Gray Drake Newsletter Volume III



Fall/Winter 2008


Autumn Gold & Silver Fall Foliage Combined With
King Salmon And Chrome Silver Bullet Steelhead

  • Spring is the most productive steelheading season

  • Muskegon fish run well into June


blazing fall forest colors on the river - image



Deur's Brown Trout - image


We have room for you at the lodge. There is still time to reserve a spring steelhead and culinary getaway at the Gray Drake Lodge.

We've sure had one snowy and cold winter with a ton of precipitation-that's the good news! After a very dry fall, many of the steelhead stayed out in the big lakes, which will mean for a very big spring run. March will see less crowds on the river and usually produces the biggest fish of the year, since the fish are in pre-spawn condition. April and May will see the peak of the run. May is one of the strongest months on the "mighty Mo", since the cold water from Hardy reservoir creates ideal water temperatures. We had steelhead on gravel till June 18th in 2008-and the drop-back streamer fishing was superb!

We still have a few select dates available for this spring. We hope you can join us!

bigFish - image


The Crisp fall days are a great venue to enjoy these beautiful fish along with Mother Nature's final artistic display. When you're at the Gray Drake Lodge, you could watch Salmon spawn in our riffles in the river while lounging on our deck. Some of the river's best Steelhead pools and runs are a stone's throw away.

Matt's cover of Fly Fisherman - image

*For information on the splendid fall Steelhead fishing Michigan has to offer, see Matt's last year's article in the December Issue (2007) of Fly Fisherman. Visit


Planning a Family Getaway - or a Small Business Retreat?


The Gray Drake Lodge may be the Way To Go!

Women dining at Gray Drake - imageInterior of Gray Drake Lodge - image
  Gray Drake Lodge view from river - image  

Deep through the fall, and the heart of a snowy winter, are great times to get a group of people together for a friends, family or a small business group getaway. Our river will be teaming with Salmon, Steelhead, Trout and large Lake-Run Browns. Couple this with abundant upland bird hunting for grouse and deer bow hunting and you'll have a sportsmen's heaven!

Big Fish in the net - image

Excellent golf courses, restaurants, kayaking and canoeing, antique shopping, and nature trails will take up your non-fishing time. The nearby museums of Grand Rapids and Muskegon along with the pristine beaches of the Lake Michigan Shoreline, your whole family and group will get the most out of the outdoor experience.


Grouse - image




With air travel and long distance driving costs going through the roof, the Gray Drake is an excellent choice and closer to home. Families, relatives and friends can enjoy a day in the river catching Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, Smallmouth Bass -- you name it!

  • Located on some of the most picturesque waters of the River with Trout filled riffles and pools
  • Luxury Lodging and Gourmet Dining
  • Small corporate gatherings and retreats with a plethora of outdoor activities other than fishing






Don't forget the excellent cross-country ski trail and snowmobiling opportunities Newaygo County has. Visit the Newaygo County Convention and Visitors Bureau online:

Visit Pure Michigan at for more information. Visit Michigan Outdoors at for info on the five counties near us in central West Michigan.






T. Rex

Hook: Daiichi x452 #2, 2/0, curve the shank slightly not to break.

Thread: Uni 3/0

Tail & Body: Tiger Barred Rabbit Strips (Hareline) in black over hot orange and Mahi green

Lower Body: UV Polar Chenille Orange (Hareline) with centipede legs in white/black, chartreuse/green, yellow/black (Hareline)

Eyes: Silver bead chain eyes


Looking for a big streamer that will piss off a large Chinook Salmon or an aggressive chrome Steelhead. Try the recipe for the "T.Rex". You can very the many different barred rabbit strip colors, UV polar chenilles and rubber legs. Couple this streamer with a plastic cone heads to swim like a bait fish and you'll have a streamer that swims like a Rapala lure.




Image of Croton Dam in winter Courtesy of Randy Poll

More good news about bringing more colder water conditions to the Muskegon's Trout Tailwater Fishery in the summer. According to Mr. Cole of the Consumer Power's Croton/Hardy Dam Facility and the DNR's FERC Hydro people, Croton Dam now has the bubbler parts and permits from the DEQ to install this system. The bubbler will be installed out in Croton Pond where the depth is 40 feet or below and will siphon the cold water to Croton Dam to be released during the warm stress temperatures of summer.

Couple this with the new 4 million dollar turbine there at Hardy Dam which will increase dissolved oxygen levels and bottom draw and the combination of the bubbler and turbine may be a downright chiller! Those tubers next summer will feel a cold sensation on their tattooed butts! Most importantly, the trout and Steelhead Fry will be very happy.

The bubbler will be scheduled to be installed by November of this year.





Cold Weather Dish That Will Warm You Up!


Mother Supinski brought this recipe with her from Europe and it has been a client favorite at the gray drake since we started. It is great with pork tenderloin and chops, venison and beef like German Sauerbraten. Enjoy!


  1. In a large skillet, dice up a slab of premium sliced bacon into tiny squares.
  2. While slowly pan frying over medium heat, add the following 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar and 3 Tablespoons of Black Pepper.
  3. Slice up red cabbage, two small heads and boil until firm yet soft. Drain cabbage and slice up and mince a medium red onion raw and add that to the cabbage.
  4. Pour the entire skillet into the pot of cabbage and onions and stir and mix well. Season to taste with more sea salt and pepper if needed.

  Oriental Slaw with dinner - image  

Many of our fishing guide trips are for women, families and youth.
We enjoy catering to this growing segment of our business.



  • Families make up 54% of the Gray Drake clientele
  • Women make for the best fly anglers and learners
  • Children (starting from 8 and up) along with young adults out fish even seasoned anglers

There is no reason why the whole family cannot enjoy the natural beauty of the fly fishing experience. We have taught hundreds of young children and women how to fly fish..........our website's pictures tell the story!

We provide all the Orvis tackle, and patient instruction you'll need, to make the art of the fly cast your favorite sport-and we won't forget the snacks and sodas for the younger less patient students!



Winter Fishing on the river - image

After the holidays you'll need an escape to getaway and put an end to the cabin fever blues. Spend a day or a weekend at the Gray Drake. Watch the snowflakes dance, soak in an outdoor steaming hot tub as you sip your libation and enjoy a fireside gourmet meal. You can even have a European style massage in the comforts of your own room. Winter Steelhead fishing is the means... where the end justification is a relaxing getaway from the weeks hectic schedule.

If you've never tried it you're missing out on a whole season of Great Lakes splendor. Visit your Patagonia clothing dealer, get the latest winter wardrobe that will make you warm and toasty even on the coldest days and you're ready to go.

Don't forget the excellent cross-country ski trails and snowmobiling opportunities. Hunters can enjoy winter Rabbit hunting at it's finest.

Cross Country Skiing - imageSnowmobiling - image


  • We fish Steelhead all winter on the Muskegon which never freezes over due to the hydro dams.
  • A bright sunny day with no wind in the snow covered winter wonderland of Michigan, as you watch white Swans and Bald Eagles fly over the river is an absolute delight, knowing that large Steelhead and Trout lurk in every pool.
keith with his fish - image
Dr. Shawn and fish - imageWinter fishing - image  


Dan with his Big Salmon - image




  • Lake-run Browns from Lake Michigan remain in the river all winter and can run 10lbs plus!

  • The brown and Rainbow Trout population feed all winter on Midges, Stoneflies and Shrimp Scuds.

You can witness a winter Midge hatch with Trout on the surface in January. Brown and Rainbows will feed on tiny Nymphs all winter. You can have a double digit hook-up day strike indicator nymphing that you wouldn't have all season.

Our seasoned guide, Bob Mansel, fishes every day for Trout in the winter. He's done a fly fishing show for ESPN and OLN on the subject. He fishes when it's 4 degrees or 14. Couple this with Lake-Run Browns holding in the pools hunting Sculpins and Emerald Shiners, you have a great winter Trout Fishery equal to the White in Arkansas - if - you spend the tine to learn the Muskegon's nuances.





Marley and Trout - image




There is no question that the Great Lakes are changing through the exotic predator invasion, literally on a monthly basis. The Good news is.... Salmon and Steelhead are gorging on exploding Gobie bait fish populations in record numbers. Gobies eat Zebra Mussels - the Great Lakes are loaded with them. 11 out 12 stomach samples taken by one Great Lakes troller found Gobies in good concentration in their stomachs.

The new invader in Lake Ontario is the Eurasian Red Shrimp. Once thought to be another exotic nuisance, is now being devoured by Alewife Pelagic bait fish in record proportions - this is good!


So, get ready for great years to come. It's amazing on how the biology and ecosystems of the Great Lakes keep DNR officers baffled on on how adaptive they are.

By the way, have you tried fishing any Lake Erie Perch lately? There are tons of them - and they were once thought to be only on their way to extinction like the Blue Pike.





**Look for weekend cooking demonstrations, fly tying and other events to be announced this winter. **

T Rex - image





"Surf-side Salmonids. Lake Michigan


"The Neversink"


Gray Drake Logo - image

Matt and Laurie Supinski
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Gray Drake Lodge
7522 S. Gray Drake Bluff
Newaygo, MI 49337

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  Gray Drake Newsletter Archives:      

Volume VI Special Edition Trout & Eagle Lodge
Volume V Summer 2009
Volume IV Spring 2009
Volume III Fall/Winter 2008
Volume II Summer 2008
Volume I Spring 2008

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