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Pere Marquette River Fly Fishing
The Pere Marquette River (PM River) was home to the Michigan grayling as was most of the cold water streams in northern Michigan. Before the logging era the Graylings were so abundant and easy to catch that there are pictures in history books of wagons and barrels full of the tasty little fish.
between the loss of so much spawning area from the logging
industry, no regulations on catching them, and the old
time way of thinking that there is so many fish you could
never catch them all, they were wiped out of the PM River. The U.S. fish
commission tried to reintroduce them after the loggers
were gone and the rivers started to clean themselves out
in the late 1800s but failed in their attempts.
The Pere Marquette River is an awesome destination for fly fishing
History and information about the Pere Marquette River and fish species
Then in the mid-1960’s there was an effort to reduce the excess number of alewives (an ocean forage fish that had no major predictors) they were getting so bad they were washing up on the Lake Michigan shore lines every year. The fish entered through the Saint Lawrence Seaway through the locks as the ships passed into and entered the Great Lakes.
This opened a new Great Lakes fishery . The Michigan DNR with guidance from the Fisheries Division planted silver salmon (coho) from the west coast in some of the northern Lake Michigan rivers and streams including Ruby Creek, a main tributary of the big south branch of the Pere Marquette River. The study worked as they didn't know if a fish that lived its life in salt water and spawned in fresh water would make it in a total fresh water environment.
Pere Marquette River Fly Fishing Guides in Northwest Michigan
They then planted
the Chinook (King Salmon) in the Aniseed River and the Platte River, never in the Pere Marquette River but the fish migrated into the
cold, fast moving, clean-gravel bottom waters and created a sustaining
run of king salmon which to this day is an outstanding fishing habitat.
The Pere Marquette River is one of the
only free flowing un dammed cold water rivers in lower Michigan, and
has the best salmon and steelhead runs of the free-flowing rivers
in the state. Michigan designated the Pere Marquette River a Michigan
Natural River in 1970 and the U.S. Government gave it a scenic river
designation in 1977.
The Pere Marquette River flows about 139 miles to the town of Ludington, Michigan where it flows into Lake Michigan. Although there is a lamprey barrier in the town of Custer it is primarily free of blockage. The Pere Marquette River supports a multitude of insects that hatch and feed the young fry, smolts, brown trout and rainbow trout. There are stoneflies, caddis flies, midges, and mayflies. The largest of the Michigan's mayflies is Hexagenia Limbata . All these insects make for an excellent fishery and plenty of forage for the trout, salmon and steelhead smolts to grow to massive size, some of the biggest browns in the state. Even some of the steelhead remember their journey out and come back to feed on the giant mayflies in late June. Grasshoppers and mice also make their way across the stream only to have their swim cut short by a 20"+ size brown trout that enjoys a nice meal.
is more to the Pere Marquette River then just fishing. The wonders of the PM River are everywhere for a person to just admire
the beauty of the tall pines and hardwood forests. The Pere Marquette
river in its grasp is a spectacular view.
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PM River Photos
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