We had a short but interesting trout camp this spring made even more so by the flooded rivers. Not a typical high water mark – actual flooding. The city of Baldwin made calls to city residents to warn them. Small town goodwill!
After setting up camp Feral and I went out to inspect the local streams. The Baldwin River, one of Michigan’s great trout streams, is a tributary to the Pere Marquette. It usually runs one to three feet deep with scattered holes that might go above the waders. Since we knew it was flooded we went upstream where the river is typically brush congested and tiny – five or six feet across and a foot deep. We thought we might be able to get in and wade. There is an access point on Foreman Road east of town that Feral sometimes fishes so we pulled in there first.
It was so flooded we couldn’t see where the normal river channel flowed. We drove north on Foreman Road a little further and saw some guys at the bridge where the Baldwin crosses and pulled over just in time to see one guy running for his truck to get a net. We managed to get pictures of them landing a nice brown. They were pretty talkative and we got to know them a bit – Ron Walker and John Leitz, a couple retired guys that worked at the Fridgidaire Plant in Greenville. They had some good stories. They travel all over Michigan fishing for any game fish you can name. I give them a lot of credit to doing whatever works including chunking crawlers off a bridge in a flood.
I looked at their brown trout and my first thought was why does that fish look pregnant? Its belly was that distorted (though it’s hard to see in the photo). After they unhooked the trout it regurgitated a handful of night crawlers. So if you wonder why it’s hard to get a trout interested in lures right after a good rain there was a graphic example. No room for dessert.