Plan your Perfect Pure Michigan Summer Fishing Trip!

Many anglers in Michigan are constantly looking for tools and resources that equip them with better knowledge when they are planning trips. Now, with the help of many Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) partners, trout anglers don’t have to go much further than the DNR’s website!

The East Branch Black River Highbanks, Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

The East Branch Black River Highbanks, Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Michigan is nationally known as a trout fishing destination with nearly 20,000 cold, quality streams and hundreds of lakes. Michigan’s Trout Trails was recently launched online in an effort to connect anglers with lesser known trout waters all around the state. This new tool highlights several of these waters – specifically those located in the western Upper Peninsula, north central Lower Peninsula, and southwestern Lower Peninsula.

Trout Trails will be rolled out in several phases, with the first featuring 129 locations that include detailed descriptions and photos for each site and information for area lodging, restaurants, and guide services if available. Additional information includes trout species available, fishing regulations, presence of stocked or naturally reproducing fish, driving directions (with a link to Google maps), and note-worthy information (such as presence of fast water, canoe/kayak/tube accessibility, best times to fish, and much more).

Breathtaking Forest Lake. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Breathtaking Forest Lake. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

The goal of this site is to help anglers find new places to go and how to plan the best fishing trip possible. Each location has been verified by DNR fisheries biologists to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date.

The information on Michigan’s Trout Trails is presented in a map format that makes it easy to glean all the necessary information from each destination point. The site is mobile-friendly and accessible via any type of device. Additionally, information for each of the 129 sites is available in a printable format.

The St. Joseph River Shamrock. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

The St. Joseph River in Berrien Springs. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Don’t forget – this is just the first batch of locations that will be featured within the Trout Trails application. Each year the DNR is looking to add additional sites to eventually provide statewide trout trails. We hope it will entice anglers (both residents and non-residents) to explore new fishing locations, opportunities and adventures they haven’t had before.

To access Michigan’s Trout Trails, visit Michigan.gov/trouttrails.

SuzanneStoneSuzanne Stone is the Education and Outreach Specialist for the Fisheries Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Stone earned a B.S. in Natural Resources Management in addition to a secondary science teaching certification. Stone is an avid trout angler.

 

3 Ways to Get Your Feet Wet along Michigan’s Sunrise Coast

Sunrise2Michigan’s Sunrise Coast stretches from Au Gres to Rogers City along the blue waters of Lake Huron.  This picturesque Northeast coast of Michigan has pristine beaches, spectacular views and endless outdoor activities.

With more than 20 miles of sandy beaches, the Au Sable River and 35 thousand acres of unique trails, the Oscoda area is a great destination for your summer vacation bucket list.

Here are three ways to get your feet wet and enjoy the sun, sand and fresh air in Oscoda.

Explore Oscoda’s Water Trails 

Take in the beautiful scenery and catch a glimpse of wildlife in their native habitat during a canoeing or kayaking trip along the mighty Au Sable River.  The Au Sable is one of North America’s best canoeing rivers and runs through Northern Lower Michigan.

Whether you’re looking for a two-hour trip or a weeklong adventure, it’s an adventure you won’t want to miss.

 Go Fish 

If you’re looking for a trophy size fish, Oscoda is the right place for you.  The area is known for walleye fishing, but the Au Sable River and other inner lakes and streams attract trout, salmon and perch.

Once you decide where you want to fish, ,make sure you stop by the local bait shops and spend some time talking with the locals to determine what lures are hot and what is being caught.

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Life’s a Beach

The pristine beaches along Lake Huron, the Au Sable River, Cedar Lake and Van Etten Lake offer something for everyone.

Want a quiet afternoon taking in the sights and sounds of nature? Take in a sunrise at Huron Sunrise Park, along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Stay for a picnic, wildlife observation, swimming or fishing.

Kids and kids-at-heart can spend a day at Oscoda Beach Park swimming, skateboarding, playing on the playground and more.

If you want to take your boat out for a day on the lake, take off from Van Etten Beach Park. This park is a fresh water lake that has all the recreation activities for swimming, boating, water skiing, wave running and of course, fishing.

After all that exploring, you’ll want a place to rest your head.  Oscoda has everything from cottages, Bed and Breakfast resorts and hotels – many of them with views along Lake Huron.

From relaxing on the beach to fishing for walleyes in the lakes and rivers, Oscoda offers endless outdoor recreation activities. It’s perfect for your next family vacation!

What are you looking forward to doing in Oscoda this summer?

Ice Fishing 101: Six Simple Rules for Ice Fishing in Michigan

Michigan is a winter wonderland – especially for ice fishing! Today, guest bloggers Elyse Walter and Christian LeSage from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources give us six simple rules for a fun and safe ice fishing experience in Pure Michigan. 

Ice-fishing-in-MichiganMichigan offers some wonderful outdoor opportunities throughout the year, including world-class fishing. While some anglers head for the indoors when the temperatures dip, others look forward to winter’s most popular angling activity – ice fishing.

Many anglers and families look forward to the opportunities ice fishing provides them during these colder months, with some proclaiming this the best time to go fishing! Ice fishing is generally a more social event and many anglers welcome sharing a conversation about how they’re doing and what has worked for them. Others prefer the solitude that this wintery sport offers as they battle the elements in their quest to catch fish. Some of the benefits of ice fishing include the fact you can get to just about anywhere on a lake during the season and there are a multitude of species available to target.

If you’ve never been ice fishing there are a few things to think about so you’re prepared to have a fun and safe experience. We often recommend following these six simple rules:

1. Never fish alone.

2. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.

3. Always test the ice with a spud (a long shank with a chisel-like end).

4. Take the appropriate emergency items, such as ice picks and a life jacket.

5. Take a cell phone (enclosed in a plastic bag) with you in case you need to call for help.

6. Lakes tend to be a safer choice during the early winter as streams or rivers have flow which makes them less safe at times.

After you round up your gear (check out this list in our “Ice Fishing, the Coolest Sport Around” article) you’ll want to think about which species to fish for. Maybe you’d like to look for panfish while hook-and-line fishing, such as bluegill, yellow perch or crappie. Use a tip-up to target larger game fish, like northern pike, walleye and numerous trout species. Or – an opportunity unique to Michigan – consider going spearing for some monster fish like northern pike or muskellunge. Please note there are many restrictions associated with spear fishing (for instance, muskellunge harvest is limited to one per angler per season and a harvest tag is required), anglers should read the 2014 Michigan Fishing Guide for more information.

No matter what type of ice fishing method you choose remember this simple tip: success is most often seen around dawn until mid-morning or from late afternoon until sundown.

Need additional incentive to drop a line this winter? Try it for free as part of the 2015 Winter Free Fishing Weekend, coming Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15. This annual weekend provides two days where no fishing license is required for residents or non-residents – although all fishing regulations still apply.

The Department of Natural Resources has coordinated the Winter Free Fishing Weekend every year since 1994 in an effort to showcase the great angling opportunities available in Michigan and to allow residents and visitors alike to try the experience for free.

While many individuals and families will flock to their favorite fishing hole as part of this weekend, others will join official events coordinated throughout the state that will provide hands-on ice fishing experience. An official 2015 Winter Free Fishing Weekend event list will be available at www.michigan.gov/freefishing later this winter.

Don’t miss your chance to experience Michigan’s outstanding winter fishing opportunities and to get your family outdoors. Start planning your next fishing trip at www.michigan.gov/fishing

ElyseWalter-ChristianLeSageElyse Walter is a communication specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Christian LeSage is a Senior Fisheries Biologist for the Department. Elyse works specifically with the DNR’s Fisheries Division to help educate and promote the state’s fishing opportunities and aquatic resources. Christian LeSage’s responsibilities include improving angling opportunities for anglers through fish stocking activities as well as development of the annual Michigan Fishing Guide. Elyse and Christian work together to promote Michigan’s awesome angling opportunities which are second to none.