Small Stream Trout fishing in Michigan

2022 Fall Trout Camp

Feral and Jake on the Pigeon

They say be careful what you wish for and we got our wish… A cold spell with rain that would bring large brown trout upstream to spawn. Not exactly good camping weather. We fished the Sturgeon and the Pigeon and had our best luck on the Pigeon. (Not counting the 25 inch hook-jawed brown trout Natch fought on the Sturgeon before watching the lure fly loose.) We kept some browns for a Cajun trout dinner and Jake and Feral took a few home. We camped at Pickerel Lake, site #5, which was just large enough for the Scamp and two tent campers. The fire pit was back at the rear, out of the wind, so that worked out great. About that wish for bad weather.. we still had campfires every night, even in a cold drizzle.

Campfires and Carhart Coats
Luther and Natch

Natch and I made a trip to no-man’s land on the lower Pigeon, downstream from Tin Bridge, a stretch I keep vowing to never fish again because the walk in is so brutal… no good trail and a lot of brush busting to get past a half mile of open flat stream to reach the good holes and bends. Ironically we had no good luck (except for a small brook trout) until we were almost back to the bridge where Natch caught an 18 inch brown. We made a deal with Feral and Jake – they had to bring back two small ones or one 18 incher for dinner and we would do the same. Natch saved the day for our tough trip. When we got back to camp they had a cooler full of trout. They downplayed it like it was no big thing.

Natch with 18 inch Brown.

Feral and Jake went bird hunting a couple times. They both had double barrel percussion cap shotguns and hiked for miles. One trip lasted four hours so I give them some credit for stamina. They saw some Woodcock and took shots but no bird for the grill. I learned something about primitive weapons: cleaning them is a lot of work involving hot water down the barrels and lubricant on everything. They had it down to a science but it still took a half hour or better.

Bird hunting in Elk Country
Double barrel percussion cap shotguns and the cleaning station
Classic reels and nice brown trout

I cooked up the trout and made breakfast in the Scamp trailer every day, so I earned my keep as a cook, if not a fisherman. That’s two eighteen inch trout frying in the pan. I filleted them boneless and halved them so we each had two pieces to go with the baked beans. Next time I’ll remember to bring some homemade tarter sauce using Polish dill pickles. The photo I really wish I had was the final game board after beating Natch at chess. I expect he will be wanting a rematch.

Denny and his wife Lorraine camped over at the Pigeon River campground on Sturgeon Valley Road. They came over the first night with a loaner guitar for Feral, custom built by Denny. A Martin kit with antique tuners and 12th fret neck joint. I played a couple songs on it and it had that great Martin tone. Wish we could have jammed a little longer, it was cold. Sorry I didn’t get a photo!

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