Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mad River Float Trip- 9/21/16

As the guys mentioned in the Fishing Reports from the other day, I did get the AuSable boat out on the water yesterday with clients. Thought I'd give a quick update as I think they promised. There's good news...and there's bad.

I had the pleasure of guiding Kevin and Heather Harvey from South Africa. They are "Knifesmiths" and are in the states at some conventions and teaching some classes. They found MRO on the internet and hit us up for a guide trip while in the area. I'm glad they did. We had a wonderful day on the water! They learned ALOT about fishing smaller streams and were very appreciative of the experience......despite the poor fishing.

Master Blacksmith Heather Harvey from South Africa

We shared alot about each other's country, cultures and traditions etc. and I couldn't have asked for better company. It was truly an enjoyable day of "fishing" with some wonderful folks.

By far though, the coolest part of the day.....

Heather had seemed to be very interested in the birds of the area. She was asking about our Kingfishers. I told her we saw them often, but we hadn't seen one all day. At one point we heard one...and I told her so...but we didn't see it. Then it happened....

We were just below Millerstown Rd....and here he came. 

Flying straight up the river, in all his glory, was a majestic Bald Eagle. He was flying right up the river corridor at about 20' in the air or so. I saw him 1st, and for a moment could not believe my eyes. Once I was sure, I shouted "Bald Eagle!".....Kevin and Heather turned their attention from the river to the sky just in time to see him turn off to the West and fly off into the trees. He clearly showed our foreign visitors his beautiful white head and tail. Wow!

Of course it happened so quickly that we didn't get a photo. But you'd better believe I'll be back soon looking for him!!!

As I told made my season. Especially being able to share the symbol of America with my new friends from South PERSON! I'm so glad they got to see that.

Kevin Harvey from South Africa with fish on!

The only fish (trout) of the day!

And now the bad news....

I started guiding on the Mad River in 1989.....and although as I get older my memory is not as good as it used to be....I don't think that I have ever seen the Mad River so low. At least not that I can remember.

It's been this way pretty much all Summer. We started complaining in late May and it hasn't stopped!

The water is also warmer than it should be at this time of year. Of course, I forgot my thermometer yesterday, or lost it, but I can tell you that the water was "bathwater warm". It had to be pushing 70 degrees. Combine that with the low water and the "State of the Union" is not good right now.

On top of that, September 21st and I have never seen such a leaf problem. It seems that things are so dry that the leaves are drying up and falling...even before they have a chance to change colors! Not sure I have ever seen that.  Fishing was challenging to say the least due to the leaves alone! Usually something we don't talk about until mid-October or so!!!!

I don't mean to be an alarmist or anything. I'm not proclaiming that Global Warming is taking it's toll on the Mad River. I'm just telling you what I saw yesterday, and what we have been experiencing most of the Summer here. 

I had an On-River Seminar scheduled for this Sunday and I'm cancelling. All students have been notified as of this afternoon. I cannot ethically take folks money right now as the experience will simply not be what I want them to see. Even learning and practicing is tough with the low water. Factor in the leaves dropping and it's the right call. I hate to cancel....I love teaching these classes...and surely need the income...but I'd rather be honest.

As far as Kevin and Heather go. I knew that they were looking to get out and experience Ohio. Whether they caught a fish or not, (which we did thank god), I just knew that I could show them a great day....regardless. They learned ALOT and were very appreciative. They got better as the day progressed. We talked alot about their country and culture and about ours. It was truly an enjoyable day that I will remember for a long time. We absolutely proved that a good day of fishing means alot more than just catching.

One of my "tips" was a handmade Giraffe key chain type thing that Cristina says we'll put on the Christmas tree. I for sure will think of Kevin and Heather each Christmas at the least....and the Eagle!

Here's the note I got from them today via e-mail:

Hi Brian

Thank you for a truly wonderful day yesterday.  We enjoyed it thoroughly and can recommend your outfitters to anyone wanting a great experience.  Thank you for your great patience in teaching us and for complimenting us when we got it right.  Thanks too for organizing the bald eagle sighting and saving me from the quick sand!

We feel that the few small gifts didn't justify our gratitude for the effort you put into the day, but are hoping you will enjoy the Rooibos (Redbush) tea. 

Thank you for looking into the Michigan trip, we don't think our finances will allow it this trip, but we will certainly try to book it on our next visit to the area.

Best of luck with your campaign, if we were allowed to, we would vote for you.  We think you would make a great president!  You have great speaking and people skills and your priorities right.

If you have time to check out the website for Mavungana Fly Fishing in Dullstroom, South Africa, please google it.  This is the outfitter we told you about that does the local and international trips including tigers in the Okavango and Zambezi.

Kind regards

Heather and Kevin

Truth is.....I'd trade a million days like that for one day of tons of fish with an asshole!!!

I end with another note that they sent me. A Zulu saying that Kevin remembered and passed along to me this afternoon via e-mail:

"iLanga kipa hlanzi amanzini"- means "the sun is even sucking the fish out of the waters".

Thanks for reading and let's all pray for RAIN!

Brian Flechsig

Mad River Outfitters
Fly Shop, Guides, Trips, Education and MORE!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214