A Yooper’s Right of Passage

Waking up at five-thirty in the morning is not usually something a high schooler looks forward to during his summer vacation. Regardless, that is the position I found myself in, on my way to what was described by my dad as a “yooper passage”‒ Brook Trout fishing. I was also about to be reminded that enjoyment is not entirely in a direct relation with fishing success.

Brook Trout fishing requires a specific type of location. Our’s was a little outside the norm‒ Agate Fallsmenigoz-picture of Trout Creek, Michigan. The hike down the steep slope to the river below was tricky to say the least, but it was soon forgotten when we reached the bottom. The rushing whitewater of the river high above cascaded over the edge of the falls in a deluge and crashing down to foam and mists right at our feet. It is difficult to understand how such a sense of silence is experienced in the midst of the roar of the falls.

We didn’t waste time admiring the falls, walking right out into the water and looking for a good place to cast. The ideal spots to cast are the dead spots within the swiftly moving stream (typically behind rocks or any other blockages), where the fish like to sit. Inevitably, these are always in the farthest and most difficult reaches of the river.

After some time of minimal luck, we began picking our way away from the falls and down the river, snagging often and contantly losing bait. As the thundering of the falls faded the natural sound of the woods increased, so did the mosquitoes. It was not long before my dad hauled in the first catch of the day‒ the first of very few. After a few more hits (no catches) and a little further down the river, my sister somehow managed to silently break off the end of her rod in a tree and lose it in the rushing current. Of course, my dad’s response to this was to catch two or three more fish.

It was some time after nine o’clock when we decided to call it quits. Myself experiencing only nibbles brought our grand total to about four Brook Trout and half of a rod lost. We didn’t, however, count it a failure as we had enjoyed beautiful weather and scenery and also a great outdoor activity. My dad always says that time outdoors doesn’t count against your life, and I think days like these makes me believe that to be true. After a day like this, I may even find myself looking forward to my next opportunity to wake up at five-thirty in the morning during my summer vacation.

Henry Menigoz – YCC member, Ontonagon


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