It is October and 90 percent of our rivers are now closed to trout fishing. I spent the last evening of the trout season on my home river the Maple. Seven months until that area opens up on the last week end of April 2016. That is a long time.
Temperatures dropped to freezing Thursday morning in some areas and the leaves will be on the ground in just a few weeks. I don't even like to say it...winter.
It wasn't my best year, maybe a dozen 12 inch + Brook Trout and my biggest Brown Trout (20 + inches) beat me on the Sturgeon River. It was, however, a cool summer with a very nice September in the high 70s F.
The Black and Sturgeon Rivers are in beautiful shape. The Pigeon River has recovered from the dam removal project in the Vanderbilt area. The Maple River has suffered construction problems that put large amounts of sand in it. Four bridges replaced in just the last few months. Six bridges in the last few years. The main concern for the Maple River will be the Woodland road power dam. This projected replacement will need a lot of research as it will change the upper reaches of the river.
A century of great Brook Trout water will see the large Steelhead and King Salmon for the first time. Many people will be happy to see these species in the upper reaches of the Maple River, but it will change the Brook Trout fishing. I don't know when that change will take place but I do know the Michigan Department Natural Resources is aware of the consequences. Lake Kathleen will be gone. It is the same scenario as the power dam just removed on the Pigeon River. That project took years to heal and has yet to fully recover.
It is that time of the year when Trout Unlimited members meet to evaluate the health of the rivers and debate the best way to care for them. Quite an honorable association.
So we are down to year 'round water, gear restricted, no take fly fishing season on the upper reaches of our inland streams. Look for those calm warm afternoons that rise to the mid 60s F. The fly fishing can be good this time of the year and not many people around to do it...thank You very much.
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.