In a sentence – I’ve never been skunked while fly fishing with Brian Kozminski of True North Trout. Brian and I have fished together at least a dozen times the last couple years. We’ve chased browns, brooks and rainbows, but so far I’ve always caught something. (I’m probably cursing myself by saying that) At this point we call each other friends and have fished enough to have had some adventures together, but those are the things that make great memories. I caught my first Brown trout during the HEX with Brian and hooked into a +20 inch brown dry fly fishing with him as well.
I absolutely recommend Brian and True North Trout – Brian books up quickly so if you want to experience Fly Fishing in Northern Michigan – BOOK WITH HIM EARLY. Brian and True North Trout contact information can be found at this link -> TRUE NORTH TROUT
As usual – READ to the END and enter the FLY BOX GIVEAWAY.
Now the interview with Brian “Koz” Kozminski
So where can you find Brian guiding?
Primarily Brain guides on the Jordan, Manistee and Au Sable river systems. I’ve floated all of these with him and we’ve done some exploring together in the headwaters of both the Jordan and Manistee Rivers. Brian or “Koz” also chases carp, smallmouth bass and some salmon, but the beautiful surrounding that hold trout are his specialty.
Even before I asked Brian what some of his favorite fly fishing equipment is, I could list many of them because I’ve used them. His Adipose drift boat, built Helena, MT is perfectly designed for the tight rivers that Brian fishes. His Yeti cooler keeps the specialty foods cold for a perfect lunch or dinner. TFO fly rods and Scientific Angler fly lines are used by him and clients.
What little fly fishing hack has KOZ been using: tippet rings. Tippet rings save leaders, make it easy to tie on more tippet and they float just like line. Tippet rings in larger sizes can also be used for multiple fly setups.
The Gear Recommended – What KOZ uses
When I asked what general fly rod he would recommend for Michigan? A 5 weight 8 ½ foot fly rod setup up with a balanced reel and fly line. A great rod that exactly fits the bill is the Temple Fork Outfitters BVK TF 05 86 4 B. A fast action rod that I’ve found works best with a 6 weight line or the SA fly lines the Amplitude Trout which are designed specifically for fast rods like the BVK. While fishing the headwaters of the Jordan River, Brian was flinging flies with a 3 weight TFO Finesse. For the beaver dam choked waters we waded the Finesse tossed tight loops and the shorter length made it easy for squeezing through the cedars.
Fly Fishing isn’t always about fish – for me FOOD is involved
Brian and all of the True North Trout Guides pride themselves with providing a true northern Michigan experience. Typical meals with Brain include specialty sandwiches on locally made breads, and fresh tasty scones. Fresh fruits like Michigan black cherries and specialty cheeses. Food on a trip with True North Trout outing is a highlight; I can still taste the smoked whitefish spread with crackers and cheese as we posted up waiting for big brown trout during the HEX season.
Coffee is always hot and plentiful. Water is provided in refillable bottles, ice cold in the Yeti cooler. Fresh food is packed and plentiful. He seems to “read the mind” of the client. I think this comes from his experience in higher end eateries’ located in the Boyne City area.
The Convenience of a Guide and What Makes Brian’s Trips Special
What I like so much about trips with Koz are that all the details seem to be taken care of. Rods and reels suited for exactly the rivers are strung up and ready to go. Usually a streamer rod is ready to go as well, for fishing those faster waters that call for a streamer to be swung through. He happily unties those birds’ nests that seem to happen more often when someone is watching you cast. On a recent trip the launch point required dragging the boat over 80 yards down a canoe ramp. Drift boats aren’t as heavy as a power boat, but still 2 people can only drag them a little ways before getting pretty tired. But sure enough it was all arranged. The vehicle spotter brought some tools to help move the boat with ease. What I thought was going to be a hassle was just another thing “taken care of”.
As an oarsman, Brian is fantastic. A lot of things factor into fishing from a drift boat. Stuff like client casting ability, obstructions both in front and behind, water speed and especially boat positioning. The guide’s job is to use all this information and quickly make adjustments on the oars. This might mean spinning the boat while going around a bend to stop in exactly the right spot without spooking the fish. This seems to be intuitive with Brian, but I suspect its experience from thousands of hours behind those sticks.
Speaking of Experience – Brian has a lot plus he’s hired guides for his own vacations
Mr. Kozminski started fly fishing when he was about 9. So I’m guessing he has well over 30 years’ experience, the desire to become a guide came from his youth. Brian had some relatives who guided when he was young, he remembered thinking “how cool is that, get paid to take folks fishing”. After some struggles through his late 20s and early 30s Brian says two things turned him around his wife and a fly rod. Like most guides he started guiding what I’ll say as recreationally a little more than ten years ago. Since getting his Adipose drift boat years ago his income is based on serving clients behind oars.
So how does a fly fishing guide get better? The obvious answer is to spend more time on the water, but catching fish and being a GOOD GUIDE means a whole lot more. Brian has hired guides for his own personal trips, learning from others and picking out the best is the easiest way to provide the best experience for clients. Brian has fished with guides from all over the country from Florida, to the smoky mountains and even out west.
An interesting conversation developed when I asked him about his personal “bucket list vacations” Believe it or not his trips dream trips include fly fishing: New Zealand, Patagonia and Chile were mentioned. He is in the works for planning some hosted trips to some more exotic places. Stay tuned.
As a Teacher and Student
Brian has taught both my wife and sister how to fly fish. With a little more time Brian will have his FFI casting certification. He is a natural at this, I realized that hiring someone would be much better than my wife getting frustrated with me. I highly recommend if you’d like to get someone new into fly fishing – hire a guide. Guides can start a newbie down the right path for casting, positioning and even selecting gear.
What was really neat is that Brian was able to quickly mention his mentor – Ray Schmidt. If you have much fly fishing experience in the mid-west you’ll probably know who Ray is. Since the 70s Ray has been in the fly fishing scene: credited with flies, owning a lodge/fly shop, presenting and speaking throughout the mid-west. He is also a regional representative for Temple Fork Outfitters. Ray opened Brian’s eyes to the world of fly fishing, teaching him many of the intricacies of this luxury sport.
Conservation a Core Value
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about Koz’s conservation ethics. He stated it pretty simply to me, if we could just do some of the little things like; using reusable water bottles or picking up a couple scraps of trash or recycling when possible the world would be so much better. Active in Trout Unlimited for years, Brian donates both time and trips to organizations with a conservation ethos. I actually fault him a little, I truly think he gives too much. As a guide it is tough to make a living, donating trips expends costs at a 2x rate. (Think about this when tipping your guide)
So do I recommend Brian – YES. Brian and any of the guys at True North Trout demonstrate complete professionalism.
Contact information for Brian and True North Trout
TRUE NORTH TROUT – 346 State Street – Boyne City, MI 49712
Check out Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthTrout/timeline/
OK so here’s the FLY BOX GIVEAWAY
Brian provided a great handful of his favorite flies: A Mercer’s Missing Link, Madsen’s Skunk (or the Michigan Skunk), a White Marabou Coachman, Rainbow Warrior and lastly a Rubber Leg Girdle Bug. I’m actually kind of jealous and want some of these for myself. AS A BONUS – I’m including a TNT Key Chain
- Must be a United States resident
- Understand that entering email address will;
- Enter you in contest
- Enter put you on an Newsletter list.
The winner will be randomly drawn from emails at noon on AUGUST 31.