsive to them as well.  Indicator fishing with eggs and stonefly nymphs are solid producers as well.

Splake fishing will continue as long as the lake doesnt ice up.  And when it does, start targeting them under the hard water.  Speaking of hard water... to those who want to venture out.  We do not yet have ice.  Even with that said, the forecast does not show favorable conditions for ice.  Even if we start to get ice by early to mid-January, please be careful venturing out due to the limited ice production we will have had.  I know we are all eager to get out and start ice fishing, but take advantage of the fact that the lakes are still open and a boat is a viable option.

My last few trips in the woods for grouse have been fairly successful.  Although I'm not putting birds on the ground (it's tough to hit grouse with a blank), I am putting the Gordon Setter pup on wild birds in December, when I didnt think I would be able to have him on birds (liberated birds at that) until spring.  It's such a great site watching a young pup start to gain his bearings as a solid bird dog.  This extended fall has given us all additional opportunities at grouse hunting and sitting in the tree stand.

The next few days will consist of time in the shop - keep an eye out for our new 2016 winter fly tying schedule and special events.  A day or two on the water, and some time on the slopes, is also in the plan.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and is able to enjoy it with family and friends.  We hope to see you soon!

Ethan