Michigan fishing guide service specializing in fly fishing or lures. Offering river fishing or lake fishing trips on the Pere Marquette River (near the flies only area), Muskegon River, Mainstee River and Lake Michigan. Michigan fishing charter for salmon fishing, steelhead fishing, trout fishing, smallmouth bass fishing, carp fishing and pike fishing. Michigan fishing report and fly tying area.
NorthernIslander, Promising start in efforts to help “Coasters” back into native habitat by Matt Dunn. May 2009.
Promising start in efforts to help “Coasters” back into native habitat
The Great Lakes are justifiably famous for their excellent salmon and steelhead fishing. These species spend most of their lives in the competitive open lake, eating baitfish and growing large. They enter tributaries in the fall and spring and make their way to suitable spawning habitat. Anglers from all over the country and the world come to fish for them in these rivers. Hooking one of these big-lake fish in a small river is an experience unparalleled in the sport.
Steelhead and salmon are not native to the upper Midwest. They were introduced from the Pacific coast starting in the late 1800s. With the help of commercial overfishing, they took the place of a native fish that rivaled them in size and, in most people’s opinion, outdid them in beauty: the coaster brook trout.
The brook trout we are familiar with today rarely grow larger than eight inches long. They live in small streams and are appreciated most for their aggressive disposition, beautiful colors, and sweet tasting meat. But one variety of brook trout, the coaster, is admired also for its size: averaging up to five pounds in weight with some specimens reaching fifteen pounds. Like steelhead and salmon, coasters spend most of their lives in the big lakes, making annual runs up tributaries to spawn.
Unlike the modern steelhead and salmon fisheries, coaster brook trout historically occupied only Lake Superior and the northern portions of Lakes Huron and Michigan. It is very likely that Beaver Island itself once hosted a run of coasters, and the newly formed Beaver Island Conservation Club has plans to restore this population to its native habitat in Iron Ore Creek.
Very few populations of modern coasters have remained intact since the arrival of white settlers to the Great Lakes. Today, native populations of coasters exist only in Lake Superior watersheds. In fact, only four populations have survived in US waters: three on Isle Royale and one in the Salmon Trout River in Marquette. Several native populations still survive on the Canadian side of Lake Superior, most famously and abundantly in the Nipigon River of Ontario.
Modern rehabilitation projects have been attempted in several areas of Lake Superior including Pictured Rocks National Seashore near Munising Michigan, creeks near Ashland Wisconsin and near Grand Portage Minnesota.
Beginning in 1999 and ending in 2005, more than 100,000 coaster brook trout fingerlings hatched from eggs from Isle Royale strain fish were stocked in Mosquito, Seven Mile, and Hurricane Rivers in the Pictured Rocks National Seashore on the south shore of Lake Superior. Stocking was suspended in these rivers because studies revealed that native brook trout there were already migrating to the lake. While no coaster-sized brook trout have been found in these rivers or in nearby areas of the lake, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service will continue to monitor these populations and perhaps continue stocking efforts in the future.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service in Ashland Wisconsin began stocking various life stages of Isle Royale strain fish in Whittlesey Creek in 2003. They have stocked eggs, fry, fingerlings, and adults. Their efforts have met with little success. No large brook trout have been found in the creek or in areas of the lake near the creek.
In Minnesota, the Grand Portage Tribe and the US Fish and Wildlife Service began stocking Nipigon strain coasters in 1992 in Little Lake Creek, Hollow Rock Creek and Grand Portage Creek. Eyed eggs, fingerlings, and yearling coasters were stocked and it was found that the eyed egg stage was the most effective. In 1997, it was discovered that coaster brook trout were reproducing in at least two of these streams. Of 52 sexually mature coasters sampled that year, the average size was about seventeen inches with several fish topping the twenty inch mark. The Minnesota state record brook trout is a 24 inch, six and a half pound coaster caught in the Pigeon River just a mile north of Grand Portage in 2000. While these are not giant lake run fish, they are truly giant brook trout and represent a promising start in the efforts to rehabilitate coasters to their native habitat.
The Beaver Island Conservation Club hopes its efforts meet with similar success. They are already off on the right foot with help from St. James and Peaine townships, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Natural Resources and Eco Tourism Commission. These organizations assisted in getting funding for a new culvert on Iron Ore Creek. The previous culvert was too small to allow coaster brook trout passage from the spawning habitat in the upper creek to the lake.
Gavin West, one of the founding members of the Beaver Island Conservation Club, says that in moving forward, the club is looking for additional funding sources including Trout Unlimited and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to continue coaster restoration work like further stream restoration and a stocking program. The club is also waiting for final clearance for federal non-profit 501c3 status. This will allow them to apply for a variety of federal monies including US Fish and Wildlife and US Department of Agriculture grants. West says that they hope to have an active stocking program in place within five years.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, author Matt Dunn fished for pretty much everything that swims. He is a student and outstanding fishing guide. He earned an MS. in Biology and an MA. in History and Philosophy of Science. During the past several years, however, much to his Ph.D. adviser’s consternation, he did a lot more fishing than dissertation writing.
He has fished extensively in Colorado, New Mexico, and the UK. He likes good draft beer and even designed and taught a course for several years at Indiana University on the history of beer and brewing. He has a booming laugh and a warm personality. He was once mistaken for a Sasquatch. Dunn is a guide for Indigo Guide Service. They serve Beaver Island and can be found on the Chamber web site www.BeaverIsland.org under Hunting and Fishing.
NorthernIslander, Good Fishing & The Economic Benefits For Beaver by Steve West. April 2010.
Good Fishing & The Economic Benefits
Like most my eyes tend to glaze over when confronted with a page of raw financial statistics. However, recently fishing guide Kevin Morlock shared some interesting economic data about his customers with local business owners and the Chamber of Commerce directors.
Morlock (Indigo Guide Service) has spent about 60 days during the last two summers guiding, primarily fly fisherman, in the Beaver Archipelago for carp and smallmouth bass. He has been so busy and successful that this season he is bringing a second guide, Steve Martinez. When not on the waters around Beaver Island they guide clients on the pristine Pere Marquette River. They cater to catch and release sportsmen who value an enjoyable outdoor experience over stocking the freezer.
Kevin Morlock surveyed his 104 customers from last season. He determined how long they stayed on Beaver Island and how much they spent on various items like food and transportation. It amounted to about $40,000 during a 60 day time frame. Without too much eye glazing, quoting from his report, “Lodging $15,051 – Transportation $6,675 – Gifts/Misc $4,450.” Morlock’s personal spending on the Island exceeded $5,000.
His numbers are very likely low as they don’t include spouses and children who came along. Several customers picked up real-estate information. One is renting a beach home and bringing his extended family for a vacation this summer.
Quality fishing opportunities and great guide service are the key to quality sportsmen visitors. Catch and release anglers have low impact on the fishing resource while having the greatest economic benefit for Beaver Island. More bluntly, as is my way, these eco-tourists put
the fish back and have drinks at the Shamrock and whitefish with champagne sauce at Nina’s. The Beaver Island economy will benefit from more of them.
One of Morlock’s principal marketing activities is, “host the writer.” Last year he, the Chamber, Laurain Lodge and the Boat Company arranged for a visit by outdoor writer Brandon Butler. His piece, “Northern Island Angling Paradise” appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of the up scale Eastern Fly Fishing magazine. Morlock reports that his phone is ringing, he is booking and these new customers have never been to Beaver Island before. This June the Chamber and Morlock will host 9&10 TV producer Corey Adkins and hopefully Detroit Free Press writer Eric Sharp for fly fishing adventures.
With a second guide on board and the additional business created by joint marketing Indigo Guide Service is on target to add nearly $100,000 to the Beaver Island economy this summer. This suggests how shocking the cormorant economic damage report Jeff Powers is striving to fund will prove to be. Cormorant numbers are finely declining after the herculean efforts of Powers and the Wildlife Club. The impact over decades, some predict, will prove to have been many millions of dollars.
Beaver Island, with an abundance of inland lakes and surrounding water resources, as well has a large amount of public and private hunting land, has an opportunity to leverage these resources for the economic benefit of those who live and work here. Done properly this will have little impact on the renewable resources and can positively impact those who choose to enjoy the outdoors in ways other than fishing and hunting as well.
Imagine the impact on our Island economy if 8-10 fishing and hunting guides were serving clients spring, summer and fall. We are using and marketing our outdoor resources in a responsible way to benefit the economy of Beaver Island. Are there some out there who think this is bad policy?
Traverse Magazine, This Summer: Discover Lake MIchigan’s Beaver Island by Dianna Stampfler. June 2010
Kick off the summer of 2010 with a trip to Beaver Island, the Great Lake’s most remote inhabited island, in the waters of Lake Michigan off of Charlevoix.
People come to Beaver Island for its abundant nature and solitude and much of what the island offers is free. With over 100 miles of scenic roads, old two-track trails and beaches, it is ideal for hiking and biking. Pristine woods welcome nature lovers for bird watching and photography, as well as sportsmen looking or hunting and fishing opportunities.
Visitors can expect to discover a wealth of ecological resources, including nature preserves and state land available for walking and exploring. Approximately 35 percent of the Island – located about 30 miles north of Charlevoix in Northern Lake Michigan – is state forest land.
Check Out These Naturally Awesome Beaver Island Adventures
Beaver Island Ecotours: Offering a wide variety of tours for outdoor enthusiasts, such as driving and walking tours, inland lake tours, biking tours and hiking and camping trips. Visit sandy beaches, bogs and inland lakes, marshes, cedar swamps and hardwood forests in search of loons, osprey, turtles, salamanders, deer and a variety of flora and fauna for family enjoyment. beaverislandecotours.com
Bonadeo’s Beaver Island Boat Charters: Explore the outer islands of the archipelago such as High Island, Hog Island and Squaw Island, on half-day or full-day excursions ideal for singles, couples, families and groups. Learn the history of the island lighthouses and former residents as you play a modern day explorer in Northern Lake Michigan. beaverislandboatcharters.com
Indigo Guide Service: Guided fly fishing and casting trips for smallmouth bass, carp and other species on Beaver Island and its surround islands make for some of the best flats-style fishing in the Midwest. indigoguideservice.com
Inland Seas School of Kayaking: Paddle the clear-blue waters of the Beaver Island archipelago where a variety of outdoor experiences are offered for all ages, including sea kayak trips in the St. James Harbor and on Lake Michigan or naturalist-led kayak eco-tours on the inland lakes. Be on the lookout for loons, eagles, osprey and beaver lodges during the morning or afternoon excursions or take part in a full-moon paddle and learn lunar lore while listening to the nighttime sounds of Northern Michigan. inlandseakayaking.com
Lakesports & Paradise Bay Gifts: This is the place to pick up a fishing pole, bait or tackle as well as rent canoes, kayaks, boats with motors, pedal boats, bikes and camp gear. Also offering hourly moped rentals. beaverisland.org/lakesports/index.html
Paradise Bay Dive Shop: Located on Beaver Island’s Paradise Bay – one of the finest harbors in the Great Lakes. The water surrounding the island contains shipwrecks and other underwater scenery just waiting to be explored. Sign up for Scuba instruction, snorkeling, diving classes, cruises aboard The Resolute or out-island adventures. paradisebaydiveshop.com
Beaver Island Boat Company Tours: Beaver Island Boat Company’s knowledgeable and well seasoned tour drivers will guide you through Beaver Island’s beautiful scenery and intriguing history, while giving you an idea of why island life is so unique. Your journey in one of our fifteen passenger vans to the southern tip of Beaver Island will take you through its beautiful dunes and forests and alongside several of the island’s pristine inland lakes, bays and beaches. Ultimately, the tour will pause to visit and climb one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes, Beaver Head Lighthouse. This is a great way to see the island for eco-adventurers who may not be able to walk or bike the many trails but still want to be surrounded by nature. bibco.com
Visitors will find two established campgrounds on Beaver Island, both owned and operated by the Island Townships and open from April 1 to the end of November. There are no reservations at either campground and the primitive sites are available on a first-come, first serve basis. Both campgrounds provide pit toilets and hand pumps, there are no showers at either facility.
Saint James Township Campground is located on the north end of the Island, off Donegal Bay Road one mile outside the St. James Harbor. The campground and its 12 sites overlook Lake Michigan and Garden Island, with views of Squaw and Whiskey Islands. ($5 per night, per campsite).
Bill Wagner Peaine Township Campground is located on the east side of the Island, seven miles south of the harbor and accessible via the East Side Road. This 22-site campground is on the shore of Lake Michigan with a view of the west coast of mainland Michigan. ($10 per night, per campsite)
Beaver Island is also home to the Central Michigan University biological field station, offering academic classes in biology, other sciences, and the arts. Faculty and students utilize the woods and waters surround the Beaver Archipelago as their outdoor classroom for field trips and lectures.
After a day, or more, of exploring the rustic nooks and crannies of Beaver Island, visitors can find luxurious packages at the East Wind Day Spa & Hair Salon (beaverisland.org/eastwind/index.html), where facials, massages, manicures and pedicures are offered to help relax both the mind and body.A variety of dining options can be found on the island, with Nina’s Restaurant at the Beaver Island Lodge offering a fine dining menu and extensive wine list.
Situated adjacent to Lake Michigan, Beaver Island Lodge (beaverislandlodge.com) has been a host to visitors since the 1950s and is one of many lodging properties on the island. Other noteworthy accommodations include The Brothers Place (beaverisland.org/brothers-place/index.html) – a rustic Northwoods lodge originally built on a 20-acre parcel in 1928 as a retreat house by the Christian Brothers religious order and Shanoule B&B (beaverisland.org/shanoule/index.html) – a rustic three-suite bed-and-breakfast tucked away on a 40 acre secluded wooded lot.
Getting to Beaver Island is easy. The Beaver Island Boat Company (bibco.com) runs from early April through December, with limited runs in the early and late season. The 32-mile ride takes approximately two hours. Fresh Air Aviation (freshairaviation.net) and Island Airways (islandairways.com) both provide plane service to the island. All three services operate out of Charlevoix.
Those searching for a truly removed up-north destination will find it on Beaver Island, one of the purist four-season vacation destinations in Michigan. When it comes to natural escapes, nothing compares to America’s Emerald Isle – Beaver Island. For more information: 231-448-2505, BeaverIsland.org.
Bait debate: Some seek tighter PM River regulations by Brian Mulherin
A group of guides, anglers and landowners along the Pere Marquette River has been lobbying the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment to do more to protect spawning salmon and steelhead in the Pere Marquette River, which they believe to be in steady decline.
The way the group chose to try to protect those ﬁsh was to ask the DNRE for special “gear restriction” regulations on the river from Gleason’s Landing downstream to Walhalla Road. Gear restrictions can ban live or natural bait or can outlaw everything but ﬂy ﬁshing on a given stretch of water. The DNRE declined, spelling out its reasoning in a report released this week. Anglers will have a chance to “wade in” on the topic — and the fate of several other rivers — at a series of public meetings in June.
“Although there is much public support for more gear restrictive regulations in the watershed, there is similar strong public opposition to additional gear restrictions on the river,” the DNRE report states, noting that catch-and-release is prevalent on the river.
The DNRE report also states “a majority of anglers of the Pere Marquette ﬁshing river sections outside the no-kill water prefer to have the option of angling with a variety of gear types that might include bait such as spawn or wigglers as well as with artiﬁcial ﬂies or lures.
Kevin Morlock, a river guide who spearheaded what he called a “grassroots” effort to get special “no bait” regulations on the river, said he believes this has been among the worst years for steelhead ﬁshing he can remember in more than 20 years on the river. The Pere Marquette gets no stocked steelhead and he believes because of that, the naturally reproducing ﬁsh deserve some special protection.
“We put an effort in to see if we could make some arguments toward the PM because really we have no other alternative, if it’s true that the ﬁshery is declining,” Morlock said. “Wild ﬁsheries shouldn’t be treated like hatchery ﬁsheries.”
Morlock said there’s no hard science backing his claim that the ﬁshery is in decline, but he believes that’s all the more reason to tread carefully in what is allowed on the P.M.
The Pere Marquette Watershed Council board voted to nominate the new stretch for gear restrictions, citing the popularity and “proven qualities” of the ﬂies only water.
Ron Henrickson, an avid live bait ﬁsherman for trout in the lower P.M.
“I’d hate to discourage anybody from any method they use that’s legal right now,” Henrickson said. “My grandson would probably not want to go if he could only ﬁsh ﬂies.
“The next step will be catch-and-release-only, and I like to eat ﬁsh. You know, a lot of ﬂy ﬁshermen who practice catch-and-release kill ﬁsh, too. They might not know it, but they do.
Henrickson was referring to studies that a percentage of ﬁsh caught and released can die from the stress, even when handled carefully.
One of Henrickson’s concerns is loss of access for wading anglers. One of the Pere Marquette’s more popular access sites during spring, early summer and fall is the Taylor Road access, also called “the Maple Leaf.” If gear was restricted, the anglers who use spawn and worms would no longer be permitted to ﬁsh there by those methods.
“There’s more bait anglers than they know,” Henrickson said.
Morlock’s letter-writing campaign to DNRE ofﬁcials and state lawmakers was supported by the Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. Several lawmakers have also been contacted.
Morlock said in spite of that, he’s not optimistic that the DNR will put the stretch from Gleason’s Landing to Walhalla Road into the gear restricted category. Morlock said it’s unfortunate because the number of restricted miles in the state is only revisited once a decade or so.
Paul Drewry, an avid ﬂy angler who also casts crankbaits to king salmon in the fall, supports the idea of more restricted miles of water.
“A group of guys in Walhalla have been driving that,” Drewry said. “I think it’s a great idea — not necessarily bait restrictions, but to restrict the take of spawning ﬁsh during the run, whether steelhead or salmon. The bottom line is we have a naturally producing river there and I’ve always wondered what a difference it would make if we were to protect those spawning ﬁsh.”
Drewry said he believes the restrictions on the Au Sable have helped its ﬁshery and its reputation, making the area more desirable as a ﬁshing destination.
“As a businessman, I kind of like that idea,” Drewry said.
But not all businessmen agree. Bob Viglietti, owner of Pere Marquette Sport Center, said he doesn’t see how anyone but the guides pushing the issue are going to beneﬁt.
“There’s no practical reason to make that stretch of water ‘no live bait.’ It’s not going to change the ecology, it’s purely money driven. Plus, it’s going to negatively affect my business.”
Aaron Persenaire, an avid steelhead angler from Ludington, said he doesn’t think restricting gear would accomplish much in the grand scheme of things.
“Personally, I would disagree with a new restriction, being that we already have a ﬂies-only section on the river,” Persenaire said. “I’m not totally against a ﬂies-only stretch on the river, but one is enough.”
Morlock said another aspect to adding gear restrictions might be to clean up the behavior on the river.
He noted there just aren’t as many run-ins with belligerent, territorial anglers on the upper “ﬂies-only” stretches, even though there are more anglers present at times.
“All of our peak areas (on the lower river) during peak times are unwelcoming to families and visiting ﬁshermen,” Morlock said. “When a family can’t go to a public ﬁshing area during the best ﬁshing times, you’ve got a major problem.”
Morlock said having more conservation ofﬁcers enforce the rules would be nice, but he knows that’s not likely to happen in Michigan’s current economic state.
ON TROUT STREAM REGULATIONS
The local meetings, all at 7 p.m., are:
MONDAY, JUNE 7, at the Bitely Conservation Club, 12016 Woodbridge (M-37) in Bitely.
TUESDAY, JUNE 8, at the Crawford Au Sable Primary School Cafeteria, 306 Plum St., Grayling.
THURSDAY, JUNE 10, at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, 6093 E. M-115, Cadillac.
THE FULL list of meetings is available at www.michigan.gov/dnr.