Small Stream Trout fishing in Michigan

New Year’s for Fishermen

Jake, Natch and Feral – 2007

The general trout season opens the last Saturday in April in Michigan and it is maybe the second biggest holiday for sportsmen next to rifle deer season. For more years than I can remember I met Feral and other buddies up on the Pine River in Lake County on the Friday before, remote camping near the river. At midnight we took a mountainous hill down to the river and lobbed crawlers with a load of split shot into a hole below camp. The weather was alway in question – sometimes balmy spring and sometimes snow. It didn’t matter because it was a ritual, our New Year’s.

Fishing was never too productive. If we had followed lessons from our mentor, Jake Lucas, we would have worked cover along the river using long rods and non stop casting to feel the bait crawl along the river bed waiting for that subtle nibble. Instead we propped rods on fork sticks and cracked a beer. Sometimes we reminisced about previous years and sometimes it was enough to just hang with our buddies and watch the rod tips for any sort of action. The real fishing, at least for us, started at daylight when we put on waders and cut off stretches of river to work with spinners. The real lesson we absorbed from our mentor: wading upstream and hunting trout with pinpoint casting.

Our camping evolved from pup tents to leaky cabin tents to classic tent campers and now, at least for me, an actual trailer. Natch is looking too. Something pretty nice about not having to worry about the canvas which requires extra care to keep in good shape. In my case, my buddies warmed up to breakfast in a warm camper last year rather than time consuming trips to local restaurants.

We have no solid plan this year for the Opener but more and more we wait until the following weekend. Less fishermen on the river and a better shot at finding Morel Mushrooms. We have a general area that produces courtesy of my late brother in law George. His son, Josh Nowicki (a famous photographer) has a post online with a good explanation about how to find morels. Here’s a link.

Feral Chilling – 2007

The fichigan blog gets readers from all over the globe and I like to think folks that don’t have our opportunities in other countries appreciate that we have so much public land and access to trout filled rivers, free remote camping opportunities, and a chance for adventure a short drive from home. I love Michigan. Our New Year’s is coming up.

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