Born to kill, the mink is common to northern Michigan streams. His presence along the banks of the Maple river can be seen as he slinks in and out of the grass and bushes. The mink hunts muskrats, frogs, and trout as he follows the edge of the stream. He is a high strung member of the weasel family. He is aggressive, vicious and fears little. He is very stealthy as he works his territory. His musk oil gives his fur a black, wet appearance. Mink oil is used for water proofing by him and humans.
The mink is a most marvelous mammal. He has a interesting history in Emmet county. Mink Road, off W.Conway Rd just east of where
W. Conway ends at M-119, was named for the old Mink Farm located there in the 1950's. During that time the Mink's fur was very fashionable. It's popularity was created by actresses Marilyn Monroe and Doris Day. Most women of that period wore Mink Stoles or a very expensive full length coats. The mink could not be domesticated, but was easy to raise in large numbers for the fur industry. The local mink farm experienced many escapees that always kept a supply of minks here in the northern Michigan country side.
I believe the relatives of these farmed mink have a lack of fear of humans. When fly fishing and I come face to face with one, I seem to be more of an interruption to his day as he will move away in an unhurried fashion. The mink is not very large, only about 14-16 inches long from head to tail. You will not hear him coming, but if per chance you spot him first, stand still and watch him...while he watches you.
You can read more about the mink in Reel Waters "Outdoor Lore" archives.
Just when I think I have mastered fly casting - Oops! Then the dumb question from my fishing partner "What are you doing". I'd like to answer "Oh, I'm knitting a sweater"...Duh.
I would like to think it happens to the best of us, because it does. Michigan trout streams are some of the most difficult to fish. Catkins, cedars, and tall grass force you to use the Steeple or Roll cast often. Your time on the river is supposed to be fun.
Don't let a mild set back like in the picture get the best of you. Laugh it off. I make light of these melt downs with stupid statements. Like when a client piles up his floating line on his fly I say, "The fish aren't Italian, they don't eat spaghetti". I've done the same. Patience is the lesson of fly fishing, take a deep breath, re-lock & load. A knotted up fly line is one of the smallest problems you will face in life.
I just love it when I'm struggling with a knot and a large trout is slapping the water right next to me. You can either laugh or cry, try laughing you'll live longer. So when that hang up in the cedars happens (and it will happen) and you have to field a dumb question from your buddy like "What are you doing up in the tree", I like to answer, "Oh I have a pine cone fly on and I'm trying to catch a squirrel ".
My Father used to tell me that my smart butt sense of humor will get me into trouble some day...so far he's been wrong...and life and laughter goes on.
Sweet Is The Lore That Nature Brings