Skunk, Line & Sinker

This weekend we hired a sitter to watch our two Australian cattle dogs and set off to Michigan to experiment with 4 new rivers. The drive around the southeast side of Chicago through Indiana is not exactly easy on the eyes. Where the steel mills produce the same smells that permeate from every McDonalds.  Despite this view, we were hopeful to jump into and explore new waters…
The Kalamazoo River- North Branch

Dad Riverbuming it in the Kalamazoo

Saturday morning we walked the north branch of the Kalamazoo in Albion, Michigan. Access points were difficult because most of the North Branch is surrounded by private property and parking was scarce. 3 hours waded and not one fish was caught. Bait casting with top water, twisty with jigs, and leech patterns were used. The water level never reached above our knees and the water was crystal clear. A beautiful river to walk but this North Branch had been so out fished. Remains of countless beer cans and bottles as well as dozens of houses situated in the banks were evidence of the human over population of this river. Whatever smallies had been there were long gone by the time we came around. Although a beautiful stretch of water in a wholesome setting, this branch of the Kalamazoo should be avoided.

Ratings:      1 poor      2 fair      3 good      4 great     5 excellent
Water clarity: 5                  Smallie abundance: 1               Environment: 3           Overall: 2.5
The Grand and Flat River- Between Greenville and Lansing

The Grand is Michigan’s longest river with 250 miles covered. It turned out to be mucky and muddy despite the lack of rain over the prior few days. We were told the Grand was stocked with smallies but much to our disappointment we discovered nothing but bottom feeders. The bottom was almost too difficult to wade as each step sunk us deeper into dingy graves. How could a smallie live here? No presence of boulders or clear water. We recommend avoiding this stretch of the Grand if you can as it is not even worth the view. However, our weekend was too short to venture the rest, so the Grand may be more grand than we think in other areas.

The Flat river is a tributary of the Grand. Although much narrower in size, the flat mirrored the Grand in it’s mud and muck presence. Many brook trout creeks enter into the flat which add to it’s beauty. However, no sign of smallies over the weekend and access points to the river are scarce. All in all, this river lived up to it’s name as it fell flat in our bum adventures. 

Ratings:      1 poor      2 fair      3 good      4 great     5 excellent
Water clarity: 2                  Smallie abundance: 1              Environment: 4           Overall: 2

The fishing was so bad, AC ended up checking stock prices!

AC marking her territory

The Muskegon River- Croton Dam and Newaygo

Dad hoping for a smallie!
(Right before he caught a 4-inch smallie-Skills!)

Have Rod Will Wade…
(AC chest deep in pursuit of the one that got away)
The Muskegon is a wide and magnificent river with stunning hills and rapids. We accessed the Muskegon near Croton Dam and found an accessible place to park. We fished a larger part of the area between Newaygo and Croton for about 5 hours. Over populated with canoers, boaters, and worst of all,  rafters!  Unfortunately the only thing this stretch wasn’t overpopulated with was fish! Outfished by anglers since early Spring. Although, we had a few hits on frog patterned torpedoes from carp. They would swat the top water with their tails but never hit again. Nothing like smallies but atleast our lures found some action. We plan to visit the Muskegon in the fall for Steelhead season and hopefully then we can report back with lunkers!
Ratings:      1 poor      2 fair      3 good      4 great     5 excellent
Water clarity: 5                  Smallie abundance: 2               Environment: 5           Overall: 3

Like a Scene out of Jaws!
After discovering these rivers in fishing and angler books, we’ve realized that these so called “experienced fishing authors” may not be telling the truth all the time. We suspect that these authors, who will remain unnamed, may take information from other sources and never actually visit the river. Despite this and the fact we got skunked this weekend, we discovered new waters and enjoyed what each one had to offer. How was that PC comment? Did it make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Good, we’re glad. But next weekend we are going to our secret spot and I guarantee you, there will be lunkers! Oh yes my friends, get ready, cause the RiverBums have been dry too long and we are ready to HOOK, line and sinker! Until next time…we’ll see ya on the other side of the river!
Cast Away,
AC & Dad

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