Sunday, September 28, 2014

Salmonfest 2014...the Gathering

We plan all year and somehow we always still find ourselves tying the night before the trip, and this year was no different.  Salmonfest each year takes place on Michigan's Pere Marquette River and is an excuse for various old friends to get together, and as Aaron Rodgers says, "R-E-L-A-X". I just got home a couple hours ago from the four day and three night event and frankly I need some time to relax from all the relaxing we did. Don't get me wrong we put in some serious hours on the water, but I think I hurt more from laughing than I do from hiking around and fighting fish. 
The crew consists of a college roommate, a buddy I met the summer of graduation, and myself.  Every year we invite many others to join in on the fun and this year was more crowded than usual as we added a brother and his friend, a brother-in-law, a great friend I've known since kindergarten, and a good buddy from Columbus. 

Berkshire was the first one on the board this year.

There were plenty of browns around gobbling eggs up.  My working theory is that the smaller number of kings in the river so far this year have left the trout free to pillage with far less consequence than in other years where they have to worry about being chomped themselves.

The whole point of the trip to me.  Was awesome to hang out riverside to tell old stories as we made new ones!

Some guys slept mid day...

...but Brian took the opportunity to watch me tie and then learn to tie his first fly.  It was a very well tied egg that was promptly donated to the river an hour after the whip finish was completed.  Good thing he now knows how to tie more!

One of the better browns from the trip.  I wish that there was a way to make them colors vibrate and change in a picture as they do when they are in hand.  This shot simply does not do the fish justice.

Greg has been a good friend since kindergarten and lived up north for the last ten years but had only made it over to meet up with us for one other day before this year.  He fished his ass off for a couple days before landing his first salmon in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday.  Was awesome to see him get his first on a fly rod and that smile was still there when we all hit the road this morning.

It is a trip I look forward to every year as it gets us together and keeps the tradition going.  I may not see some of the guys until next years trip but as soon as we are there it will seem as though we never left.   The tradition of the Salmonfest get together is important and something to be protected, even as it is morphing more to Troutfest ot perhaps a move to later in the year for Chromefest. 
I'm beat...time to crash out for me.  It will be a short turn around for me this week as in a couple days I will be heading southwest to Mountain Home Arkansas for the Southern Council Conclave and some water time on the White.  I should have a bunch of shots and new stories to tell by the time I get back.
-mike schmidt

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