While I am in Alaska chasing large Rainbow's, two of my guides are chasing what I miss most about summers in Michigan, the German Brown trout.
While I do get some of the early streamer action, and the beginning of the drake hatch, nothing brings large Browns to the top more than the "Hexagenia Limbata" or the "Hex hatch". 90% of our BIG fish come this time of the year which is about the 20th of June thru the 10th of July. Those hot, buggy, muggy, nights are the best! Once the evenings start to cool down in mid July, the Hex hatch is unpredictable and almost over, then it's terrestrial time.
When the Steelhead hype is over, there is nothing like pulling large 4" plus streamers through my favorite trout streams. Watching a large, golden, brown trout, chase and eat a streamer is nothing but exciting, and if your lucky enough to have a little foul weather with the river on the rise and a little stained, there can be action on every bend or under any log with just a little bit of depth to it. We've turned as many as 75 fish a day, in the course of these conditions
Stripping large streamers is work! You are constantly casting and stripping. Those who have done it properly for a whole day have litteraly wore groves in their index finger from the fly line sliding through their hands as the stripping process starts, and does not end until the end of the day.
Brown trout are funny creatures and react to their environment. While your interest may be catching a nice hatch in early June, fishing dry flies, a change in weather to a cool, wet, spring day, keeps water temps down and nothing feeding on the surface. If your willing to be versatile and 'match' techniques with weather conditions, northern Michigan trout steams have a lot to offer.
Pere Marquette River:
Historically, the sign on the cover phto of this page say it all and the Jesuit priest Father Jacque Marquette who died near the mouth of the Pere Marquette back in the 1400's gives this historic river a little extra flavor. The "PM" is one of Michigan's smaller streams that can offer a big punch. While the "PM" is tight with scores of overhanging trees, under brush, and log jams, it has a lot to offer for the novice as well as experienced angler.
Not lacking in history, the Muskegon river is one of Michigan's longest rivers and pumped millions and millions of board feet down it's system during the lumber era in the late 1800's. Now the "tail water" below Croton Dam in Newaygo, MI is one of the most prolific trout streams this side of the Mississippi.
It offers plenty of room for the beginner and plenty of fish. It offers the angler exceptional fishing whether you are a dry fly enthusiast, love pulling streamers, or fishing strike indicators with nymphs. With it's great steelhead run, May and early June can offer some of the best nymph fishing with an indicator rig. A double fly rig with a small nymph and an egg, can produce dozens of fish in a day and don't be surprised if a large steelhead explodes the water as you "lift" your rod once your indicator goes down!
Simply said, my favorite trout stream! It's not for the weak, as my largest brown trout have come from this mid-sized river. While there have been times we have worked hard pulling streamers, and have turned 6 fish all day, the two we caught and those that chased were all troph fish. During a drake and hex hatch, I expect to hook up with a couple fish well exceeding the 20'" mark.
Great hatches, great habitat, that match the fish that inhabit these waters...again a river I miss dearly when I'm in Alaska.