Seasons of Fishing Hope Again Come ‘Round

For Rochester area fishermen it was a hard winter. In fact it was brutal. With nearly four months of record snow and sub-zero temperatures there was very little fishing joy going on, especially for fly fishermen. Locally, the Clinton River was frozen over in many spots and, even worse, unsafe shelf-ice made our bold winter steelheaders stay home and tie flies. Some, in acute desperation, dashed north-west to the classic Pere Marquette River but, even there, with thin results. However, things are looking hopeful now with winter’s last curtain calls and hope is returning. Here’s a quick list of things that we, as fly-fishermen, will look forward to around Rochester in the coming weeks.

Fisherman Shawn Chalker with a beautiful spring steelhead at Yates Park.  Photo by Wayne Snyder

Fisherman Shawn Chalker with a beautiful spring steelhead at Yates Park.
Photo by Wayne Snyder

Nightfall on March 31 means your 2013 fishing license has expired and it’s time to renew. While this might seem a big “boo” to most (we’ll actually have to shell out some money), fishermen prize the day they head out to purchase a new license. For many it’s part of the tradition, but this year there is good news. Starting March 1  2014, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources changed the fishing license structure and pricing, actually reducing the All-Species Resident Annual license (the one you used to need to fish for trout and salmon) from $28 to $26. Note also, that there is no longer a Restricted Annual license. For most of us now there’s just one license type.

The Clinton River is now fish-able again and dozens will venture to Yates Park for a shot at the returning two-year steelhead. Weekends at the park will be mayhem so, if at all possible, fish during the week. The river will still be crowded but the rewards can be amazing. Now’s the time to get out on our miracle river and and try to land what many regard a fish of dreams – a Clinton River steelhead.

Opening day of Michigan’s Regular Trout Season is only a month away and this year it falls on April 26. Locally, this means Paint Creek will finally be open for fishing. With all of the snow and ice we had there should be plenty of water.

Last, but far from least, the 2014 Paint Creek Fly for Hope Trout Tournament and Ryan Rocks Bluegill Fly Fishing Event is now scheduled for May 31st at the Rochester Municipal Park. This is an enormously popular one-day event founded on the motto “Fly Fishing, Friendship, Good Humor, Good Times.” If you like fly fishing and raising funds for super-wonderful causes, then this day is for you. What will make this year’s trout tournament unique are the vast improvements to Paint Creek’s trout habitat due to the Paint Creek Restoration Project. The project altered the creek’s structure and beautified its shoreline from Dinosaur Hill to the Paint Creek Bridge on Main Street. This is a whopper of a game changer for the trout tournament and it’s a whole new ball-game! There will be an update on the Paint Creek Fly for Hope 2014 event coming soon to The Community Edge.

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