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> > First Brookies of the Year on the Maple River

TimCat has attached these 4 pictures to this report. The message is below.
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Best brook trout of the day at around 8-9 inches
Best brook trout of the day at around 8-9 inches
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My reel seat came off so I had to tie it back with some spare paracord while drinking a beer. It did the trick!
My reel seat came off so I had to tie it back with some spare paracord while drinking a beer. It did the trick!
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The Maple River
The Maple River
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The deadfall keeps the kayaks and canoes away...
The deadfall keeps the kayaks and canoes away...

Report at a Glance

General RegionNorthern Lower Peninsula in Michigan
Specific LocationMaple River Below the dam
Time of DayAfternoon/Early Evening
Fish CaughtBrook Trout
Conditions & HatchesWater temp was ~55 degrees, relatively high and fast water, but not too bad to wade.

Details and Discussion

TimCatMay 20th, 2018, 4:35 pm
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
I had a good time fishing and exploring today on the Maple River. Nothing but brookies, which I certainly have no problem with! I actually fished for about 2 hours and caught 4 fish, none bigger than 8-9 inches. I also did a lot of driving and hiking, which was equally pleasant in my new home waters (I moved recently and I live about 15-20 minutes from a "Blue Ribbon" stream!). It took me a while to find some water that wasn't too mucky to wade, and with enough room to make a normal cast.

There were a lot of mayflies and caddis laying eggs. Fish were rising here and there. I couldn't really tell what the sporadic rises I saw were for. There was a lot of different caddis and mayflies. I think most of the caddis were grey and around a size 12. There were quite a few different mayfly species. I saw some Grey Drakes (I think) and the little yellow egg sacs as they were dappling the surface, along with the always-present BWOs here. There were also some brown mayflies around a size 16.

I fished my comparadun emerger patterns that I've been tying, which are basically sparkleduns on an emerger hook, on the way up (Deer-hair wing, pheasant tail body, brown antron schuck). The one I tied on was a size 14 I think. They kill during a hatch usually. They're my go-to flies lately, and I figured they'd be a good choice either mimicking a sporadic hatch or for a a dapping fly that got stuck. Caught 3 dinks with that. Then on the way down I tried a rabbit strip streamer to no avail, and then swung a pheasant-tail soft hackle I tied. That got me the biggest brookie of the day... 8 or 9 inches. Not too shabby for my first real day fishing up here.

I'm looking forward to more exploring so close to me! The Boyne and Pigeon Rivers are also excellent streams that are within an hour of me. I am incredibly happy about where I'm living now, and not just for the trout. I hope everyone else's season is starting to get going like it is now here. The winter lasted forever and the runoff is finally starting to subside. Peace!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
RogueratMay 21st, 2018, 3:28 am
Posts: 472

nice fish, nice pics, and nice post- I would add NICE river, as well! The Maple looks a lot like the upper Boardman, tight casting lanes and lots of cedars on the banks...and even some in the water.
My daughter and son-in-law frequently stay at the Crooked River Lodge in Alanson, near your (new) neck of the woods...given the number of excellent trout streams in the area I'm thinking hard about heading up there someday as well.

Congrats on a good day on the water, and have you tried Trout Slayer beer? good stuff as well.


'Less is more...'

Ludwig Mies Vande Rohe
PartsmanMay 21st, 2018, 5:36 am
bancroft michigan

Posts: 420
Congrats timcat, that's some beautiful looking water. Your going to have a blast exploring and fishing some of the best trout waters in the state. Keep us poor downstaters updated on your adventures!

TimCatMay 21st, 2018, 8:37 am
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121

It's similar to the boardman in a lot of ways, pretty quick and cold. It's a little muckier in the headwaters and throughout/ not as sandy, but still has quite a bit as you get downstream. It's also not so crystal clear, with a more tannic appearance. Still a lovely and classic MI river

I'll try to keep more active on here with my exploration!

"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Jmd123May 21st, 2018, 11:41 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2608
Aha, you are working the West Branch! Yep, brookie country, tight casting, narrow shooting lanes...the whole deal. I actually did most of my fishing on the mainstem below Lake Kathleen. There was (is?) an access about 1/2-3/4 miles south of the Brutus Road Bridge (another spot I've fished), we used to call it "behind the Indians" during my U of M Bio Station days (1984-1990) - west side of the road, two-track. It's state forest land, and they had a big sand trap dug out in there, but that stretch still holds some nice fish, including an 11" brookie back in 2010. In fact, all three species are abundant in that water, so a "Michigan Grand Slam" is not all that uncommon (did my first waaaay back in 1990). This area is where I have by far the most experience on that river, but I would think hatches and etc. aren't too much different except for the colder temps in the WB. (The East Branch feeds out of the west end of Douglas Lake, opposite side of the lake from the Bio station and so it's warm surface waters that do eventfully get some cooling from groundwater inputs. It's plenty cold by the time you get to the Mainstem.)

Hendricksons right now, Light Cahills into June and July, Hex sporadic in Late June and early July. Go to Hoppe's Bar on Burt Lake, when the Hex show up all over the building you can bet it's about one week before they come out the river. I tie size 6-8 extended body elkhair imitations with flared (spent) wings, can also tie some with upright wings for emerging duns. For the Light Cahills, a #`12 White Wulff works very well. A Royal Wulff in the same size or #10 makes an excellent attractor fly. There are some grassy stretches in there so be sure to have some hoppers and crickets late in the season! Right now it's Hennies, Red quills, and caddis, with some dark Woollies thrown in for good measure. Good luck!! And pretty brookie, that place grows some handsome fish.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TimCatMay 21st, 2018, 2:09 pm
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
Thanks for the pointers Jonathon! I was actually below the dam yesterday on a road that turns into a 2-track off Maple River road. I fished the west branch very briefly the day before but had to turn in by the time I found some decent water. Bugs galore and tiny little hatchling trout were to be found there though. I'm excited... going out again in a few. I'm guessing I'll find some insects popping off the water shortly.


Oh and Rogue, forgot to mention it earlier but I have tried troutslayer. Got a six-pack last year and it's pretty tasty. Also, you can't go wrong in the northwest LP!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
RleePMay 22nd, 2018, 8:09 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Excellent... As I said once before when Jonathon posted some images of one of his home rivers, these pictures remind me (as well as make want to return to) of the streams on my Central Wisconsin beat/loop of a few years back. You could swap the Maple (or Pine or portions of the Boardman as well) for Wisconsin's Pine (Waushara County), Mecan, White or Tomorrow and only the trained eye or homeboy angler could tell the difference. We don't really have anything like them in Pennsylvania except in miniature in some of the alder-clogged marshy terrain waters in PA's northwest.

Nice brookie too, a good one anywhere.. That's the thing about wild brook trout. They don't have to be the size of fireplace logs to be awesome. They start out that way and never lose it..
StrmanglrMay 23rd, 2018, 8:32 am
Posts: 156
Nice pics, thanks for sharing.

I'm starting to not think of myself as not a trout fisher. I still haven't made it up north of US 10 to fish. Maybe one of these next couple days.
Jmd123May 23rd, 2018, 5:22 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2608
"I'm starting to not think of myself as not a trout fisher."

Are you doing the warmwater thing instead? I get at least as much out of that as I do chasing trout. But I haven't thrown at trout this year yet either! Guess we both need to get our butts in gear! Go get 'em!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
StrmanglrMay 29th, 2018, 8:10 am
Posts: 156
I've been out a couple times in creeks that are planted. It's trout fishing, sort of. Most of the time planted trout will hit everything I throw. This year seams a little different, although I think the difference is the high fishing pressure.

Last Friday I wasn't thinking about the recent rain and drove about an hour to southwest MI to explore creeks, smh all of them stirred up. Made a few casts at a couple bridges is all.

Until I get north of Clare, it's not real to me. Everything down here gets planted.
Jmd123May 29th, 2018, 5:53 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2608
Yeah, Clare is sort of on the "up north" line, like Standish on our side. It's where the eastern white pines and northern white-cedars begin to take over the forest. And yeah, there are just a lot more trout waters north of that line. Don't feel too bad, I still have yet to cast a fly this year! Been working so much lately I feel like sitting on my butt at the end of it...or the wind, or the terrorists, er I mean TOURISTS...and the shockwave of mosquitoes hits any day now. Believe it or not, I spent three hours leading my botany class around Clark's Marsh this morning and not one mosquito bothered me! With a full bottle of repellent in my pocket...I was joking that so long as I carried it they wouldn't show up, the day I forget it they'll swarm me! Couldn't believe I was still walking through the woods - WET woods and marsh at that - after Memorial Day and didn't get harassed at all. Yes, I am counting my blessings!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TimCatJune 1st, 2018, 5:21 pm
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
Hey Strmanglr... I used to make day trips to M-10/baldwin area to fish the PM when I lived in the Lansing area... I guess it's not too far "up north"... but it's a great river! Rainbows galore in the headwaters.

Yeah Jonathon... once you get more coniferous trees than deciduous... your in the right region for trout in MI.
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless

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