Of all the states that we driven through during our epic family road trip I still believe California is the best state. We Californians pay a higher cost of living but we are blessed with the best weather, most varied terrain, and some of the best fly fishing waters. I was finally able to wet my line during the trip when my uncle took us out to do some fishing. The first trip was a small short one in Michigan and the second trip was an all-nighter in Indiana where I caught my first walleye and freshwater drum.
In Michigan my uncle took me to fish a state park called Belle Isle. This island was once a dirty city park until the state took it over. Now that it is a state park it is a lot cleaner and safer to enjoy. The Detroit River flows around the island and flows into some of the ponds keeping the water fresh.
|Michigan Belle Isle|
There are several ponds on the island and most of them hold warm-water species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill with the potential of northern pike and muskies.
I didn’t bring my fly rod this road trip so we were using spinning rods rigged with senkos. After an hour of fishing, nothing was biting. The water was higher than usual so we hypothesized that the fish were in deeper waters. A neat place to fish though, the water was very blue.
|Del-Phi AKA Tippecanoe River|
In Indiana my other uncle took us guys fishing at a place they call "Del-Phi". He also invited a 60 year-old O.G. (Hip name for Hmong elder) to come with us whom I thought was pretty hardcore. After doing a bit of researched, I found that the water we were fishing was the spill-water of Lake Freeman which flows into the Tippecanoe River. We arrived at the fishing spot at around 12am and fished until 4am. We were using spinning rods with crankbaits targeting walleye
The area smelled terrible and was extremely littered with trash and rotting fish. A bit different than what I'm use to be nevertheless the area produced fish. The potential species here were walleye, wipers, freshwater drum, bighead carp, silver carp, muskie, and pike.
After watching the O.G. catch two bighead carp on a spinner within 30 minutes, I switched my lure to a spinner and tried to match his reeling cadence. I immediate got snagged. As a matter of fact I must have snagged $30 worth of lures and crankbaits. Good thing they weren’t mine. The O.G. continued to catch fish and this time it’s a walleye. It was my first time seeing these species and they were some pretty cool looking fish with the exception of the bighead carp which were hilariously hideous.
|Not My Bighead Carp|
After about an hour of losing lures I decided to switch rods. I was using a rod with braided line which wasn’t working too well, so I switch with my brother who had a mono lined reel. After putting on a crawdad crankbait, I tossed it out and finally hooked something that came off. I continued to fish and finally caught my first walleye, a small one about 10’’ but it was my first. My phone died so I couldn’t take a picture. Walleye are some mean looking fish with a nice row of sharp teeth, nothing like what we have in Cali.
The second fish I caught was a freshwater drum also known as a sheephead. The fish fought for a few seconds but we were using spinning rods so I landed it in record time of 8 seconds! A pretty ugly looking fish but reminiscent of its more popular saltwater cousin the red drum. What I was told about the freshwater drum was that it was a trash fish and wasn’t good to eat so I just threw it back. After my drum I didn’t catch anything for the rest of the night.
Guess who ended up catching the most fish? The O.G. did with five nice sized walleyes just one short of a limit. Very hardcore. My experience fishing these waters is that it would be a lot of fun to fly fish especially since there is such a high potential to catch big trashfish. Overall a fun trip, can’t wait to go back and catch my first muskie or pike on a fly.