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Whistling Trout Society
Fall 2001

October 6-7

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Letter - Attending - Comments - Story - Pictures

I picked-up Larry Clark and his gear on Cayenne early Thursday afternoon for the ride to Flint and on to Kaleva. In Flint, we met my father and transferred our gear into his vehicle which already pointed North to our destination for the weekend. While in Flint, we visited a little with my mother and grand mother. We looked over my grandfather's garden to find what treasures were left before the frost came to turn the the remaining green to wilt. We gathered in a white bucket sweet red cherry tomatoes, green zucchini, a few small green pepper and a handful of yellow squash. Leaving them on the counter unwashed, and with quick kisses for my mother and grandmother, we headed north to 75. None of us could escape the empty feeling of the vacant seat next to us which should have been filled with the oldest Whistling Trout Member. (I'm going to have to remind Jim to add Grandpa George to the Members side since he made more than three visits to the Kaleva Hilton.)

We stopped North of Cadillac on M-115 to have dinner at the Timber's before finishing the final 35 miles to Kaleva in the dark... missing all the great sights of Hodenpyle and the autumn colors through Marilla.

We slipped by the cabin, father and passenger described it as "flying", and witnessing no lights but one vehicle, moved on the Kaleva Tavern. At the KT we found no Jim Perrine and partner. Much discussion and debating swirled about the possibilities that Jim was napping back at the cabin so early into the first evening of Whistling Trout! All discussion stopped after Jim and his neighbor Rick appeared shortly after finishing dinner. They were returning from cleaning fish after a successful day on the river. We enjoyed a few pitchers and Jim's fish stories, and we enjoyed the quiet music of the DJ then headed back to the Kaleva Hilton for a few hands of Euchre.

After the old guys sacked in for the night, I headed outside to enjoy a warm camp fire before hitting the tent I erected that night. The temperature was falling fast and I was not ready for sleep. It's one of my symptoms of escaping to the north, sleep is nearly impossible when the moon shines brightly and owls hoot from dark trees in nearby acres. Larry Clark joined me by the fire and we talked the talk of men who have known each other for years but still have more to learn about each other. I fell asleep that night content, and warm and happy to be in Kaleva with my father and my father's friends now mine.

Friday morning came too early as usual. We were planning on being the first ones to the riverside, to the wall. The weather forecast predicted this would be the warmest and driest day of the weekend so we wanted to make the most of it. We arrived down at Doc's 30 minutes before daylight. We jumped into our waders, rigged our rod's and layered our shirts to shield against the coolness of this early October morning. Then we waited for Jim, and waited and waited. The one who had already fished, and is usually the most organized left us standing around, tapping the toe of our wader boots and humming - hawing for him to hurry. Finally we walked the short yard to the west end for the ford across the creek and straight to the Wall. All was well except we could not see past the tip of our rod... We had arrived long before anyone else and well before enough light revealed the sunken forms that slid as smoothly as smoke through the cold waters of Bear Creek.

We stood for many minutes, alternating our sight from river to sky, anxious to see dark shapes materialize from the inky waters. I looked at my father every few minutes, hoping to see some hint he had seen a target with his more veteran eyes. We spread out along the wall as dawn spread over the river's edge. We were like horses waiting for the trumpet to signal the start of the race, but the call comes too slowly, smudged by the morning fog hanging over the fields above the Bear.

Finally we were not fooled by the shadows headed upstream in a westward flowing river. Hooks flew through the sky and the day of fishing began. I spent the majority of the morning chasing after the fish my father hooked down stream of the wall. This effectively chased away all the wall fishing wannabees that had arrived after daylight, annoyed to be beaten to the honey hole. One group grumbled away downstream with a case of beer and a bag of ice for company on the river.

By 11AM we had gathered back at Doc's to count our catch, hungry for lunch. At Dam Site Inn, we nestled down for the long wait to lunch and a rehash of Jim's stories from fishing the day before. At this time of day, the salmon are resting in the protection of deep dark holes along the curved edges of the river. They make poor targets for sight fishing and are safe for the moment from our fisherman. We took the opportunity to head back to the Hilton, reorganize our tackle, dry our waders, and catch a few minutes of sleep. I was the only one to remain awake. My father had caught a fat female plump with loose spawn that morning. After netting the fish and dragging her through the water to shore, I cut her open to harvest her eggs for spawn sacks to use for steelhead and trout later in the year. With Larry's help, we filled a ziplock bag full of tiny orange marbles and left a barren female a shadow of her original girth.... That afternoon, she was converted to a few fillets in a cooler.

So, while the gentlemen napped the afternoon away, I set about building a frame for a drying screen, then cleaned and cured those eggs so they would last the winter if needed. I did not want to spend another $2.00 for a dozen tied spawn bags if I could make my own.

Around 430, we were back to the river for another great round of fishing. We made it as far back as the fast waters past the clay banks and found plenty of great fishing. There, I spent the majority of time with Jim. I had been lured there with the promise of 25 salmon in one hole. We saw lots of fish and enjoyed the evening of falling leaves before heading back to join the rest for the hike back.

At Doc's, when the other's were pulling off gear and grabbing beers, Dad and I saw a pair of salmon in the thin water down from the culverts. We headed down and started pitching our baits at the dorsals. I was the first to connect and began a battle against a freshie that threatened down water runs to shred my 10# line. I had it hooked in the lips of the dorsal so feared no quick release and dad promptly had it landed with a great net jab near the island. By now complete darkness had descended on our cars. I quickly stripped out of damp waders and we headed to the "new" fish cleaning stations at the last bait shop on the way to Tippy. The place was jam packed so we quickly got in line with our fish. I migrated to the large fire circle that had been built downwind of the fish dumpster and listened to great stories from the locals about salmon fishing, the DNR, snagging and tippy dam.

Within the hour, we were headed to Kaleva Tavern for dinner before they shut down the salad bar and buffet. It was 8:45 PM.

Back at the camp, we played a few hands of euchre, divided up the beds and called it a night. We expected rain, sleet and snow in the am. The temperature had fallen all day and so we planned to take our time in the AM. While the others headed to bed, I headed back to the campfire and built a warm fire while waiting for Matt Kline. Determined to stay awake, but too tired from great day of fishing, I finally retired to the tent, knowing Matt's arrival could be hours away.

At 2:30 AM, Matt woke me up from my tent for a warm visit around the fire until after 5:00 am. We finally hit our bed's as morning whispered it's arrival around the edges of the horizon. Bark appeared zig zagged on the stems of trees, crab apples looked like quiet black eyes against the graying clouds.

Morning came far too early but I was eager to hit the Bear after a few diet cokes. At Doc's dad charged to the water far before everyone else and started working the island. He hooked on to a freight train and called for help. I was still 1 leg in my wader so could not answer his plea. Jim P ran to the water's edge, hopped in and followed my dad down river 200 yards, trying to spy the fish in murky water and dim light. Dad says it was the largest fish he hooked for a long time. I wish I had been there to see it and offer a second chance at landing a trophy.

We headed downriver from there and spent a great day hunting salmon. All day the sky changed from bright blue to dark clouds. Sometimes sunshine fell, sometimes rain and occasionally sleet and piles of hail gathered in the dark cool corners under the shadows. Due to the cold night, piles of leaves fell from the trees lining the creek. The river was packed with leaves and the air was so think, one would hook a leaf with every cast.

Eventually I met up again with the majority of fisherman who where stretched along the riverside down from the cabin. Larry Clark dominated this stretch of water. He caught so many fish he had to return fish to the water to avoid keeping more than his limit. A few of his fish were small Jack's which make the best eating. He was as proud as a rooster on the hike out with his great stringer of fish.

[to be continued]

Whistling Trout Society Members and Friends,

I'm getting ready for one great fall trip north. The date is 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th of Oct. I'm looking forward seeing all of you. I'll be up at the cabin on Thursday by 12 PM.

I just returned from Kaleva today (9/19) for a two day trip. A friend of mine, Rick Hornby, fished Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. We caught 5 coho salmon, the largest 19 lb. We saw, in 2 days, 10 fish. They are not in heavy yet. The water is too warm. I talked to a few locals who said the run has not started. It rained all day today so a few fish will start up. I had 8 fish on and landed only 3, two on my fly rod and the other on spinning rod. Rich had 7 on and landed two. One fish he had on would have weighed 25 lbs. I think we are going to hit fish at the right time this year. Let me know if you are coming up on the web site or call me at home and leave a message. I hope this letter finds you in a good frame of mind with all that's happened in the last week. Hope to see you in two weeks.

Your Friend Jim Perrine

Attending the 2001 Fall Trip:

Attending Arriving
Jim Perrine Thursday AM
Rick Hornby Thursday AM
Dave Borchelt Thursday PM
Larry Clark Thursday PM
Scott Borchelt Thursday PM
Steve Wallgren Saturday 830 AM
Vaughn McD2 Saturday Afternoon
Matt Kline Friday PM
Mike Goodrich Friday AM

Who Else?
No John Meyers

From Vaughn2 (9/12/01)

From Willman (9/9/01):
You can count me in. Also Jim Pernell gave me his commitment for this year. What I do not know is the day we will arrive. I will be completely converted to fly fishing and can't wait to get in the stream. If Jim is going to open the Hilton on Thursday or even Wednesday I could be tempted to go as well. When you have an idea who will be up this year and the day they will arrive perhaps you could let us know on our web sight.

FYI: I was on Lake Manistee last Saturday (bass fishing) and the salmon had been heading upstream for 2 weeks. There were 20 or more boats trolling. We saw a few fish caught and many that had met their maker floating belly up. Rumor has it that this will be one of the better years. Lets hope so. Keep us posted
and I look forward to seeing everyone for another outstanding fall trip.

Jim Willman


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Platt Map
Kaleva Hilton 
Bear Creek (65K)


Charter Members
Jim Perrine
Dave Borchelt
Larry Clark
Steve Walgren
Neil Lovering

Mike Goodrich
Jim Willman
John Meyers
Vaughn McDaniel II
Scott Borchelt
Matt Brown
Jim Pernell
Matt Perrine
Steve Rose
Jim Williams
Frank Banco

Garland Hutto
Rob Bonam
Hersh Borchelt
Doug Franz
Rod Jenkins
Carl Kalberg
Tom Kline
Al Mull
Ken Notter
Ike Notter
Greg Rand
Ted Rhing
George Tallman
Dave Voelker
Todd Swenson
Matt Kline


Weather Forecast calls for Snow on Saturday:

Fri: 53°

Sat: 43°

Sun: 46°

As of Thursday, the forecast warmed up by about 5*