Century's ago as the sun rose to its summer high and the snow and ice retreated native Americans began their migration north to fish the Great Lakes and their tributaries. Spring spawning started with the Grayling and ended the season with Brook Trout. Many native species such as suckers, White fish, Cisco, Sturgeon were also spawning. As the summer season turned to fall the tribes would meet in mid August to begin their trek back south. They called it a pow wow and to this day they continue that tradition at the tribal head quarters on Pleasantview Road near Harbor Springs.
Today we do the same thing. We follow the sun. Michigan's trout season opens the last weekend in April and closes October 1st. Many new species have been introduced. The Rainbow Trout has replaced the Grayling as a spring spawning fish. The Brown Trout also introduced to this area spawns in the fall. Summer is a time of new life and all of nature is active and vulnerable. The three tribes, Odawa, Chippewa and Ojibwa still fish the way of their ancestral people. It is a stipulation they made under contract when they sold this land to the United States... smart. We however have many restrictions and techniques for fishing; chuck & duck, spinners, bait, and of course fly fishing. Each technique has its seasonal success. All types of delivery are based on throwing a weighted lure with your line following.
Fly fishing is the only system were you cast the line and the lure follows. The fact that the fly is near weightless makes fly fishing a real science. Northern Michigan is known for flying bugs.
If you live in rural northern Michigan, leave your outside light on and you will see thousands of bug species appear out of no where. The bug season starts as the temperature rises above freezing and continues until the freezes of late fall. Spring is a difficult time for the fly fishing anglers as the rivers are inundated with run off water which fill the streams with worms and other food sources. When our rivers settle down in late spring the trout begin to look to the surface for bug hatches.
Michigan's many streams are filled with logs and snags that make the dry fly floating on the waters surface a perfect approach. Casting to a surface feeding fish is a visual experience that the fly fishing enthusiast enjoys.
Challenges are tough on opening day trout season, but welcomed after a long winter in the Ole Cabin.