Fichigan

Small Stream Trout fishing in Michigan

Archive for the tag “spin fishing”

Pine River, Lake County

Six Mile Bridge over the Pine River

Michigan has several Pine Rivers. The Pine River in northern Lake County holds some nice brown trout, rainbows, and the occasional brook trout. It gets fished heavily on the opener but through the summer you most likely will get the stream to yourself other than some canoeists on sunny days. Feral and I went up there this weekend mainly because it rained Friday and we hoped for a stained or muddy stream – something to help get the trout in a mood to chase lures. We parked at Six Mile Bridge and went upstream from there. The river winds though some private property but in Michigan that’s not usually a problem – just stay in the stream. (Rules vary by river.)

Fishing was tough. It looked like rain while we put on our waders so we took our rain jackets, but after the first bend the sun came out and we knew we would have to do some coaxing to get a fish. The water was low and clear. Feral and I changed lead every couple bends and tossed a variety of lures without seeing a fish. When that happens I start making dicey casts into thick overhanging brush and trees over deep water where it would be impossible to retrieve the lure should it hang up. Lost one lure but I managed to retrieve an expensive Rapala by breaking the lure off and then fighting my way though a tangle of vines on a sheer bank.  Not my best day of casting.

Feral wearing camouflage to up the odds

Clouds rolled in and clouds rolled out. When they rolled out the stream lit up like jewelry and even the polaroids didn’t help. We entertained ourselves talking about previous times up that stretch and where we had taken good fish so there were a lot of short conversations that petered out.

Pine River, summer of 2012

We did end up with two trout, a rainbow and a brown, but we tossed them back. Both fish were caught at the end of the stretch so maybe fishing would have picked up a bit. We stopped at an access point on a two-track that runs south off Six Mile Road and we had a long walk back to the truck.

When we reached six mile we saw a large dog on the road that was ambling away from us and Feral talked about how he was once harassed by a huge wild dog that closed in on him every time he turned his back to walk away. He threw the dog a fish and the dog took it and then left him alone. As he was telling me this some dogs started howling and running toward us from a house close to the road. Fortunately they were all bark and we diffused the situation by talking to them. The owner ran out and called the dogs. I think he was surprised to see two guys in waders walking down the road. Not a lot of fishermen hitting the rivers this summer. Might be the driest season on record.

Manistee River Brown Trout

Natch has been joining Feral and me for trout camp going on about fifteen years. He’s had a couple of interesting nicknames including one that had to do with burning wolmanized lumber in camp but that’s another story. Fall trout camp 2011 didn’t fall together but Natch, like the rest of us, made a year-end foray to a local stream late in September. I’ll let him tell it.

  Natch:

Since it sounded like the closer might be rather thin on bodies this year I chose to do some insulation work up north at the cabin. However, I did rip off a 3-hour stretch on the Manistee River near M-72. I had never been down that way and thought I would check the water out. It runs pretty shallow with a few small holes under some brush and logs. It was overcast when I started but became sunny halfway into the stretch. I saw plenty of little ones (10″-12″) that would come out from underneath cover but not aggressive enough to actually hit the lure. After about a half-hour I noticed a college-age guy walking along the bank up top on a trail. He was carrying a clipboard and wanted to know if I would answer a few questions like “what are you fishing for? Keeping or releasing? What bait?” etc. As he walked away I caught a 12 inch Brown and he came back to check it out.

I continued fishing in hopes of seeing some deep water. An hour or so later, I came around a bend with a long straight away and a few cabins.  Jutting about 20 feet out from the other side of the river was a massive log – a good 3 feet in diameter. The water was rushing under it causing a nice wash out. I placed a cast tight up under some brush along the front edge of the log and reeled in my double-hook silver minnow.  About halfway back the lure dropped under the log. Bam! I was hung up with no hopes of getting my favorite lure back. Or so I thought. All of a sudden my line headed upstream. The fish came to rest in the middle of the river. I slowly approached with net in hand. Just as I reached for him, splash! Off he went back toward the log. My heart was pounding as my drag started to slip. I still wasn’t sure if this was my 20+ inch trout or not. After a couple of tense minutes, I landed him. The tape measure read 19″.

It wasn’t the 20″ class trout that continues to elude me but it made my adventure on a new stretch of stream well worth it. I released the trout and continued for a few more bends. Nothing,  so I headed back. When I came to the log I debated on whether to give it another whirl.  I noticed two fly fishermen just around the bend so I gave it a few minutes of casting and headed back to the truck.

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