Michigan For a Loner

GManBart

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Okay, so not really a loner, but you'll get the idea shortly :)

I live southwest of Detroit and I'm really only interested in trout/steelhead so I'm looking at a pretty good drive no matter what to get on the water. As an example, Grayling is 3.5 hours from me. Because of this, day trips aren't practical so I've done almost no fishing since moving here....I want to correct that. I figure I'll have to drive the day before and get a room for each trip, which is fine. I'm at a point where I have enough vacation time and income I can do that without too much pain.

The thing is, I'm largely going to be making solo trips which doesn't bother me a bit...I fished for years out west and 95% of the time was by myself. I'm considering buying a boat so I'm not limited to wade access and I'm thinking of something like a jet drive power drifter to keep as many options open as possible. Are there any reasonable choices in the lower peninsula where I could put in and motor upstream then drift down to the launch or drift and then motor back...that sort of thing?

I really like to be on my own schedule and not worry about meeting a guide or a shuttle driver, etc and my wife will only occasionally be along to take photographs rather than fish. I know I would have been able to do that on the big water where I used to live but have no idea if anything like that is even remotely possible here.

Edit to add: I should point out that I'm eligible for an early retirement in 4 years and I plan to take it. My wife wants to move back out West as much, or more, than I do. We're looking for more sun, low humidity and closer access to fishing. Most of the places we'll be looking at would benefit from a drift boat, so that makes it more compelling.

Any thoughts are welcome...just starting to think about this. Yes, I'm aware that the best two days of your life are the day you buy and sell a boat :LOL:
 
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jjcm

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I don't know much about fishing in southeast Michigan, but I think there are some steelhead opportunities there in that area. Don't they run in the Clinton?
 

GManBart

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I don't know much about fishing in southeast Michigan, but I think there are some steelhead opportunities there in that area. Don't they run in the Clinton?
I understand both the Clinton and Huron Rivers have some steelhead opportunities. From what I've read, the Huron is mostly jigs, wax worms, plugs, etc....not my cup of tea. I've started doing some reading on the Clinton as that's only a 90 minute drive for me.
 

GloveMan

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Closest rivers would be the Rogue and the Muskegon, bIMG952533.jpgut at that point you might as well keep going up to the Pere Marquette. Pere Marquette Lodge in Baldwin is right beside the fly fishing only section of the river and has a great late fall and winter fishery that doesn't get the crowds. Once it gets cold and you go up the fly section you will have much more space, particularly during the week. Fish can get very large and the river is small and intimate. Expect to land 2 or 3 out of 10 hookups if you are experienced. Great river to float to get into the private lands waters. You can fish the length but have to stay below the high water mark. DO NOT go on private land as it is patrolled and they get very testy if you trespass.
 

rusty 54

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Southwest of Detroit; we might be neighbors!

I see that you did not get much information on using a jet boat. My floating experience has been in drift boats and rafts on smaller rivers. I think you could use a boat as you describe on the larger rivers. Maybe the Ausable below Foote Dam, the Manistee below Tippy. Seems like this is done on the lower Muskegon. Again, I have no first hand experience, but it might point you in the right direction
 

myt1

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DO NOT go on private land as it is patrolled and they get very testy if you trespass.
And that is why I can't stand fishing in Michigan.

Whenever I return to Michigan to fish with my old (emphasis on old) high school buddies I always feel like I'm fishing in someone's back yard.

You can be wading over slippery bowling ball sized rocks, being pretty friggin' miserable, only inches from someone backyard lawn with no trespassing signs everywhere and your not allowed to walk on dry land...not even if you stay below the high water mark (I'm pretty sure).

It just isn't a wilderness experience.
 

rusty 54

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And that is why I can't stand fishing in Michigan.

Whenever I return to Michigan to fish with my old (emphasis on old) high school buddies I always feel like I'm fishing in someone's back yard.

You can be wading over slippery bowling ball sized rocks, being pretty friggin' miserable, only inches from someone backyard lawn with no trespassing signs everywhere and your not allowed to walk on dry land...not even if you stay below the high water mark (I'm pretty sure).

It just isn't a wilderness experience.
You need to try different rivers!
 

GloveMan

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Try the Pere Marquette, the Baldwin, or go to the UP and try the Fox. You won't be fishing in anyone's backyard. More likely to see deer than people!
 

rusty 54

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Much of the Ausable system, upper Manistee, upper Boardman run through public land. Pigeon River area has 3 rivers and alot of public land. We in Michigan are pretty blessed!
 

rockriver

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In Michigan, you can walk on dry land that is posted around obstructions in the water. Call the DNR for correct info. Page 33 of the rule book defines anglers rights to private land.
 
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GManBart

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Closest rivers would be the Rogue and the Muskon, but at that point you might as well keep going up to the Pere Marquette. Pere Marquette Lodge in Baldwin is right beside the fly fishing only section of the river and has a great late fall and winter fishery that doesn't get the crowds. Once it gets cold and you go up the fly section you will have much more space, particularly during the week. Fish can get very large and the river is small and intimate. Expect to land 2 or 3 out of 10 hookups if you are experienced. Great river to float to get into the private lands waters. You can fish the length but have to stay below the high water mark. DO NOT go on private land as it is patrolled and they get very testy if you trespass.
Thanks....I figured the PM would be a prime candidate, but hadn't considered the Rogue or Muskegon. Not having fished there at all I think I'm going to plan a trip to check things out. The PM Lodge rates look pretty reasonable for the cabins...might be fun!
 

GManBart

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Southwest of Detroit; we might be neighbors!

I see that you did not get much information on using a jet boat. My floating experience has been in drift boats and rafts on smaller rivers. I think you could use a boat as you describe on the larger rivers. Maybe the Ausable below Foote Dam, the Manistee below Tippy. Seems like this is done on the lower Muskegon. Again, I have no first hand experience, but it might point you in the right direction
Yeah, you're not too far...I'm not far from Carleton, so you're maybe half an hour away.

I'll take a look at those river sections...thanks! I'm planning to take a few exploratory trips to poke around and this will help narrow things down.
 
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