No matter how short or mild the winter is, they are all brutal this far north. I'm sure there is more snow to come, but our spirits are high as warmer temperatures prevail.
The rivers are high but none are flooded out. River water temperatures are 48 F, the tannin is slight. The new season is looking good. The next question is trout numbers? A question that only can be answered by an excursion to one's favorite holds. I have yet to make that first cast in the Black River. The Sturgeon below Wolverine is giving up some early Steelhead Trout, however the warm days with hatches have begun and soon all trout species will be looking up.
The call of the wild has started. The steelhead fishermen are fishing to the south on the Manistee River and success with those giant rainbows is moving up north to our Lake Michigan tributaries. No mater how small that Lake Michigan stream, the big trout will use them to spawn.
Every year humans make changes to our environment. Not all are good. The Maple River bridges on Ely, Brutus, Robertson, and Maple River Road are complete. These changes help the free flow of the river silt and sand that has settled in front of old said bridges. As the massive amounts of sand travels towards Burt Lake bug larva can be destroyed changing trout numbers in those areas. My concern is the old power dam off Woodlawn Road by Dam Site Inn. It's removal may be a big game changer for the Brook Trout upstream on the Maple River. Steelhead Trout moving upstream will have the opportunity to feed on the 5-6 inch two year old Brook Trout and their numbers could drop. No one is sure of what the change to that part of the river. I do now this...there will be change.
The Michigan Department Of Natural Resources is doing massive amounts of research on the subject. I only hope the Brook Trout are given consideration as they are the last of our native stream trout. The Grayling are gone. Without starting a debate, many warm afternoons on the upper reaches of the Black River in Cheboygan County and the Maple River in Emmet County have given me 40-60 Brook Trout caught in one afternoon. A warning is how many Tiger Trout I have landed in the last dozen years. Many things happen with climate change, not just trout but many other species as well. The tick problem is one of them.
Starting this 2017 season Reel Waters will try to keep you abreast of all the challenges we will face on that secluded stream this new season.
Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout. Are you ready?
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.