Summer Trout

Photo by Wayne Snyder

Photo by Wayne Snyder

Savvy Michigan fly fishermen don’t hit on trout when the long days of summer get muggy and hot. Why? Net a struggling, cold-loving trout in warm, oxygen deprived waters and it will most likely go belly-up. So what’s a year-round fly guy to do especially in the southern parts of the state; we go warm-water. Bluegills and largemouth bass are fine, but the grand prize of the sunfishes that I prefer is the smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu). Described here are just a few of the better SE Michigan rivers.

Huron River

The Huron River is located in Southeast Michigan and flows 136 miles from the Huron Swamp west of Pontiac to Point Mouilee on Lake Erie. The upper Huron is a medium-size river with slow to moderate current speeds that make it ideal water for the beginning fly angler. With over a dozen recreation areas and parks throughout its length the Huron provides some of the best warm-water fishing in southeast Michigan.

The Huron River is open year-round to fishing, however consult the DNR’s Michigan Fishing Guide for applicable fish size and possession limits. Also, be aware that there are at least 19 dams on the mainstream of the Huron River and stream flows are frequently dictated by dam operations. Typically, the Huron experiences low stream flows from the end of June through November. In November most dams are opened to lower lake levels for the winter resulting in high stream flow rates.

Hudson Mills Metropark is 12 miles north of the City of Ann Arbor and the park entrance can be found on North Territorial Road ¼ mile west of Huron River Drive. The river here is from 30 to 40 feet wide. The stream bottom is sand, gravel and ground clamshell with plenty of cobble and boulders for cover.

Dexter-Huron Metropark is 7.5 miles north of the City of Ann Arbor and the park entrance is off Huron River Drive. The river here is from 30 to 40 feet wide. The stream bottom is sand and gravel with plenty of cobble and boulders for cover. The river at the south end of the park is shallower and easier to wade but the water is faster there. The water at the north end of the park is slower but deeper.

Flint River

The section of the Flint River that flows through the old railroad town of Flushing offers surprisingly good smallmouth bass fishing. The river-bottom here is mostly fine mollusk-shell ‘gravel’ with mats of turtle grass flowing in the current. In the summer the water gets low enough to wade in hip waders but that is the exception – chest waders are recommended. There is no lack of smallmouth’s here and fish lengths can range from 9 to 20 inches.

Clinton River

Wolcott Mill Metropark is located along the banks of the North Branch of the Clinton in Ray Township in north-central Macomb County. Here you’ll find 3-weight size smallmouths in great numbers along with rock bass and a very healthy population of common shiners. Northern pike prowl these waters for the very same reason.

Now get out there and chase the “trout” of deep summer. They’ll put a big bend in your fly rod and you won’t feel guilty about killing a fussy trout.

Wayne Snyder is the author of three books about fly fishing in Michigan. He resides in Rochester Hills.

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