Indiana Lake Michigan Skamania Steelhead  Day #33  State #36 July 15, 2009 06/13/09 Pennsylvania
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Brother Nature
Guide: Mike Schoonveld
6312W 100N
Morocco, IN 47963
Phone: 877-725-6665
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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 the rain.  Unfortunately 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 Marina 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.  Salt 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.  We 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 figure out 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 up the banks.  Mike Ryan was an avid steelheader but admitted most of his stream fishing was in the winter months and the stream was very different this morning.  After 30 minutes at the first spot we jumped in the vehicles again and went up stream another 5 miles.  That stretch of the stream also proved to be poor.  It had rained so heavily that the stream was a total mud hole – bummer. 

We weren’t to be defeated just yet so we went to Plan C – the piers.  At the mouth of Salt Creek on Lake Michigan are the fishing piers in the Indiana Sand Dunes 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 10AM we were declaring Victory and concluding that today was just one of those days.

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!

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Fish    Last Updated July 15, 2009  - Copyright 2009