Stocking Steelhead in the Red Cedar River

Get your fishing lines ready, Michigan anglers! On Monday, April 15th, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be stocking the Red Cedar River in East Lansing with 3,000 steelhead. Elyse Walter of the DNR fills us in on this new development.

This past December the Michigan State University Board of Trustees approved an ordinance change that would allow an activity to occur on campus that had been previously banned since the 1960s. The activity? Fishing from the shore of the Red Cedar River.

Banned more than 50 years ago, the river was previously off limits to shore fishing because the entire campus of MSU is considered a preserve and therefore, hunting, fishing and gathering were off limits. Additionally, there were safety concerns with fishing along the river bank and bridges due to the amount of pedestrian traffic.

But all that changed just a few months ago when the trustees approved an ordinance modification that permits hook-and-line fishing on campus grounds on the north bank of the river between the western edge of Brody Complex and the Sparty bridge.

To enhance future angling opportunities on campus – already plentiful with steelhead and suckers available in the spring, smallmouth bass available in the summer, salmon available in the fall, and a variety of other native species abundant – the DNR’s Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit worked on a management prescription to stock 3,000 steelhead in the river this spring.

On Monday, April 15 at approximately 11:30 a.m. the DNR will pay a visit to the Red Cedar River to do just that! The stocking will occur at the bridge located off the southeast corner of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s parking ramp. A variety of DNR and MSU officials will be participating in the stocking, as well as representatives from numerous constituent groups. Sparty will even mark the occasion with his fishing rod in hand!

Following this ordinance change, fishing the Red Cedar River’s designated area will be allowed during a three-year test period. A fishing license is required to fish the Red Cedar River. If anglers plan to target trout and/or salmon they will need to purchase an All-Species license.  

Do you bleed green? Consider paying a visit to MSU’s Red Cedar River and partaking in a little fishing to show your Spartan pride!

Learn more about fishing opportunities around the state at

Elyse Walter is a communication specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. She specifically works with the DNR’s Fisheries Division to help educate and promote the state’s fishing opportunities and aquatic resources.