Wow! It’s the middle of summer already, hex are waning and hoppers are beginning to make their presence known along banks bordering fields. Tricos will soon be the morning staple and some sections of some rivers are beginning to warm up and make them trout poor in late afternoon.
It seems like yesterday when people lamented about fishing conditions not being “up to par.” High water, cold weather and late hatches were the bane of the traditional opener. But, this is Michigan, and things move on …though not always as expected. Still, fish have been caught, released and fished for again.
Though there are still a great number of days to spend on or in the water, (I almost hesitate to bring this up.) in 8 weeks, grouse season will open and there are preparations to be made in between trips to the river. For one thing, bird dogs will need to be fine-tuned, meaning thought needs to be given to getting them in shape …not to mention getting yourself in shape as well.
One of the bi-product of the wet weather we’ve experienced is long grass, ferns and thick underbrush. What that means is, it’s going to be tough walking through coverts in search of bonasa umbellus and in the early days, it will be especially tough to keep an eye on your four legged hunting bud.
The bottom line is, conditioning and re-enforced training should begin now to be ready by the middle of September. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, a few minutes of backyard training a day for the “grouse finder” of the team will go a long way. Simple obedience reiteration will get the dog’s mind right so when he’s running in the field, you won’t sound like you’re talking “Greek” to him.
There are those who get into more grouse than Seamus and I do – and I hope I’m wrong about this – but I haven’t heard the amount of drumming along the rivers I fish and find grouse near in October, as in past years. I know the grouse cycle is supposed to be on the down side, but I just haven’t heard as many as I have in the past few years. What that means, if true, is that you’ll cover more ground and spend longer hours in the field and should be in condition for it. Daily walks and food control is necessary to get your “bud” ready.
By the way, the food control thing is “She Who Must Be Obeyed’s” idea. I think she was referring to me more than Seamus.
That being said, it’s time to tie some hoppers.