The sea was angry today my friend
and the rainless streak is over at 35.
It was a good run.
We awoke at 4AM to the sound of
distant thunder and the knowledge that today would be our first test in
rain, lightning, and Lake Michigan
are not usually good bed
fellows. We met
Captain Mike Schonveld
and his good friend and mate Mike Ryan at 5AM near the Portage Indiana
to first learn that Plan B was already in action.
We would not be going out on Lake Michigan this morning after
the famed Skamania
Steelhead. We were
relieved to escape
the uncertain danger of navigating 15 miles offshore in a lightning
storm. Instead, we
would make a trek up the Salt
Creek to find our steelhead there.
Creek is as similar to a northwest Steelhead stream as I’ve
ever seen. Steep
banks, winding switchback channels, and
lots of flood debris to navigate.
hopped into their vehicles and drove about 5 miles to our first hike-in
location. The rain
was now heavy and the stream bank
was as slippery as eel snot. Falling
flat on our butts was the order of the morning followed by trying to
how to get back up the stream banks after we had climbed down. It was literally a
four-man operation as we
formed human chains and used loose limbs and sticks to fetch each other
banks. Mike Ryan
was an avid steelheader
but admitted most of his stream fishing was in the winter months and
was very different this morning. After
30 minutes at the first spot we jumped in the vehicles again and went
another 5 miles. That
stretch of the
stream also proved to be poor. It
rained so heavily that the stream was a total mud hole –
We weren’t to be defeated
so we went to Plan C – the piers.
mouth of Salt Creek on Lake Michigan are the fishing piers in the Indiana
State Park. This actually looked
pretty fishable. The
skies were clearing, the water was calm,
and within minutes of arriving we could see action in the water as an
occasional steelhead would leap. Unfortunately
they seemed to be just beyond our casts.
We used a spinning rig as well as some
shrimp-bait rigs to test their
interest, but to know avail. By
were declaring Victory and concluding that today was just one of those
I want to commend and thank Mike
Schonveld and his friend Mike Ryan.
Their commitment to our journey was honorable
and heart warming. They
did everything they could to put us on
some fish – and under the worst of weather conditions. We’ve met a lot
of wonderful people along the
way – and these men are what make this country great.
They went above and beyond in the
face of adversity today – with nothing to gain. God Bless you guys!