Stocking Steelhead in the Red Cedar River (Part 2)

Last week, Elyse Walter of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources gave us a preview of what was in store for Michigan anglers in the East Lansing area in Part 1 of her post. Today, Elyse fills us in on details of the April 15th event where 3,000 steelhead were stocked in the Red Cedar River at Michigan State University.

On Monday, April 15, nearly 3,000 steelhead (a variety of rainbow trout raised in captivity) were stocked in the Red Cedar River on Michigan State University’s campus. This activity marked an ordinance change by the MSU Board of Trustees this past December that now allows fishing on campus for the first time since the 1960s.

Because of this ordinance change, hook-and-line fishing is now allowed on the north bank of the Red Cedar River between the western edge of Brody Complex and the Sparty bridge. Previously the river was off limits for more than 50 years due to the entire campus of MSU being considered a preserve and therefore, hunting, fishing and gathering were off limits.

The steelhead stocking was conducted in an effort to enhance future angling opportunities on the Red Cedar. Numerous dignitaries were on hand to assist in the effort by dumping buckets of the six- to eight-inch-long steelhead fish directly into the river.

These dignitaries included: Sparty, MSU Trustee Dianne Byrum, MSU Acting Provost June Youatt, DNR Commissioner Tim Nichols, DNR Director Keith Creagh, Michigan Trout Unlimited’s Bryan Burroughs, Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ Amy Trotter, former DNR directors Howard Tanner and Gordon Guyer, and various MSU students and faculty.

Monday’s stocking occurred at the bridge located off the southeast corner of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center’s parking ramp. The 3,000 steelhead that were released were part of the nearly 19 million fish the DNR will stock throughout the state this spring. The DNR uses stocking to restore, enhance and create new fishing opportunities in Michigan’s inland lakes, streams and the Great Lakes.

The steelhead recently put into the Red Cedar will now make their way to Lake Michigan and potentially return to the river to spawn in one to three years.

For interested anglers, fishing the Red Cedar River’s designated area will now be allowed during a three-year test period. Please note 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.  

GO GREEN and pay MSU’s Red Cedar River a visit the next time you’re in town – you never know what you might catch!  

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.