Thursday, September 21, 2017
Fished the Twelve Streams
This past weekend I finished fishing these twelve streams by wading the Pigeon and the Sturgeon.
This is a photo heavy post in part because I could find little to help me plan my outing but for the Twelve Streams book. I want to make some of it easier for the rest of you.
This is the Pigeon at the Pigeon River State Forest Campground. There isn't a "flies only" sort of area around here -- at least one enforced. So, spin fishermen with Mepps spinners compete with streamers for aggressive fish. Several guest told me of "keepers" they'd landed.
My largest fish here? 6" brookie. No browns.
My camp. I went light but was comfortable.
There is running water here. The DNR has developed an artesian spring about 20 yards from campsite 15. Very nice facilities.
A road bridge over the Pigeon some miles from the campsite. This spot is "Tin Bridge" and takes a bit to find. You want to approach the stream from the west.
I thought I'd pass on the experience, this time.
Upsteam from Tin Bridge on the Pigeon. Pulled five brookies here. Largest: six inches. No browns.
This is a typical Pigeon Forest road. There is a lot of this too and at night, it helps to have a good map. The landmarks are few.
Green Timbers was originally a private park for the McLouth Steel company employees. In 1982, the State of Michigan took over the area and has largely left it alone.
Green Timbers is a great bit of wild Michigan. The Fontinalis Club -- and no, the club won't let you in -- is the neighboring property. That's the industrialist club founded at the turn of the century whose membership includes Fords (yep, those Fords as in your Ford truck) and others so exclusive you don't get to know they're members. Green Timbers is however public land and shares some of the same water. Go figure.
All you have to do is hike. Figure a little more than five miles round trip.
The trail to the bridge -- once a road -- is s overgrown that 16" spruce trees in the roadway demand your careful foot placement on the hike in.
Lunch spot. Very nice and very welcome.
A pair of sand traps -- steel, of course -- are in the water above and below the bridge bend. Fish from the banks. I caught .... brookies. The largest ... six inches. No browns.
My "Twelve Streams" tribute shot. Oarsman: the official beer of guys packing in on a warm afternoon to complete the Michigan lower peninsula 12 river sweep.
The Sturgeon is rough. I'd say it is practically unfishable. The cover and blow-down is worse than the Jordan river. The whole thing has a snag-pool-snag type of run to it alternating in ten meter sections. Sure, I'd bet there were some great fish in some of the holes.
I couldn't fight my way to them (no trail, no wade approach).
There is easily 10000 man-hours of heavy work to trim sweepers and cut trail though the public land I saw.
I wouldn't have been able to get to several spots without the new super trout car. It's a 4Runner TRD PRO and it needs all of that suspension travel. Seasonal roads can be a bit rough at speed.
There are still publicly accessible waters that don't require such efforts but where the water is easy to reach ....
The Pigeon River is nice and seems to be coming back from the yoga-dam failures of Song-of-the-Morning Ranch ( a yoga retreat that twice decimated the Pigeon ... the dam is now out thanks to litigation, the DNR, Trout Unlimited, and a few other conservation bodies. Thanks, all). I fished cobble and gravel exclusively and saw some great breeding habitat for trout while standing in cold water.
The Sturgeon is a slog. It runs through some awesome country and probably holds some huge trout. You'll earn them, though. It's good hike-and-fish training.
Next year: I complete the Michigan grand-slam: the Fox and the Two Hearted.
I'd say Papa Hemingway would be proud; but, he wouldn't.
There is a price of admission for accomplishment and it is usually paid in sweat through singular effort.
I'll see you in the woods.