This week’s WORTHY WATCH is a video I came across a few years ago, shortly after we bought a small parcel of land in Michigan’s upper peninsula. One of the deciding factors in our decision to buy land up north was due to the excellent fly fishing opportunities that the UP offers, especially for trout. One can not be an upper peninsula fly fishing fan without being a reader of Ernest Hemingway. At least you shouldn’t anyway.
Hemingway wrote his short story “Big Two Hearted River” based on adventures he had along the Fox River near the small town of Seney, Michigan. He opted to name the story after the upper peninsula’s more famous Two Hearted River, but facts are that his fishing and camping was done on the lovely little Fox.
The Fox River in the UP is a small river by most standards. I’ve noticed it’s a common theme in the UP to call a body of water a “river” that the rest of the country would call a brook or stream. Alder choked and narrow, the small and remote trout streams of the upper peninsula can be difficult to fly fish due to limited casting room. Trying to untangle your back casted fly from an alder thicket is frustrating enough to make a nun cuss on Christmas morning. Nonetheless, one can roll cast or simply let the fly drop into the water and feed it line. The river current will then carry your fly down stream, through a deep hole and (hopefully) into the mouth of a hungry brook trout. It can be done and despite the frustrations, there is no where on earth I would rather be with a fly rod in my hands and a cigar clenched in my teeth.
I have yet to fish the Fox River, although I’ve stood on the bridge in Seney and looked down into the cool waters that Hemingway describes in his story. I was on my way home from a backpacking trip to Grand Island and only had a few spare minutes, but took the time to at least visit and tip my hat to both the Fox, the trout that live there and Hemingway’s ghost. I’ll return one day, with my camping gear strapped to my back and my little 3wt fly rod in hand.
Anyway, back to our video of the week. In this video the crew from Michigan Gone Wild spend a day fishing Hemingway’s old stomping grounds. Yeah, one of the guys opts for a spinning rod, but the other fella goes the more traditional route and casts a fly rod. It appears that ant imitation flies will do well on the Fox when chasing summer brookies. Enjoy!
BONUS!!! If you like this video, the thought of fly fishing small waters in the UP and reading Hemingway do yourself a favor and check out the e-book entitled “In Search of Hemingway’s Meadow: A Return to the Big Two Hearted River” by Jeff Day. Jeff takes camping and fishing gear much like Hemingway would have used back in his day, and spends time alone on the Fox. The book is only available in e-book form and at the time of this writing costs $4.99. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s free. Either way, it’s well worth the money. Check it out here In Search of Hemingway’s Meadow
ANOTHER BONUS!!! In case you’ve been living under a rock with the insects we fly tying type try to imitate and therefore have yet to read Hemingway’s “Big Two Hearted River”, you can read it for free here Big Two Hearted River
If you enjoy it, order yourself a copy of this book as it’s a classic The Nick Adams Stories It’s not all fly fishing, but a great collection of stories starring my favorite Hemingway character.