10 Summer Trout Streams To Try
Anyone who has fished trout for any length of time has a favorite stream. Call it a home stream if you will but anglers often continue to fish the same water every time. This summer, consider expanding your choices and try a new spot.
Many anglers like an occasional change of pace, and think about trying something new and different. If river trout fishing is your game, any of these 10 locations should be considered. They are among the best trout streams in the state.
1.Platte River: This Benzie County stream is one of the finest in the nation. Fish from above the river mouth on Lake Michigan up to the Veterans Memorial Park on highway US-31 east of Honor. Some very good hatches occur on the river, particularly downstream from the lower US-31 bridge. Steelhead runs offer great sport in April and October through December, and the river produces some excellent salmon action in the fall. It is a gentle and easy stream to wade, and the water is as clear as a piece of fine crystal. Anglers who succeed on this river wade only while fishing to avoid spooking fish.
2. Betsie River is another Benzie County stream, and try fishing it from the old Homestead Dam near Benzonia downstream to Betsie Bay at Frankfort and Elberta. Some stretches of the upper river offer good insect hatches during the summer. The best steelhead action comes in March, April, October and November. Good salmon fishing can be had during September and October. Good trout fishing also can be found from Grace Road downstream to the lower River Road bridge.
3. AuSable River offers superb fly-fishing water from Grayling downstream to Kellogg’s and Wakeley bridges, and anglers come from around the world to sample this hallowed water. Excellent insect hatches come off from May through October. Look for big trout in the big water from Mio and McKinley downstream to Oscoda. The North Branch near Lovells is good for brookies, and the South Branch near Roscommon produces big browns. The best sport comes in midweek. Fish light, long and small in late summer and grasshopper patterns tempt August trout.
4. Manistee River from Frederic downstream through the CCC Bridge and on to Sharon (about 50 miles) is noted worldwide by trout fishermen. Some wonderful fly fishing can be found above Mesick and the Hodenpyle Dam, and below Hodenpyle and down to the Red Bridge. Deep holes hold some lunker brown trout, and fly fishing with big streamer patterns after dark can produce superb action. Fish from Tippy Dam near Wellston downstream past Bear Creek and down to Manistee. Look for gravel bars in spring and fall for spawning salmon and steelhead.
5. Sturgeon River between Wolverine and Indian River in Cheboygan County is an under-rated stream. It holds good spring and fall steelhead from Burt Lake, and midsummer months produce wall-hanger brown trout. The largest I’ve seen was 13 1/2 pounds. The river is swift and has some caddis and stone fly hatches, and fair to good numbers of small trout. One can catch brook, brown and rainbow trout from this river. Night fishing with big deer-hair mouse patterns can be very effective when they are cast quartering across and downstream after dark. The current is deceptively fast here, and watch for underwater clay ledges.
6. Black River in Cheboygan County is noted as one of the finest native brook trout streams in the state. The headwater areas are best for brookies, and anglers can try fishing near Tin Shanty Bridge. Some of the water is difficult to fish with a fly rod but a short spinning rod will work. Many anglers prefer to wade slowly upstream, and pitch nymphs and small dry flies in tight quarters. Most of the brookies will measure 9-10 inches but the river periodically produces trout up to 16 inches. Fish in shadowed areas and under overhanging banks for bigger fish.
7. Clam River in Wexford and Missaukee counties offers another excellent chance for brookies from one of the state’s finest brook trout rivers. The water from LaChance Road downstream to Blue Road offers perhaps the finest chance at a nice brook trout. This stream flows mostly through private property and access is difficult in many locations. The river has a soft bottom in some areas and can be difficult to wade. A canoe offers much easier access to some of the best spots. It also holds some sizable brown trout that hit best after dark.
8. Pere Marquette River from Baldwin downstream to Ludington offers great opportunities during the summer months. A popular area is from highway M-37 Bridge downstream to Gleason’s Landing (seven miles). The river offers excellent fly hatches during the summer months, and anglers can catch steelhead during spring and fall and salmon in the fall. Mind you, this may be the state’s best salmon-steelhead river but the fishing pressure can be heavy at times. Lower river stretches can be waded but be cautious when wading through soft-bottomed areas.
9. Middle Branch Ontonagon River in Ontonagon County offers good summer fly fishing between Agate and Bond falls. Agate Falls blocks any further upstream migration for Lake Superior’s brown trout and steelhead. Portions of the upper stream between the two waterfalls and all of the lower stretch is easily wadable. It offers a scenic place to fish with an excellent chance to catch a nice trout. I’ve had some superb fly fishing between the two waterfalls during July and into early August. The river upstream from Bond Falls Flowage holds some brook trout.
10. Two Hearted River in northern Luce County was immortalized by Ernest Hemingway to lead anglers away from the Fox River at Seney. The Two Heart (as locals call it) has its upper stretches in Luce County near Pine Stump Junction, and it produces brook trout. The lower reaches from the Reed & Green Bridge down to Lake Superior has good native trout fishing as well as salmon and steelhead. The river has tannic-acid stained water, and it can make wading difficult in some locations. The river is as beautiful as its name implies.
Book Work Has Kept Me Extremely Busy
I’ve been busy for the past month. Very busy. Editing a book is a very deliberate, slow and tedious business.
My old amigo — Claude Pollington of Marion, Michigan — finally decided to do a book. At the age of 76 years, he has forgotten more about hunting whitetail deer than most people will ever learn. It took me more than 15 years to talk him into doing this.
He’d look at me, smile, nod and never say a word. Finally, he responded.
“Well, Davey, I guess I could probably do it,” he said, begrudgingly. “Of course, you’d have to help me a bit. You know, give me a bit of an English lesson. Can an old dog like me learn a new trick?”
I figured that anyone who could make a smooth-shooting bow like his C.P. Oneida Black Eagle could string a few thousand sentences together. It might need a bit of editing, you know, some polishing to make it something he’d be proud of but I figured it could be done. I’d seen him overcome greater odds in the past.
We’ve been friends for 30 years. I’ve watched my friend and his businesses go up and down for three decades, and felt if ever a man deserved to put down his deer hunting thoughts, now was the time. I agreed to jump on board.
Mind you, writing a book is no easy chore, even for someone like me with 40 years of experience. A book is a serious undertaking, and it took far more time than The Whitetail Wizard thought, and even though the writing is 99 percent complete, the editing process and laying out the book with black and white and possibly color photos, has just begun.
I’ve completed the editing at the expense of writing my Sunday features for several weeks. I just found it impossible to do the weekend features and do the editing for this book. Kay, my wife, has a great deal of experience in laying out book copy and the photos for the publisher, and we’ve got a great cover photo illustration and inside color photos if he goes that way. A few details still need a bit of work.
The plan is to have the finished book, which will include roughly 150 pages of hard-core text, b/w and color photos, and a great cover by the end of July. That would get the books published and back to us by the first of September.
Just in time for the opening of the Oct. 1 bow season. So what is in this book?
Nothing but a lifetime of deer-hunting lore. Pollington has been hunting deer since his early teens. He owns a 1,024-acre enclosure, and while some might hold that against him, smart-thinking people will realize that a man who can study deer every day, 365 days per year in a large area with great cover, should know much more about the animals than people who only hunt on occasion.
I’d personally rather learn from a man who studies bucks every day than try to learn from someone who only hunts 10-15 days yearly. Editing this manuscript taught me things about deer hunting that I didn’t know, and I hunt Michigan deer an average of 85 days per year. And then I hunt another couple of weeks in the southern states.
Claude Pollington is the real deal. He knows much more than any other hunter I know about chasing these animals. His enclosure is so large that hunting big bucks on his ranch is like hunting big whitetails on open state or private land. His deer, if anything, are spookier than wild deer. A person has to be an exceptionally good hunter to score on a big buck on his land.
So, this is a simple explanation for why I’ve missed some Sunday features recently. No health problems, just editing a book for a very close friend. He should know the price of the finished books within a week, and we’ll promptly let you know.
This deer-hunting book will teach readers why Outdoor Life called Pollington “The Whitetail Wizard” back in 1980. They recognized quality when they saw it, and if anyone wants to learn more about hunting these animals, the books will be sold through the mail. Stay tuned, and I’ll have more information in several days.