A morning of fly fishing on the Big Sauble River
By Steve Siciliano
The Little Manistee has been running high lately, a tad too high for a guy with two fake hips and a gal who doesn’t have much ballast on her bones to wade safely, so Barb and I have been spending some quality fly fishing time on another stream in close proximity to our cottage—the Big Sauble River.
Why this northern lower Michigan stream has “big” in its moniker is a bit puzzling. It’s not very wide, it’s not very deep and compared to many other Michigan rivers it’s not very long. It rises in the area of the Sauble Lakes and meanders through Lake and Mason counties until flowing into Hamlin Lake near Ludington. A dam between its mouth at Lake Michigan and the outlet at Hamlin Lake prevents anadromous fish like salmon and steelhead from making spawning runs up the river. That, coupled with the fact that three of Michigan’s most popular trout streams—the Pere Marquette, Manistee and Little Manistee—are in the general area, is probably why many anglers give it short shrift.
Barb and I usually fish a lovely stretch not far from the source. It’s normally pretty shallow but when the water is high there are plenty of log-strewn holes and a good number of small runs and riffles that hold fish. The water is always gin clear so stealth is the name of the game. The native browns and brookies that smack our offerings are feisty and beautifully colored. Most aren't very big but I once spotted a lunker rising at the head of a pool. After spooking it with a clumsy cast it held steady in the current for a few moments before darting off to the safety of the bulrushes.
We work our way upstream until we come to a tail-water below the vestiges of an old narrow gauge railroad bridge that I like to think dates back to the lumbering era. To the left is a crude dock that you can use to hoist yourself on to the bank (we have permission from the land owner) and attack the pool from above. There’s also a bench (thank you Mr. landowner) where you can sit and rest before working your way back downstream. One morning last week I sat on that bench and smoked my pipe and watched Barb play a nice brookie. It was a wonderful couple of hours on a beautiful (Big) little river.
Featured Wines of the Week
Barker's Marque,The Loop, Sauvignon Blanc,2019, New Zealand, $14.19/750 ml - "Rich, textured and lifted on the nose with light biscuit character that layers over rich lemons and limes that don’t quite make it to origins (sorry, oranges). The citrus aromatic is fragrant and blossom-like and there is an almost nutty twist. A lot of secondary characteristics here but the fruit core is amazingly dense and intense. And there’s that familiar smokiness again. A little time in the glass focusses and intensifies to give the wine an almost liquorice character – Nuts, I know but try it and I hope you’ll see it. An opening that is, all at once, light and bright while being dense and heavily textured. This is a serious wine with a powerful mid-palate showing rich candied citrus and warm lemon curd flavours. The finish is long, big and textured but with a fine acidity that drags it on and on…" (Source)
Crios, 2019 Malbec rose, Argentina, Dominio Del Plata, $10.39/750 ml - Susana Balbo founded Crios as a tribute to her children, Jose and Ana. Together, they craft wines to be enjoyed across generations and to represent values they strive to instill in their own families. Crios Rose of Malbec prompts us to look at life differently, as Susana did while imagining premium roses as a new way to enjoy Argentina's flagship varietal. Fresh, dry and delicate, with aromas and flavors of strawberry and gooseberry leading to a balanced palate and crisp finish." (Source)
Tiamo, 2018, Chianti, Italy, $12.49/750 ml *Organic* - "Tiamo Chianti is estate grown and is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. After hand-picking, the grapes are sorted and crushed. Fermentation takes place at low temperatures over 15–20 days before a gentle pressing. No oak is used. Our Chianti has a deep garnet color and has an intense bouquet with hints of licorice and spice and red fruits. It is fruity but soft. It pairs perfectly with roasted/grilled meats, stews, pastas with red sauces, pizza and firmer cheeses. Ideally serve at about 60°F." (Source)
Buy three or more bottles of wine get 10 % off.
"It's our mission at Siciliano's to sell quality wine at affordable prices."
Featured Spirits of the Week
Stolen Spirits, Smoked Rum, $23.19/750ml - "This is Stolen Smoked Rum. This rum is inspired by wanderlust, one of our favorite lusts. It’s the world’s first smoked rum. It’s made in Trinidad from locally sourced sugar cane. It’s column-distilled and aged for at least two years in ex-whiskey barrels made from American oak. Additional flavor is imbrued into the rum using 100% Arabica coffee beans from Columbia, fenugreek seeds from Morocco, and vanilla beans from Madagascar. To finish, the rum is smoked in America using American hardwood. It’s roasty, caramelly, and pleasantly but not overbearingly smoky." (Source)
Ha'penny Rhubarb Gin, Ireland, $29.49/750 ml -" Ha’penny Rhubarb is a refreshing, distinctively pink small batch pot distilled gin featuring the finest rhubarb alongside 13 expertly selected botanicals. Named after the iconic Ha’penny Bridge, the Ha’penny range features Geranium, Dandelion, Lavender and Blackberry, all botanicals which would have been growing in the nearby Phoenix Park in Victorian times when the bridge was built. Fresh rhubarb bouquet with discernible notes of juniper and citrus followed by subtle hints of botanical spice. Initially fresh rhubarb with a bright botanical mix, rounding to a pleasant classic resinous juniper forward Gin. The finish is a silky palate with a lingering crisp and fresh rhubarb finish." (Source)
Nikka, Yoichi Single Malt, Japan, $86.29/750 ml - "Yoichi Single Malt shows the characteristics of Nikka’s first distillery built in 1934. The founder Masataka Taketsuru chose Yoichi in Hokkaido because of the similar environmental conditions to Scotland, where he learned whisky making.Yoichi Single Malt is described as bold and strong. Pleasant peaty notes and smokiness originating from the traditional direct coal-fired distillation as well as a briny hint delivered by the sea breeze during the aging process." (Source)
New and Returning Products
Ace Guava, $2.19/12oz - "Fresh Pink Guava juice blended with our semi-dry apple cider. Fruit forward with semi-dry undertones. Enjoy this taste of Brazil!" (Source)
Anderson Valley Summer Solstice, $2.19/12oz - "Summer Solstice® is a slightly sweet, malty session beer with a creamy mouth feel and clean finish. With hints of caramel in the nose and a touch of spice, it’s become affectionately known as “cream soda for adults”. The unique flavors and superior drinkability make for the ultimate refreshment on a hot summer day." (Source)
Barrel + Beam Bruxtaposition, $6.59/500ml - "Blend of three distinct beers barrel-aged with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis. Malty, complex, soft, smooth, dry, easy drinking amber ale. 7.4% ABV" (Source)
Barrel + Beam Pawberry, $7.79/500ml - "Barrel-aged raspberry wild ale.Tart, fruity, jammy with our signature dry finish. 7.4% ABV" (Source)
Bee Well Comfortably Plum, $2.59/12oz - No commercial description
Bee Well The Ghost, $2.59/12oz - No commercial description
Big Lake Cerveza Del Lago, $3.19/16oz - American lager
Big Lake Healthcare Heros, $4.39/16oz - "This one was brewed for those on the front line during the Pandemic. We happily brewed this, and were able to donate meals, and drinks to our friends at a few local hospitals. A Double New England style IPA Brewed with Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops. Dank citrus and tropical fruit notes, big body and mouthfeel. " (Source)
Black Rocks Honey Lav, $2.19/12oz - "This is our summer seasonal beer. An American Wheat brewed with Michigan honey and full lavender flowers. A Fresh and flavorful ale with a great balance between the floral lavender and sweet honey. Available May-August." (Source)
Black Rocks Super Deluxe Helles, $2.19/12oz - "This easy to brew German style Helles Lager will keep you doming back for more. Com-plimented with Munich malt to give a nice biscuity flavoured lager." (Source)
Brew Detroit Campin' Beer, $2.49/16oz - "Beer for folks goin’ campin’. Bright, clean, light American Blonde Ale." (Source)
Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Old Fashioned, $4.09/12oz - "Old Fashioned gets a fresh twist with this barrel-aged ale is inspired by citrusy Fresh Squeezed. It’s a hop-forward ale with sweet orange peel and bourbon barrel aging. Out for a limited time wherever you buy Deschutes beer. Don’t see it? Ask your retailer to bring it in!" (Source)
Drafting Table Hefeweizen, $2.79/16oz - "Our Hefeweizen is a traditional German-style wheat ale. The cloudiness and the notes of clove and banana come from the yeast. The low hop bitterness and moderate ABV make for a refreshing beer. It’s 5.8% abv and 12 ibu" (Source)
Flying Embers Ancient Berry, $2.79/12oz - "Bright and fruity berry flavor starring a blend of Elderberries, Goji Berries, and Raspberries. Brewed with Live Probiotics and our Adaptogen Root Blend of Ginger and Turmeric. " (Source)
Flying Embers Pineapple Chili, $2.79/12oz - "Juicy pineapple with a hint of ginger and a subtle refreshing, chili finish. Brewed with Live Probiotics and our Adaptogen Root Blend of Ginger and Turmeric." (Source)
Great Lakes Mexican lager, $1.99/12oz - "GLBC’s Mexican Lager with Lime became an instant hit when it debuted as part of 2019’s Small Batch Can Series. Brewed with real lime peel and purée, it will be available as a Seasonal in Q2, in redesigned 6-Pack 12 oz. Cans and 12-Pack 12 oz. Cans. ABV: 5.4%; IBU: 20" (Source)
Odd Side P.O.G. Hard Seltzer, $1.89/12oz
Old Nation Full Earth, $4.99/16oz - "The slightly more sophisticated entry into the New Orthodox Series. On the nose, pine, flowers and citrus. On the tongue, layers of the same. That signature Old Nation snap and mouthfeel ever present" (Source)
Shorts Freedom of '78, $2.59/12oz - "Freedom of ’78 is a medium-bodied IPA brewed with guava. This IPA is bright and clear with a pleasing bronze hue. The beers aroma is a unique fusion of citrus fruit and subtle pine. The distinct characteristics of the guava nectar are impossible to miss with flavors of tangerine, nectarine, and even faint honey detectable. The finish is bitter and dry." (Source)
Upland bad Elmer Porter, $1.99/12oz - "Even if you aren’t as tough as Bad Elmer, you can still drink with him. This porter is a medium-bodied beer, brewed with lots of roasted malt, giving it flavors of coffee, liquorice, and chocolate. It’s rich, creamy, and characteristically dark yet extremely smooth. The initial light sweetness is followed by a clean, dry, roasty finish." (Source)
Upland Indiana Daypack, $17.99/12pk - No commercial description