Friday, December 28, 2012

America's High Five

This March, if everything goes according to plan, we will be spending our little girl's first birthday in Michigan.  I am already planning on spending at least one whole day fishing.  I hope to hit the North Branch White River for an opener, and possibly Knutsen Creek a little if it's not closed to fishing.  From there a trek to the main branch of the White, and possibly a strong finish at the mighty Muskegon River.  I caught my first brown in the Muskegon.

The North Branch is out in the middle of State owned land.  Once the two-track ends, there's quite a hike involved in getting to the water, so pressure is light.  It is generally around ten feet across.  Knutsen Creek feeds in at a bend, offering cooler water into a pool that produces fish, if you can keep your fly out of the cedar.  My last trip in Michigan before moving to Wisconsin was spent camping in the forest and fishing this area.  These are some photos from that trip.


Knutsen Creek

Bluffs along the creek

A buildup of sticks 

A fallen tree over the creek

Beautiful forest

Viking coffee

We always called this
stuff "snake grass"

The North Branch

North Branch White River

Beautiful river

It got cold that weekend!


The White River's main branch is probably my all time favorite salmon stream.  It's bigger than a creek, but not so big that you don't know where to begin.  I can cast across it with spinning gear with ease and accuracy.  I never caught trout in the lower stretch, it's too sandy.  As you get upstream, you find better trout waters.  Lots of oxbows, pools and uncercut banks.  I've never fished above the Hesperia dam, And I always kept a few miles below it.  I don't even remember the street names, but there was a general store on the corner that sold the best chili dogs and great trout flies.

White River at the Countyline Bridge

The lower stretch of the White, just
a few miles up from Lake Michigan

The Muskegon is an enormous river that is way overused.  I've almost come to blows with drunken tubers who want to offer me their "worms" for bait.  They never seem to take it too well when you tell them that you're fishing for keepers, and their bait isn't big enough.  Usually in the summer months, smallmouth bass are the main target but there are plenty of nice browns in there, rainbows too.  The best fishing is upstream from the Maple Island Bridge or even the Bridgeton Bridge.  There is a rest stop with a scenic overlook that I liked to fish at in Newaygo.  There are about twenty stories worth of steps to get down to the river, so pressure is light, if you get there before the tubers.

I'm so excited to fish in Michigan again!  I've started tying some flies, now I just have to work on getting a new fly rod.  I'll fish with spinning gear if I have to, but I sure hope to fly fish.

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