Sunday, December 23, 2018

Jumping Down a John Voelker Rabbit Hole

The other day I came across an article that the American Museum of Fly Fishing posted on their website called "The Fishing Notes of John Voelker, Michigan's Mightiest Piscator" and found it to be a really wonderful read.

You may or may not know who John Voelker is, or you may know him as his pen name, Robert Traver.  I learned to fly fish over twenty some years ago in northern Michigan and "Trout Magic" and "Trout Madness" were, and still are, considered required and favorites reads.   I'm always kind of surprised when someone doesn't know who John Voelker is but figure that it might be somewhat geographical on why I was brought up on him and others are not.

Anyways, read the article and then go find a few of his books.

Not too long after I started writing The Fiberglass Manifesto, Adam Tsaloff, grandson of John Voelker, sent me a few emails as he was (and still is) very much into fiberglass fly rods.  In one of these emails he passed along that if I was ever up in Michigan to let him know and we'd visit his grandfather's place in the Upper Peninsula.  What an incredible invite.

The next summer I mapped out a dozen day trip all over Michigan where I spent time doing everything from trout in big water (HERE and HERE) and small water (HERE, HERE and HERE), carp sipping berries under mulberry trees (HERE) and smallmouth cruising the flats around Beaver Island (HERE).  In this schedule I also figured in a few days with Adam to poke around his northern Michigan haunts and then we'd spend the weekend at Voelker's Pond

A lot of planning went into this trip and Shane of Graywolf Rods even built me a special yellow glass four weight just for this trip which I still cherish.  We had a wonderful weekend at Voelker's Pond and I may have yet to catch a permit on the fly but I did prick a decent brook trout on the first evening near dark while standing on the Diving Board casting platform.  This was no small feat as the actual brook trout numbers in that pond are at times are very low.

While taking it all in, I spent quite a bit of time that weekend snapping images which I tucked away on Flickr and the AMFF article reminded that they were there.  What fun to look back on this experience.  Here are a few favorites from the album...


Take some time this weekend to enjoy the article on the American Museum of Fly Fishing website and if you'd like to see more images from Voelker's Pond, please click through the Flickr album.


desmobob said...


Voelker is the author who reminded me that great fly fishing fiction is a true joy. My fly fishing library was almost totally non-fiction until I was gifted a copy of "Trout Madness." That changed things! Your post has reminded me that I really need to read, and see, "Anatomy of a Murder."

Tight lines,

desmobob said...

Follow up... I just watched "Anatomy of a Murder." Two thumbs up!

Cameron Mortenson said...

Bob... Thanks for the note. I need to re-read some of these books again too along with chasing down a way to watch "Anatomy of a Murder".