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The Chub and I

by Herb S.
(Southwest Michigan)

This was inspired by Chris’s excellent blog, “Fallfish!” One of the best features of Tenkarabum is the appreciation of all the fascinating fish species. Thanks, Chris!

In a fortune cookie: "There are many fish in the sea, maybe not a cute or as smart, but fish nevertheless."

Unfortunately, we don’t have fallfish (up to 20”!) in Michigan, but we do have River Chubs (Nocomus micropogon), and plenty of ‘em in our warm water streams. These babies grow to 12 or 13 inches and during the late spring breeding season the males turn a gorgeous pink-to-purple color. They’re a perfect fish for fly fishing beginners in that they’ll rise again if they miss a fly the first time and the schools are usually large. Very obliging! There’s a stretch of one stream I call “chub city” where I've taken students to get the feel of hooking rising fish before going on to other species. Guess I’m a beginner, too, because I get a still get a kick out of fishing for them. They, along with golden shiners, are great fun with seiryu tackle!

It’s very worthwhile to google River Chubs to discover their primary food is insects, they are intolerant of pollution, siltation and such and are one of the most common North American stream fishes. The part about their presence being an indicator of stream quality tickles me pink; it’s gratifying that “my” streams are loaded with ‘em. I hope yours are too.

Comments for The Chub and I

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Nov 04, 2016
Thanks for sharing your story.
by: Les A.

I really enjoyed Chris' article too as well as your story. Our underrated and under appreciated native fish is the Mountain Whitefish. I don't understand why, as they put up a really good fight and they too are an indication of good water.


Nov 04, 2016
Right you are, Les...
by: Herb S.

and thanks for commenting. I agree that it's strange that a member of the trout family (Salmonidae) is so maligned. Sure, mountain whitefish don't get to be "trophy" size, but they give a lot of sport. When fish size becomes the criterion for having fun there's something wrong. Somewhere I have a photo (taken on real film) of a whitefish that saved a rainy day on the Gallatin River. Film! Geez, it's been too long!
Happy fishing,

Nov 07, 2016
by: Phillip Dobson

Another whitefish fan here.

Sure they're weird looking and they suck at eating dry flies (I get lots of bad hookups in their tiny mouths during hatches), but they can literally take you for a run if you hook up with a big one on a tenkara rod. Montana bonefish.

Whitefish are one of just a few natives we target here; along with cutthroat and the beautiful and rare arctic grayling.

Feb 25, 2017
"Trophy" Whitefish...
by: Mike, Tacoma Wa.

Caught an 18 and a 21 inch Whitefish while fishing the Yellowstone years ago on spinning gear. To me they are just as much a "trophy" as my 38 lb. Cowlitz river king salmon! No fixed line Whitefish yet, but hopefully it will happen soon! Size won't matter though! Great fish!! Tight lines and no reels! Mike W. Tacoma Wa.

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"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662

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The fish are slippery when wet.

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