Michigan Trout - Summer 2022

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Servicing all of Michigan's Prime Trout Rivers The market has never been more competitive. It's time to enlist a quality agent to guide you to your own Home Waters.

Chad and Mandy Brown

Michelle Millikin

Sean McDonald

Todd Fletemier

chad@homewaters.net (231) 499-8292

michelle@homewaters.net (734) 474-9487

sean@homewaters.net (231) 510-2072

todd@homewaters.net (231) 588-1871

Boardman, Platte and Betsie Rivers

Au Sable and North Central Rivers

Muskegon, P.M. and Western MI Rivers

Manistee, Black and Sturgeon Rivers





With interest rates and inflation rising and the stock market declining, we're finally seeing some shifting of the market. Don't get too excited as we're still seeing more buyers than inventory but we may be beyond some of the absolute craziness we've seen since 2020. The best part is we actually are seeing some new inventory but it is still moving fast. Here are a few great ones to choose from.

Au Sable Holy Water Custom Home Overlooking 105' of pristine frontage just upstream of Keystone, the 5,800 home offers tremendous attention to detail and an ideal setting to the river. Offered at $850,000. Contact Michelle for details

Pere Marquette Little South Branch Acreage This one has nearly 100 acres (95) and approximately 1,800' of frontage. It also features a three bedroom main house and a large heated garage with bunkhouse. Offered at $695,000. Contact Sean for details

Manistee Flies Only Cabin The quintessential fly fishing cottage, this knotty pine cabin overlooks 157' of beautiful frontage and is surrounded by towering pines for privacy. Offered at $239,900. Contact Todd for more information.

697 Hannah Ave, Suite B, Traverse City, MI 49686


Nestled in the heart of the Manistee National Forest, the historic log cabins of North Rivers overlook a peaceful spring creek setting on the upper Little Manistee River. Over a quarter-mile of private riverbank offers exceptional traditional dry fly fishing for native brook, wild brown and resident rainbow trout. Centrally located in true Michigan river country, the nearby Pere Marquette, Manistee, Pine and Big Sable rivers are all just minutes away. So much water to explore! Fly fishing instruction and casting lessons for individual or group classes available upon appointment. NORTHRIVERSLODGE.COM 1853 W. Old M63, LUTHER, MI NORTHRIVERSLODGE@GMAIL.COM (231) 266-6014

Summer 2022 MICHIGAN TROUT MAGAZINE P.O. Box 442 Dewitt, Michigan 48820-8820 (517) 599-5238 bryanburroughs@michigantu.org

In the state where Trout Unlimited was founded, Michigan TU will work to ensure clean, healthy streams and rivers supporting thriving populations of wild trout and salmon for future generations to enjoy.


Michigan TU Council Chair’s Report by Tom Mundt


The Proposed Expansion of Camp Grayling Raises Resource Concerns by Greg Walz, Michigan NLC Representative; Karen Harrison, President Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter



Move Over, Dow Jones; We’re Investing in Michigan Fisheries by Sarah Lapshan, Senior Communications Advisor –Michigan DNR Groundwater Influence by Jacob Lemon, TU Monitoring and Community Science Manager


Michigan TU Chapter Updates Compiled by Joe Barker


Lunker Stream Trout in the Daylight by Jim Bedford


Michigan TU’s New Policy on Lake Superior Splake Stocking by Michigan TU’s Conservation Committee


Learned Methods to Land More Trophies by Jac Ford, Country Anglers


Terrestrial Time by Ann R. Miller


Interview with TU Great Lakes Engagement Coordinator Jamie Vaughan


Love Trout? Thank a Sucker! by Dr. Karen Murchie, Director of Freshwater Research, Shedd Aquarium, Dr. Pete McIntyre, Associate Professor, Cornell University


Contributing to Conserve Coldwater by Jim Cantrill, Development Committee Chair


Book Review: The Venerable Fly Tyers by Glen R. Blackwood, Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company

EDITOR Joe Barker (586) 206-1414 jbarker@michigantu.org PUBLISHER/PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Ron Peckens Fisheye Internet Solutions & Hosting LLC (248) 909-2916 www.fisheyeinternet.com ADVERTISING Gregory Walz (231) 409-3345 advertising@michigantu.org MICHIGAN TROUT UNLIMITED Chairman: Tom Mundt Vice Chairman: Gabe Schneider Treasurer: Robb Smith Sr. Secretary: Mike Lagowski Executive Director: Dr. Bryan Burroughs Aquatic Biologist: Kristin Thomas Past Chairman: Gregory Walz NLC Representative: Gregory Walz Development: Jim Cantril Operations & Finance: Tom Mundt Education: Greg Potter Chapter Assistance: Open Communications: Ron Peckens Conservation: Al Woody MICHIGAN TROUT is the official publication of Michigan Trout Unlimited. Copyright 2022. Issues are mailed to all members of Trout Unlimited Chapters throughout Michigan. Send all editorial correspondence to the editor. Advertising rate card is available at the following address https://bit.ly/3kPLoCf Michigan Trout and Michigan Trout Unlimited reserves the right to accept or reject proposed advertisements at their sole discretion. Magazine cover - The Jordan River by Bill Dietrich


I celebrated the new trout season by attending such a gathering with friends along a Northern Michigan stream on the Friday prior to the opener. A big thank you to the hosts; it was a great event. I went fishing with my friend Steve on the Muskegon River a few days later. Yes, this is the same guy who most likely passed the Covid virus to me in early 2021. (He argues that I gave it to him, but facts say otherwise.) The day turned out much better, with both of us catching several nice brown and rainbow trout as well as steelhead without having to receive monoclonal antibody treatment followed by two weeks of isolation. Happy New Year, trout anglers, and welcome to what I hope is the beginning of a post-pandemic world. Turning to conservation, your Michigan TU team is engaged in several major habitat restoration projects across the state. Aquatic Ecologist Kristin Thomas and the Upper Manistee team have secured permitting and selected contractors to install locally harvested trees and woody debris within the river via helicopter this fall to improve fish habitat. Kristin will report on this project in the fall/winter

In other areas, Michigan TU and the Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter are collaborating with the Anglers of the Au Sable and other key stakeholders to finalize the engineering and action plan to improve fish passage around the Grayling Fish Hatchery. I also am happy to report that the team is close to removing a dam that contributes a significant amount of thermo-pollution to a tributary of Big Creek near Luzerne. Finally, Kristin recruited two interns to assist with the aforementioned projects and support chapter initiatives, including projects within Southern Michigan’s Paint and Prairie Creeks and the Coldwater and White Rivers. As we plan for the future, Michigan TU is collaborating with the Michigan-based TU National team to implement TU National’s new strategic “Shared Priority Waters” initiative for Michigan waters. This initiative aims to integrate current scientific data with local knowledge to identify the watersheds where TU can make the greatest contribution to the preservation and protection of our state’s coldwater fisheries. Considering Michigan’s 35,000 miles of cold water and varied physiographic structure, which ranges from glacial outwash of sand and gravel in the Lower Peninsula and Eastern UP to igneous bedrock in other sections of the UP, this was not an easy task. I want to thank the core team, including TU National’s Keith Curley, Nichol DeMol, Jack Lemon, Jeremy Geist, and Jamie Vaughan as well Michigan TU’s Dr. Bryan Burroughs, Kristin Thomas, Greg Walz, and Robb Smith, for their technical/scientific expertise as they analyzed layers of interactive mapping data to create the initial list of priority waters candidates – Great Job! The process and outcomes from these efforts will be presented and reviewed with the State Council in July and reported to all of you in a future addition of Michigan Trout. In closing, I leave you with a few words of wisdom from visual artist Ilan Shamir titled, Advice from a Trout. “Show your true colors; Be a good catch; Don’t be lured by shiny objects; Scale back; Cherish clean water; Know when to keep your mouth shut; (and), Don’t give up without a good fight.” Please enjoy this issue of Michigan Trout and get out and enjoy your favorite lake, river, or stream.

Summer 2022

Trout Opener is a time to emerge from hibernation and head to our favorite stream the last Saturday in April with a fly rod in hand with flies tied during the winter doldrums to temp wary trout with a Hendrickson fly pattern cast along a current seam or a wet fly swung through a riffle. This year’s Trout Opener was especially important as it was the first time in over two years that fellow anglers could gather safely in cabins, lodges, and fishing clubs across the state to toast the New Year with a great deal reduced probability of creating a super spreader event.

addition of Michigan Trout- stay tuned. I want to thank the very generous private donor who initiated the Upper Manistee project and the individual other supporters, as well as the Michigan DNR and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for expanding its scope.


While most of the world celebrates the beginning of the New Year on December 31, followed by a day laying on the couch and watching football, Michigan trout anglers know that the New Year really begins on the last Saturday of April. I know regulations have changed on many Michigan streams and rivers to allow fishing for brook, brown, and rainbow trout year-round, but in my mind, “Trout Opener” is the true New Year’s Day.


Michigan TU Council Chair’s Reportby Tom Mundt

Michigan Trout Unlimited


The Proposed Expansion of Camp Grayling Raises Resource Concerns


by Greg Walz, Michigan NLC Representative; Karen Harrison, President Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter

Summer 2022

For many anglers on the Au Sable and Upper Manistee Rivers and their tributaries and property owners and visitors in Crawford, Otsego, and Kalkaska Counties in the Northern Lower Peninsula, the sights and sounds of military training are common, if not daily, occurrences. The area echoes with bursts of automatic weapons firing; glimpses of lowflying helicopters, fighter jets, and A-10 ground attack aircraft swooping low in bombing and strafing runs; artillery pieces and tanks firing shells into designated impact areas; and convoys of Humvees, tanks, and other vehicles are commonly moving both on and off-road. These activities are centered on the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center (CGJMTC), the nation’s largest National Guard training facility, which extends over approximately 148,000 acres and hosts numerous training exercises throughout the year for National Guard units and multi-national allies. Camp Graying developed following a gift of 14,067 acres to the Michigan Department of Military Affairs in 1913 by Rasmus Hanson, a wealthy lumberman, for military training use. Hanson also constructed the Grayling Fish Hatchery, which began operations in 1919 on the East Branch Au Sable River. The current extent of the CGJMTC includes just over 50,000 acres, wholly owned by the Department of Defense, as well as 56,769 acres in Crawford and Otsego Counties under a long-term lease and over 42,000 acres under shortterm (20-year) leases in Crawford and Kalkaska Counties from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Collectively, the lands (and 337 square kilometers of restricted airspace) comprising the CGJMTC provide training to as many as 250,000 troops per year in a variety of exercises integrating ground, aviation, and other assets in realistic combat scenarios. While providing economic benefits to the surrounding communities and the State of Michigan in the form of payments in lieu of taxes, the training activities undertaken within the CGJTMC are responsible for a variety of environmental and quality of life impacts ranging from noise emanating from both day and nighttime helicopter and fixedwing aircraft training flights; noise and traffic disruptions from military vehicle traffic within and outside the CGJMTC; habitat fragmentation within training areas affecting wildlife behavior; wildfire management issues (about 100 fires annually as a result of training activities); and, most notably contamination of surface waters, subsurface aquifers, and some residential water wells with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs and PFCs), components in fire-fighting foams, which have emanated from the Grayling Army Air Field. These “forever chemicals” are not

readily degraded once present in the environment and bioaccumulate in animal and human tissues. PFAs and PFCs have been linked to growth and development issues in children, reproductive problems in women, and an increased risk of cancers in those exposed. In May 2022, Michigan TU became aware of a proposed expansion of the CGJMTC through a report published online on May 18 by Bridge Magazine, indicating that the Department of Defense was proposing the addition of over 160,000 acres to the CGJMTC to facilitate “low impact” cyber warfare training exercises. As depicted on a map accompanying the article, the proposed expansion would more than double the CGJMTC footprint. The proposed expansion extends north from the area west of Houghton and Higgins Lakes on the south; it encompasses a wide swath along the Upper Manistee, including the North Branch of the Manistee and Cannon Creeks, as well as the Upper Au Sable north and west of Grayling. To the east, the proposed area includes the East and Middle Branches of Big Creek and an area adjacent to the headwaters of the North Branch Au Sable. According to the article, no new tank or vehicle trails, structures, facilities, or fences would be constructed on the leased DNR lands. However, new weapons firing points were included in the expansion plan where weapons (tanks, artillery, etc.) could fire into existing impact ranges. During training exercises, temporary road closures and access limitations to some areas would occur within the expansion acreage. On May 31, 2022, Michigan DNR representatives and military personnel met with river stakeholders to present the CGJMTC request, answer questions, and listen to comments and concerns. DNR Natural Resources Deputy Shannon Lott participated in the meeting, as did Tom Barnes, Manager, Grayling Forest Management Unit. Colonel Scott Meyers represented the CGJMTC. There were approximately 40 people in attendance, including members of the Au Sable North Branch Area Foundation, Upper Manistee Restoration Association, Au Sable River Property Owners Association, Anglers of the Au Sable, and Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter. The information presented indicates the vast acreage of the proposed expansion results from a new defense strategy referred to as Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), which ”…enables the convergence of effects of U.S. weapons systems in all five warfare domains: land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace.” The vast area of the proposed expansion reflects the need for spatial distancing to minimize signal interference or jamming between troops training in electronic cyber warfare activities. The information further


As indicated during the meeting, the DNR produced revised maps of the expansion area on June 9 that depicted 1500-foot buffers along the lake and river banks. This revision will hopefully reduce potential impacts on water resources. However, Michigan TU still has many questions regarding the need for the expansion via short-term leases (20 years) on State Forest lands versus obtaining special use permits or other arrangements for training exercises, the exact nature of the activities to be conducted, and limitations on public use of the expansion areas and buffers for tributaries and residences. While we all realize that military readiness is of vital importance given current geopolitical realities and the existence of real and perceived threats from beyond our borders, the proposed expansion of the CGJMTC may result

Summer 2022

A subsequent June 3 article in The Traverse City Record-Eagle indicated that attendees at the meeting expressed concerns over the potential interference of the electronic transmissions on cell phones, internet, and other communications in the surrounding area; concerns over additional impacts to the leased land from the expanded training activities; and, possible effects on the Manistee and Au Sable Rivers and their tributaries from vehicle traffic and training activities, which could damage banks and riverbeds with increased erosion and sediment deposition. Joe Hemming, President of the Anglers of the Au Sable, requested that more detailed maps of the expansion area be produced so that areas of concern along the stream and river corridors could be more readily identified. Karen Harrison, President of the Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter, remarked, “I don’t think any of our groups are ever going to be satisfied with what they proposed; I think there has to be some major compromises.”


After the presentation, the floor opened for questions. There was a range of inquiries, covering the exact uses and purpose; provision of a better map to be able to identify roads, rivers, etc.; proximity to river corridors and tributaries; the need for 160,000 acres (could this be less); the purpose and extent of the proposed firing points; maintenance of access roads; and, closing off roads and ORV trails. Colonel Meyers addressed questions and brought up additional information, including Camp Grayling expansion. manufacturers contacting the CGJTMC about testing new technologies using the land available to the unit. Although not specific in what new technologies referred to, state-of-the-art drones were mentioned.


stated that the current 148,000acre CGJMTC footprint “…still limits the ability for units to conduct immersive multi-domain training exercises at the scale required for effective MDO readiness.” CGJTMC Commander Colonel Scott Meyers stated that the lands proposed for the expansion would remain under DNR ownership and management and would be open for public access.

in real impacts on the ability to fully enjoy our public State Forest lands, waters, and wildlife. As this process moves forward, Michigan TU, along with conservation allies, will continue to engage with the CGJTMC and DNR to seek increased details on the scope and potential impacts on the leased State Forest lands and work to limit adverse effects as much as possible. Michigan TU will advocate for the highest level of protection for coldwater resources and adjacent terrestrial habitats within the proposed expansion area, work to ensure the broadest level of public access, and seek to retain full forest and wildlife management control by the DNR of State Forest lands within the expansion area. On June 20, local conservation groups met with the DNR and military to seek more information on the planned expansion. During that meeting, it was reported that the proposed expansion area will now include 1500’ buffers along water bodies, including rivers and streams; that river users would not be precluded from use of the rivers at any point; that forest management and land cover types in the watersheds would not be altered due to the military use of the areas; no significant road development would occur; and the nature of the electronic warfare training planned would not interfere with cellular services. From the meeting and a DNR press release on June 21, the overall process for this proposal was clarified. The June 22 public meeting and subsequent public comment period are to solicit public feedback on the preliminary concept of the expansion. If the DNR approves the concept, then a longer process will be initiated to develop the actual lease agreement and details. The development of the lease agreement might be expected to take until the end of 2023 when the DNR Director would need to take executive action. We hope and expect there will be an additional public notice and public comment period when people can review the terms of a resulting lease agreement. Please search the DNR website to find additional information such as updated maps, frequently asked questions, and suggestions for ways to submit public comments to the process.

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Move Over, Dow Jones; We’re Investing in Michigan Fisheries


by Sarah Lapshan, Senior Communications Advisor – Michigan DNR Ed Eisch knows fish.

Summer 2022

After 30-plus years working in the state’s fish production program – doing just about every job from technician to hatchery biologist and now overseeing the entire effort – Eisch understands even the smallest details of what it takes to keep the state’s six fish hatcheries humming. Those Michigan Department of Natural Resources sites in Alanson, Beulah, Harrietta, Manistique, Marquette, and Mattawan produce the fish eggs and fry that ultimately stock state lakes, streams, and ponds, complementing natural fish production in these waters. That includes an average of six million to seven million trout and salmon from the DNR’s coldwater facilities each year. Eisch is confident that recent state investment in the fish hatcheries will not only keep the lights on, but also positively influence fisheries. “Replacing roofs, repaving parking lots … some of that stuff isn’t very exciting, but it’s all part of protecting our investment in these facilities,” he said. “Other improvements have a direct impact on the quality and health of fish. Our current feeders are ancient, well past their expected life. Replacing feeders in at least two facilities will give us much better feed conversion rates, more efficient use of our feed dollars. That means bigger, healthier, more robust fish.” All six hatcheries have infrastructure needs, and all are set for some level of improvements – but Wolf Lake in Mattawan probably will see the most changes. One of the biggest is the proposed construction of a new $6 million cool-water facility for rearing walleye and muskie. “This is key because it’s going to allow us to physically separate our cool water rearing from coldwater rearing, and that’s a big biosecurity improvement, especially where viral hemorrhagic septicemia is concerned,” Eisch said. “It will also secure our steelhead rearing even more.” The DNR is looking at biosecurity boosts at several locations: things like recoating the insides of rearing units and adding UV filtration to remove pathogens from the water. “Recoating is important because the old coating starts to peel away, and that creates divots in the units, which make great spots for waste material to collect and for bacteria to grow,” Eisch said. “Recoated rearing units provide cleaner places for fish to thrive.” Some projects include maintenance and replacement of wells, possibly some dredging of ponds – more flow means healthier, fitter fish. Other planned work is more structural. Visitors to the Platte River hatchery in Beulah might see areas where the rebar is

exposed because the concrete is crumbling. These needs must be addressed and fixed now, or else the buildings will face replacement down the road. That’s a much more expensive proposition. The DNR also will target electrical distribution systems for repairs and upgrades, especially at Wolf Lake and Platte. Those systems (each at least 40 years old) have aging components, including switch gears, buried electrical lines that are replaced as they fail, transformers, and motor control centers – big, important components that, in the end, add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. “It’s all critical to securing state fish production,” Eisch said. “Making sure that our electrical distribution systems are performing at peak is something we are committed to investing in.” An eye toward efficiency Investment is everything, but DNR staff always looks for ways to leverage every last dollar. That’s especially true around the fish hatcheries, where, Eisch said, he’s been known to hold things together with “baling wire and duct tape.” Hatchery system utility costs can edge north of a million dollars per year. “Everything we do is done with energy efficiency in mind. Whatever we can do to bring those costs down, so much the better,” he said. “If we’re looking at replacing a pump, for example, the intent is to replace it with a high-efficiency pump that reduces the electrical draw.” A department-wide initiative to identify more energyefficiency opportunities has influenced other changes. Some hatcheries’ heating boilers and other components are being replaced with high-efficiency units to reduce natural gas and propane use. As part of the FY 2022 budget, the department received $2 million in capital outlay funds toward solar energy installations. Five of the six hatcheries will get them. Eisch said he is hopeful the DNR will see a sizable decrease in utility expenditures due to that investment. In the DNR’s overall push for greener operations, the Fisheries Division is right in the mix. A series of upgrades completed last year at the Thompson hatchery in Manistique included a new backup generator, construction of a new cool-water fish production facility, and improvements to the existing facility that will benefit Chinook salmon and steelhead production for decades. At Oden in Alanson, the visitor center already has a solar installation. Though smaller – more of a residential-scale facility – it has significantly reduced expenditures. An electric vehicle

www.michigantu.org charging station is planned there, too, for visitor use as part of the state’s larger campaign this year to place such stations at a dozen state parks (and Oden) along the proposed Lake Michigan EV circuit.

“What these changes will do is secure our level of fish production going forward for decades. It’s going to make us more efficient and our product better and healthier,” he said. “Just putting the fish in the water doesn’t get it done. The fitness of the fish that we stock is critical to the program. We need to know those fish are available to anglers, and they’re catching good, high-quality fish.” A new approach to the Au Sable

To understand where structured decision-making fits in, Claramunt said it all starts with a stream. “If you restore a fish population in a stream, especially in a coldwater stream, the next logical jump is to habitat protection for that stream,” he said. “If the fish don’t have the cold water, woody debris, and water quality, you’re going to be continually restocking that stream. Making that stream self-sustaining is the goal, but to get there, you need to attack the in-stream habitat and the watershed.” The challenge? None of that happens in a vacuum. A change on one branch of the river has implications downstream. In-stream habitat has to be holistic and consider the entire watershed. “A watershed like the Au Sable River is the most dynamic stream in the state,” Claramunt said. “From the headwaters in the North Branch to the main stem through the ‘Holy Waters’ down past Mio Dam where it’s open to Lake Huron – that river changes dramatically, and boy, does it have amazing trout fishing.” Unfortunately, it’s also a river experiencing several threats: thermal changes, climate change, flooding events, and continued sedimentation, threats that aren’t going away. “The question was if we’re going to do habitat restoration or enhancements to improve the resiliency of the Au Sable River – which is, for the most part, a self-sustaining, incredible fishery – how do we pursue that resiliency,” Claramunt said. The rise in challenges, paired with an already overstretched fisheries management staff and a passionate stakeholder base, presented an opportunity to try structured decision-making on the river. “The power behind SDM is that stakeholders – the people who love, use and value the resource – not only help with goals and objectives, but they work with the data and the models right alongside us,” Claramunt said. “It’s not the DNR saying, ‘You can’t look at our models.’ It’s us making sure we are clearly

Who are the decision-makers?

Who are the stakeholders?

What is the scale of our decision?

Are there legal and regulatory contexts to consider?

What variables or unknowns could affect decisionmaking?

The idea isn’t to define a set of actions. Claramunt said that’s a misconception about SDM, that you enter all the data, put in all the actions, and you get back a definitive “Do A, B or C,” and you’re done. “What structured decision-making does, at its best, is identify risks around different actions so you can choose an action and then monitor the results to see what the impact of that decision was. You’re always reassessing. You might discover A, B and C aren’t right, so you move to D. It’s a truly adaptive approach in the sense that it’s meant to have interaction.” Newcomb, who has used the SDM process to address cormorants, grass carp, and salmon goals, agreed. “It’s a great way to get people engaged, to ensure that all voices are heard and that no one entity sways the outcome,” she said. “This project is about a shared vision for a watershed highly valued by many different types of people with different interests. By using contemporary, scientific approaches to understanding landscape processes and how they affect river habitat and fish populations, we can develop an action plan with outcomes that have everyone pulling in the same direction.” And when it comes to the Au Sable River, no one wants to make decisions that are high-risk. The goal, instead, is decisions with a far higher likelihood of reaching desired outcomes. “The Au Sable is an incredibly beautiful, unique, and valuable river. But structured decision-making has never been applied to a river system like this,” Claramunt said. “In my opinion, the Au Sable is the most dynamic river system for coldwater trout. If we can successfully use SDM here, now all of a sudden, we can apply it to the Pine River, to the Cedar River, and to a number of brook trout streams across the UP.” The Au Sable research, hatchery investments, energy upgrades, and work done across all levels of the DNR with support from valued partners are all in service to healthy, worldclass fisheries and the people who love to fish our waters season after season. There is a passion there you won’t find anywhere else. “Avid anglers live, eat, and breathe this stuff,” said fish production manager Eisch. “A number of years ago, my wife was a nurse working with the Area Agency on Aging and did a lot of really great things to help people who are getting older but who want to stay in their homes,” he said. “I started comparing that to what I was doing and began feeling like maybe I’m not making much of an impact here. Then I realized some people wait all week just to hit the water. Michigan fishing is their happy place. It’s salve for their soul. They need to be out there. “It’s pretty cool knowing the work we do at the DNR helps make the experience that much better for them.” For more on how the DNR takes care of state fisheries, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing.

Summer 2022

Randy Claramunt is the DNR’s Lake Huron basin coordinator. He and Tammy Newcomb, DNR senior executive assistant director, are department leads working with Michigan State University experts on structured decision-making and a group of stakeholders representing the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan Trout Unlimited, the North Branch Area Foundation, and fishing groups, among others. The DNR has additional representation from its fisheries, forestry, wildlife, and executive divisions.


Another department initiative seeing success on an iconic Michigan river has the capacity to better position other watersheds and fish populations. More than halfway through a two-year pilot project that applies structured decision-making to assess the resilience of the Au Sable River in the face of existing and emerging threats, results are promising.

The group uses data, population estimates, quantitative measures, values, and qualitative input from the stakeholders and then assesses the risks of different decisions. They’ll consider questions such as:


Eisch said he knows these investments aren’t going to change the number of fish the DNR produces, but they will address needs that have been unmet for a number of years.

explaining the neural network models, the watershed models, and asking the stakeholders for their input on what models and data to use.”

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Groundwater Influence


by Jacob Lemon,TU Monitoring and Community Science Manager

Summer 2022

On a chilly day in March 2022, Trout Unlimited and U.S. Forest Service staff took off on a float trip down the Au Sable River downstream of Mio, Michigan. They were there not to chuck streamers for brown trout but to launch a drone outfitted with a thermal imaging camera that detects variations in temperature of different parts of the river. The team was looking for warm spots that indicated warmer groundwater entering the cold river. These warm spots become cold in the summer, as groundwater temperature remains comparatively stable year-round. TU and the USFS hope to use these data to inform the placement of in-stream habitat enhancements.

With groundwater resources being so crucial to our coldwater fisheries in Michigan, it is imperative that we both protect and understand them. That is why the Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited has put great effort toward safeguarding groundwater resources by supporting regulations that ensure their protection. Bettering our understanding of groundwater will also lead to more effective conservation planning. The temperature of groundwater is less impacted by increasing average air temperatures and thus is an

Stream temperature is the most important factor influencing coldwater fish distribution, such as brook and brown trout. Here in Michigan, the cold water that allows these fish to thrive is primarily the result of groundwater influence. As precipitation hits the land surface, some amount will soak into the ground. A portion of this water will continue downward, recharging groundwater aquifers. Soil is a poor conductor of heat, and if you dig down far enough, you’ll find that soil remains a pretty constant temperature year-round. The slow-moving water is cooled when warmer surface water soaks into the ground and reaches these cooler conditions. In the winter, colder water will meet warmer conditions underground. Days, weeks, months, or years later, this water may be discharged into a stream through seeps, springs, or upwellings at roughly 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. When streamflow comprises a greater amount of groundwater relative to water that enters the stream from the surface, you’ll find more stable temperature conditions — cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter — than streams with less groundwater influence. This supports conditions that enable trout to access cooler water during the warm summer months and warmer conditions in the winter.

USGS map showing modeled groundwater yield for Michigan streams. Purple and dark blue streams have the highest yield. A quick look shows the overlap between high groundwater yield and some of Michigan’s best trout streams.

www.michigantu.org essential source of resiliency to adverse impacts of climate change on coldwater fisheries. Simply put, streams with greater groundwater influence are likely to experience less warming than streams with little groundwater.

TU is a science-driven organization, and we strive to use the best available tools to support conservation planning. In the end, we are working to focus our resources on efforts that will have the maximum benefit to coldwater ecosystems and where those benefits will persist into the future. In Michigan and elsewhere, groundwater is a crucial piece of the puzzle and one we need to understand better.

The Legacy of a River is an amazing gift… Please consider including Michigan Trout Unlimited in your estate plans, trust or will. The legacy you leave will help ensure Michigan’s cold waters and trout live on. Michigan TU has a helpful guide to planned giving options that can both benefit you as well as providing a legacy to coldwater protection. To view this brochure, visit www.michigantu.org/plannedgiving, or request a paper copy from Bryan Burroughs, Executive Director bryanburroughs@michigantu.org

Summer 2022

New methods using these data even allow us to get a sense of the depth of groundwater sources in an area. This is an important consideration, with deeper groundwater less influenced by the air temperature. Starting in 2022, TU staff in Michigan has joined others in Wisconsin, Idaho, Oregon, and California in a pilot project to test these methods and their application. With sensor networks deployed in parts of the White River watershed, we’ll evaluate these approaches to better support the broader implementation of these efforts by TU chapters, staff, and

TU staff in Michigan is working with the US Forest Service Geospatial Technology and Applications Center and Northern Research Station to dial in the best practices for acquiring, processing, and using these images. Our goal is to enable mapping of thermal refugia and groundwater discharges along rivers to aid in siting of in-stream habitat enhancement as well as land protection, stream reconnection efforts, research efforts, etc.


Using paired air and water temperature sensors is an emerging tool for evaluating groundwater influence. At a basic level, by comparing stream temperature data to air temperature data collected nearby, we can understand the relative impact of air temperature on stream temperature versus groundwater and other factors. By deploying networks of paired air and water temperature sensors, we can evaluate groundwater’s relative influence and better understand the stream’s resiliency to increased air temperature.

TU in Michigan is also evaluating thermal infrared cameras (TIR) to map stream temperature in fine scale and identify specific groundwater discharges and thermal refugia. Thermal refugia are areas that maintain a temperature suitable to coldwater organisms, even during the warmer summer months. Often fish seek out these refugia when ambient stream temperatures get too warm. When TIR cameras are mounted to an unmanned aerial system (UAS), or drone, thermal images can be captured showing where groundwater seeps or cold tributaries are creating areas of cold water within a river or stream.


So, we need to understand the distribution and magnitude of groundwater influence to target restoration and protection efforts toward areas likely to persist as coldwater fisheries under future conditions. TU has been evaluating methods for identifying groundwater input and its influence on stream temperature.

partners around the country.

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Michigan TU Chapter Updates

12 Ann Arbor Chapter

Summer 2022

AATU held its first post-Covid fundraiser banquet since 2019 in April and has reinstated classes with local schools on fly tying, casting, and conservation. They held its first in-person group outing in May, a visit to fish Paint Creek, a trout venue fairly close to Ann Arbor but generally unexplored by its members. Paint Creek was primarily created and developed as a trout stream by the Vanguard Chapter and further improved by the Clinton Valley Chapter. AATU did something similar with its local Mill Creek (shown in the photo above) through cooperation with the DNR, thanks to dam removal, ongoing temperature monitoring, and brown trout stocking financed by the chapter and now by the DNR on an ongoing basis. They have already organized a woody debris management team, installed water-wash stations, done bank planting, and worked with local landowners to improve angler access. The chapter is planning more ambitious efforts to improve Mill Creek as a trout fishery via significant habitat improvements. To guide their planning efforts, AATU is benchmarking the work that the Vanguard Chapter did in Paint Creek to share ideas and best practices. Chapter President John Zolan stated, “It is important that TU chapters work together, and we are very encouraged by the willingness of key contributors to similar efforts at the Vanguard Chapter on Paint Creek to help us in our planning process for improving Mill Creek trout habitat. This epitomizes how Michigan TU is supposed to work!” Leon P. Martuch Chapter The Leon P. Martuch Chapter had another successful year of providing support for a number of local Salmon in the Classroom programs. This program is a great opportunity for kids to learn about the life cycle of fish species. It can also be a bittersweet lesson in how pivotal environmental conditions are to healthy fish populations. In 2016, LPMTU was gifted a plot of land along the Cedar River. Due to TU’s land ownership policy, the chapter chose to, in turn, hand over ownership of the

Compiled by Joe Barker

land to a local group, Little Forks Conservancy. The chapter maintains a riparian easement on the property, effectively giving LPMTU control of the river and LFC control of the surrounding land. So far, it has proven to be a great model. The chapter can rely on the expertise and workforce of LFC to steward the land and use their own skills to improve the river. LFC hosted a dedicated ribboncutting event in 2021 to officially open the preserve and recognize George and Sue Lane’s incredible gift. The Cedar River is the primary conservation focus of LPMTU. Beyond the two properties on which they hold easements, they also monitor some of the public river portions. In May 2021, the chapter placed or replaced several temperature loggers along the river. They will collect the data and transfer it to the DNR as needed. Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter In the early 1970s, the George Mason Chapter (now known as Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter) created an informal agreement with the city of Grayling to manage the East Branch of the Au Sable River below the fish hatchery as a kids-only fishing area. Signage for this informal designation was placed at the end of Connie Drive by TU, but no other action was taken to promote this family-friendly angling opportunity. The chapter has done insect surveys in this area for years and identified the tremendous potential to provide a quality angling experience for the community and visitors who wish to fish for trout in a non-technical environment. The township and county have also identified the potential for Grayling to develop a nature trail system for the community, visitors, and students in this area. MGFTU is stepping up to rehabilitate this 1.25 miles of the East Branch. Permits were received in late August 2021 and a Fisheries Habitat Grant in May 2022. River habitat work will begin this summer to construct 27 sites, including four fishing platforms. This section of the Au Sable behind the hospital, elementary school, and library will have easy parking and access within walking distance from the center of Grayling, providing enhanced opportunities for family recreational activities. This project also complements a current MITU project to restore

www.michigantu.org connectivity of the upper East Branch via a bypass of the dam at the fish hatchery.


Schrems West Michigan


The Schrems Chapter is coming off a very successful banquet fundraiser and putting the funds raised to good use this summer. They currently have conservation efforts in the Rogue, Coldwater, White, Muskegon, Prairie Creek, and Buck Creek watersheds. The scope of these projects ranges from volunteer stream clean-ups, tree plantings, temperature, mayfly monitoring, debris removal, and bank stabilization. Unfortunately, the spring clean-up on the White River was canceled due to high water and unsafe conditions. Schrems is looking forward to the fall clean-up in September for the White River, followed by a member event in Whitehall. More details to come as they finalize these plans. Watershed planning efforts continue on the Coldwater, White, and Muskegon Rivers for large-scale projects partnering with many organizations from the state and local levels.

Summer 2022

The chapter held a “State of the Trout” event at Creston Brewing, hosting MITU Executive Director Bryan Burroughs and Work on the Pere Marquette River. DNR Director Dan Eichinger. This well-attended event allowed members to discuss important issues in a relaxed, informal chapter will be giving back to the local community with their “Adopt-a-Road” clean-up efforts in the next month. setting. Both guest speakers gave excellent presentations PMTU has adopted all roads leading to the popular Green and were available for Q&A afterward. Cottage landing on the Pere Marquette. The annual Cast and Blast event is coming up on July The Trout Opener was a great day on the river and for 13. This event is held by Schrems and The Ruffed Grouse PMTU. The chapter’s annual Stealthcraft/Ruimveld boat Society at Kent County Conservation Club. This fun-filled raffle sold out 250 tickets in less than an hour, beating event brings both groups together to raise funds for the everyone’s high expectations. They anticipate another chapter’s youth education efforts and is always a great raffle next year. In another fundraising activity, the chapter time. The Women on the Water weekend event is held at will host a fall banquet in late September or early October Pere Marquette River Lodge from July 8 through 10th. this year, marking the first large get-together since Covid. Pere Marquette Chapter The Pere Marquette Chapter has had a busy 2022 thus far. “The Cove” project began June 14 after many months of planning, permitting, and approvals. Located just upstream from the fourth clay bank in the popular flies-only section of the Pere Marquette River, the project is a bank stabilization, fish enhancement, and restoration project. Work should be completed within a week. The

The chapter’s board of directors has expanded with some great new action-oriented members bringing new ideas and perspectives to the chapter. The new board had a half-day planning session in early June to agree on three main goals for the upcoming year: working on three river projects, increasing membership, and continuing successful fundraising. Tactical plans are in the works for each goal.

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Lunker Stream Trout in the Daylight


by Jim Bedford

Summer 2022

When most anglers think about catching lunker streamresident browns in Michigan, they immediately conjure up a humid night in late June on a good-sized stream with a good population of Hexagenia mayflies. Other burrowing mayflies, like the brown drake, can also fill the bill. If you would rather catch 20-inch brown trout in the daylight, don’t despair. These ultra wary trout also can be lured out of cover during the day. It does help if there is cloud cover and the stream level is up some with good color or what I like to describe as just the right amount of mystery. Our storied large trout streams like the Manistee, Au Sable, Pere Marquette, and Pine Rivers are famous for producing large brown trout, especially when the big mayflies are hatching. But you may find it surprising that many small streams grow trout that reach or exceed the magical 20-inch mark. In my 55+ years of hardcore Michigan trout fishing, I have entered over 600 20-plusinch brown trout in my logbook, but I have never caught one in any of the rivers mentioned above. It would seem that small streams and creeks would be the home only to small to mediumsized brown trout. However, this is definitely not the case. Trout can grow just as large in nutrient-rich creeks as in large rivers if they have enough cover. Food from the bank augments the aquatic insects and other invertebrates produced in the stream.

trout in a hole, but they generally prefer to be under a log or logjam, an undercut bank, or overhanging vegetation. Because predatory birds like herons and kingfishers are the trout’s main enemies, they try not to be visible from above. Of course, they will expose themselves when feeding, but most of the time, you are better off casting to areas where you couldn’t see the trout if it was present. To be successful in catching large trout in small streams, you must be sneaky. Not ever betraying your presence to the trout is the most important key to consistently catching them. This is best accomplished by quietly wading in an upstream direction. The fish are always facing the flow and can see in all directions except directly behind. If you fish downstream, you quickly alert the trout visually, and any sound you make wading is transmitted further with the current. Some sand or silt will join your wake in preceding you in a downstream direction in most

While cover and food are essential to the survival and growth of all trout, good overhead protection is especially important to trout in smaller streams. A solid roof over their head is almost always preferred over water depth, probably because most of the time, the runs and holes in clear creeks are not deep enough to hide the browns and brookies. Author admires a trophy creek brown. A riffled surface will help hide a

www.michigantu.org creeks. Some anglers like to fish streams from the bank, but this makes you even more visible, and the vibrations from footfalls are especially alarming to trout.

In addition to presenting the lure in the direction that trout usually look for food, upstream casts followed by downstream retrieves help keep your lure near the bottom. Even so, cross-stream casts, especially in front of logjams or brush piles, are also great trout catchers when you can sneak up on the brown’s lair.

While you can probably negotiate the majority of the water in small streams wearing hip boots, you will be much better off donning waders. There will always be a few places that require waders, and these deep stretches are also likely to hold many trout. In addition, there will be many spots where you want to be on your knees when making your presentation to avoid spooking the trout. Early in the season or after significant rain events, small streams are often a better choice than large rivers for several reasons. They clear quickly after spring rains and become fishable long before rivers get in shape. Creeks also warm faster when we have a cold night.

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Pick a fine diameter, premium monofilament to maximize the strength yet have an almost invisible connection to your rod. No matter what your terminal tackle is, constantly check your knot strength and the line near the hook or lure for abrasions. Clipping off the last foot or two and retying often is a good idea as it keeps your line at maximum strength. This compensates for using a non-abrasion-resistant line and allows you to use a stronger six or eight-pound test instead of a thick four-pound test line with high abrasion resistance. Fly anglers can catch large trout during the day by casting and stripping streamers that imitate fish and crayfish. Land your streamer near trout holding cover, and then make like it is trying to escape by stripping it back to you. Just like with lures, watch your streamer as you strip it. Staying stealthy is more demanding when using fly line, but fish sneakily in an upstream direction. The trout will focus on your streamer, so long, very light leaders will not be needed. Master the roll cast as it will often be required

J. A. Henry Rod & Reel Co. is a small Michigan business and proud developer of the Two-Hearted Fly Rod - a rod designed specifically for navigating the streams and small rivers of Northern Michigan, targeting brook trout and angling for panfish. The rod is packaged in a hand-crafted case from reclaimed Michigan barn wood; a nod to the fly fishing pioneers of the late 19th century.

Summer 2022

While lures are designed to represent food, their flash and vibration appeal to the trout’s curiosity. For this reason, it pays to cover lots of water so that as many trout as possible will see your spinner or plug. Fishing from bridge to bridge or from one access site to another allows you to show your lure to fish that see fewer anglers. Try to land your lure upstream of the suspected lie so the retrieve will bring it past the waiting brown or brook trout. Don’t fret if this is not always possible, though, as the plop in the water next to a trout’s hideout can be like the hopper, beetle, or other terrestrial food items that trigger an immediate strike.

Even though most trout creeks have good aquatic insect populations, it always pays to be ready with the ants, hoppers, and beetles if there is no hatch. Terrestrial imitations, along with streamers that imitate local baitfish and crayfish, are always a good idea when you are exploring a new creek and don’t know what the trout are feeding on.


Casting small spinners and spoons, jigs, and crankbaits in the 1/16 to 1/8 ounce range is an excellent way to draw browns and brookies out of their dark lairs. Accurate casting is essential when fishing lures for trout, even though they will pull trout out of cover. In small brushy streams and creeks, your challenge is often hitting the water because the trout range the whole small pool. Where there is more room, it is still best to make sure your first cast lands in the stream and then try to get closer to the cover with subsequent casts. You don’t want to spoil the hole by getting hung up trying to get too close to the overhanging bush or undercut bank on the first cast.

Your spinning tackle can be used to cast flies. Some weighted nymphs and streamers can be thrown with a very light line, and a bubble can be used to present dry flies, lighter streamers, and unweighted nymphs. Tie the bubble onto the end of the line, and the fly or flies off of droppers. This allows the flies to precede the bubble when you cast the rig upstream.


So keep a low profile and make the longest casts possible using polarized sunglasses to see the troutholding cover and see if a brown comes out to inspect your offering. Casting over logs and other cover pays dividends even if you are likely to hang up on the retrieve. Often, the trout will intercept it first, and if you wait until you get up to the log, the trout may detect your presence and not hit.

in smaller streams.

Michigan Trout Unlimited


by Michigan TU’s Conservation Committee

Summer 2022

Michigan Trout Unlimited recently adopted a new policy regarding stocking splake in Lake Superior. This article introduces our members to the policy and explains its rationale. Splake are a cross between lake trout and brook trout. However, unlike many hybrid crosses between two different species, the splake currently stocked are reproductively viable and interbreed back with lake and brook trout. Also, their appearance can vary, and they sometimes look quite similar to lake or brook trout, making accurate identification challenging. Splake stocking started in the 1970s as high sea lamprey populations contributed to an increased downturn in many lake trout populations. It was hoped that perhaps a fastergrowing hybrid might perform better than the long-lived, slow-growing lake trout. As it turned out, splake often spent considerable time in nearshore areas and created a unique fishing opportunity as coaster brook trout populations had long been dwindling to low levels. In the following decades, however, Lake Superior lake trout were restored to healthy and sustainable levels. Still, stocking of splake in Lake Superior waters continued, perhaps because of the local popularity as a nearshore fishery. Lake Superior is home to several strains of native lake trout, many with specialized adaptations to unique habitats within the lake. Unlike Lakes Michigan and Huron, the native stocks of lake trout were not extirpated in Superior and persist today. Coaster brook trout, brook trout that migrate between streams and the Great Lakes, however, remain at low levels compared with historical accounts. It’s thought that quite a few factors contributed to their decline. Coasters remain present, from well-known populations in the Salmon-Trout River and Isle Royale to lesser-known occurrences in places like the Pictured Rocks shoreline or the Pilgrim River, to even lesser-known occurrences reported in many different areas by anglers lucky enough to catch them. However, there is much we still do not know about coasters and need to if we are to bring them back to healthy fishable numbers. We need to learn more about the role of genetics and the basis of their migratory behaviors. We also need to embark on diligent efforts to understand better their habitat needs and preferences and their current status and distribution. The Michigan DNR is also working through a long-term research project to assess the degree to which conservative harvest regulations might foster an increased abundance of coaster brook trout. While enjoyed by many, splake poses several risks of negative impact to lake and coaster brook trout. First, their ability to interbreed with either poses the potential for genetic introgression, which can negatively alter the genetic makeup

of the wild lake trout and coaster brook trout (with possible consequences for their fitness and adaptability). There is already evidence of splake using brook and lake trout spawning grounds, and more work is targeted to confirm the extent to which inter-breeding has already occurred. Second, splake, similar in behavior to both lake and brook trout, act as competitors. More information is needed to understand the extent fully, but splake overlap in habitats and eat similar prey. Lastly, there are concerns with the misidentification of splake, lake trout, and brook trout. In Lake Superior, the minimum size limit for brook trout is 20” (to help protect and foster coaster brook trout), and only one may be kept per day (waters around Isle Royale are catch and release). However, the minimum length for splake is 15”, and three splake may be harvested. Therefore, if an angler misidentifies a coaster brook trout as a splake, it results in overharvesting coaster brook trout. There has been growing concern among resource managers and conservation groups over the potential negative impacts that splake stocking in Lake Superior waters may have on the recovery of the wild lake and brook trout populations. The Great Lakes Fish Commission’s Lake Superior Technical Committee (LSTC) recently released a document synthesizing scientific research and natural resource agency data to assess these potential impacts. The report also identified research needs that will better our understanding of risks that splake may pose to lake and brook trout populations. Some of the key points are: 1.

Splake backcrossing with lake and brook trout is likely, due to the fertility of splake and the overlap in spawning locations and timing. Thus, splake stocking risks the recovery and long-term viability of lake and brook trout populations. Little evidence exists that introgression has occurred; however, there has been little research.


Splake may impact lake and brook trout through ecological dynamics such as competition or predation; however, little research has addressed these interactions.


Harvest of splake is low relative to the number stocked.


Misidentification of splake may be common given the morphological overlap with lake and brook trout. This results in the harvest of brook trout less than the 20-inch minimum on many Michigan waters of Lake Superior and tributaries.

Based on the information presented in this document and the sound rationale behind the risks identified, it is the position

Photo credit: Captain Travis White, Keweenaw Charters


Michigan TU’s New Policy on Lake Superior Splake Stocking



of Michigan TU that splake stocking in Lake Superior be ended or at least significantly reduced until critical data is obtained regarding the impacts of splake on the wild lake and brook trout populations. While ongoing and future studies may indicate the effects are minimal, we feel that it is not worth continuing to put valuable wild populations at risk until sufficient research is carried out.


Photo by Captain Travis White, Keweenaw Charters

Risk: Genetic introgression of splake in lake and brook trout populations reduces fitness and hinders recovery. Action 1. Cease splake stocking in Michigan waters of Lake Superior. Action 2. Reduce splake stocking in areas in close proximity to remnant coaster brook trout populations.


Risk: Unintentional harvest of coaster brook trout less than 20 inches due to misidentification. Action 1. Increase the minimum size limit on splake to 20 inches. Action 2. Implement a 100% mark (adipose clip) on stocked splake.


Risk: Costs associated with raising and stocking splake are disproportionate to the anglers utilizing the fishery, and the “return-to-creel” investment of splake stocking has previously been reported by the DNR as low (costly). Action 1. Reallocate resources from raising and stocking splake to habitat restoration projects to improve wild fish populations. Action 2. Replace splake stocking with coaster brook trout stocking.

Efforts to stock coaster brook trout have been minimal and overall unsuccessful. Many of the attempts on Lake Superior’s south shore used brood stock from other locations, such as Isle Royale. We believe that coaster stocking should be revisited, and the use of local wild stocks be considered. If successful, these populations may become self-sustaining, not require annual stocking, and could once again provide the nearshore fishery that splake intended to augment. Research Needs Introgression of Splake in Lake and Brook Trout Populations Assessing the genetic introgression of splake into wild brook and lake trout populations may be the most critical data needed at this point. We understand that analyses are underway at Michigan State University in collaboration with USFWS, DNR, and Michigan Tech University. This work will determine if splake

genetics are present in samples identified as a lake or brook trout in field surveys. Continuing regular assessments of genetic material sampled from wild fish will be necessary for monitoring the potential introgression of splake with wild populations. Extent of Splake Migration Our understanding is that the DNR is beginning a project using alternating fin clips to identify where recaptured splake were planted, thus providing information on the extent to which these fish may migrate after stocking. We are in full support of this project. Currently, an extensive network of acoustic receivers is deployed throughout Michigan waters of Lake Superior. Implanting a sample of stocked splake with acoustic tags may provide additional and essential data on migrations and not require that the fish be physically recaptured. Existing Coaster Brook Trout Populations With regard to coaster brook trout, we know relatively little about where remnant populations exist. Identifying these locations is critical but is challenging given the environmental conditions and remoteness of many tributaries potentially supporting coasters. Exploring the use of newer technologies, such as remote sensing with cameras or environmental DNA detection, may help identify existing populations. Based on existing information, Michigan TU feels that splake stocking in Lake Superior should be ceased or significantly reduced because of the potential impacts on the wild lake and brook trout recovery. Critical data needs should be addressed in the coming years to understand better how splake may or may not negatively affect recovery efforts. We recognize the challenges associated with altering an established fish stocking program that provides an opportunity for some recreational anglers. Hopefully, as anglers become more aware of the potential impact of splake, support for the actions outlined will increase. We believe that decisions should be made based on the best available scientific data, and Michigan TU fully supports obtaining information needed to give managers the best chance at restoring self-sustaining wild lake and brook trout populations in Lake Superior and tributaries in Michigan.

Summer 2022

Risks & Proposed Actions


We understand that a segment of recreational anglers feel strongly that splake stocking continue, and this likely includes a portion of Michigan TU membership. Splake provide an important nearshore fishery in several locations within Michigan waters of Lake Superior. With this in mind, our policy offers a suite of actions that may reduce the potential negative impacts of splake on lake and brook trout populations while still providing a productive nearshore fishery.

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Learned Methods to Land More Trophies


by Jac Ford, Country Anglers

Summer 2022

My passion for acquiring knowledge about fly fishing continues even after seventy years. I’m absorbing more knowledge every day on the water by reading, listening, watching, and experimenting—mostly on the water while fishing or guiding. After decades of fishing, teaching in classrooms, and mentoring on the water, I wanted to pass on some of my acquired knowledge by authoring my book, The View from the Middle Seat, Lessons Learned from a Life-Time of Guiding. Time on the water and pure luck catch fish every day, but fly anglers with the most knowledge and techniques in their quiver increase their probabilities of achieving success exponentially. The first six chapters in my book relate to chasing trophies with streamers. All the streamer chapters are important, but at times performing varied retrieves during different conditions, streamers, and trophy venues will get any fly angler more immediate results. Fly anglers focusing only on selling their streamers to fish will attract trophies, but with proper rod and line control during the retrieve, more opportunities for more hook-ups occur and ultimately more in the net. To maximize the effectiveness of the retrieve and provide more than trophy fish attractions, the retrieve must create the opportunity for a fly line to become completely relaxed of tension during its pause. Why Retrieves Are of Most Importance First, let me make this clear; a lot of different retrieves catch fish. Many streamer anglers have read about and adopted the Linsenman/Galloup retrieve as a result of their valued book, Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout, or have been lucky enough to have been guided by Bob or Kelly. In recent years after Linsenman retired from guiding, I took over one of Bob’s favorite clients. During our inaugural float together, Godfry confirmed his past experiences with Bob in just a few retrieves: a slightly upstream cast with downstream rod tip twitches for action and only retrieving line when required. The rod tip creates pause and action, one of the best methods for attracting trophy fish. This being our first float, I asked Godfry, “What’s the largest trophy brown you ever caught with Bob?” He quickly replied, “Well, I’ve caught a few larger, but I caught a 29 ¼ incher with Bob.” That reply quickly blew the air out

of my sails. My immediate thought was, well, I won’t be impressing him today or maybe any other day. My next thought was should I change his retrieve? The answer to that question was simple: not now! Maybe not ever. Godfry is now 87 and during a recent float with me landed a solid 25-inch male brown with that same retrieve. Another great book that a good friend, George Daniels, authored, Strip Set, has much to offer relative to streamer fishing. George includes retrieving with a strong emphasis on strip setting as the trophy eats the streamer—another important technique. I could go on with other examples that work, but for the last decade, I have experimented to find ways of improving the retrieve in streamer presentation, pause, and the critical hook set process. In other words, how can I get more trophies in my client’s net? After months of fishing, guiding trips, and much experimentation through trial and error, I concluded that the retrieve process could improve the number of chases, eats, hook-ups, and fish in the net. Yes, the retrieve is that important. To improve results relative to enhancing the depth control of the line, movement of the streamer, and improve the rate of tight-line connections between the rod (rod must be pointed at the steamer), line, and streamer during the hook-set process, I refined the rod-hand-elbow and strip-hand-elbow technique. This technique involves using the rod-hand-elbow and the strip-hand-elbow moving back and forth, simultaneously tightening and loosening the line as the retrieve process occurs. The steps to this retrieve process begin: 1.

After reaching the hands out in front of the body, with your left hand, place the line under the index finger of your rod hand.


Pull back both elbows and hands simultaneously— the left to strip the line and the rod hand to retrieve the line and move the rod backward.


Once your hands are spaced at the desired length, drop the line in your left hand, grasp it close to the rod, and strip again. Repeat continuously at various speeds and lengths as desired.

What happens during this retrieving process is incredible: •

You have better control and increased distance and

www.michigantu.org speed of the movement of the streamer.

As the hands move forward to the front of the body, so does the rod tip, reel, and line creating slack in the line off the rod tip.

The slack in the line allows the line to sink deeper into the water and relax. As the line relaxes, the tension in the line, tippet, and streamer disappears, allowing an increased pause. Without tension in the streamer, it is free to move about—dance, swing, and dip.

I have a lot of confidence in this strip-set retrieve method as it enhances the streamer’s action by decreasing the tension in the fly line, which in turn relaxes the fly. Equally as important, it increases the probability of hooking trophies as the monster sucks the fly into its mouth—the rod and strip hands are pulling backward simultaneously in the strip-set mode. The hook is buried into the fish’s jaw with no cognitive reaction required. An example of this retrieve facilitating the hook set is as follows: My client came to target trophy browns on the famed trophy water on the Au Sable River here in Michigan. During the first five hours of drift fishing, Kevin’s streamer turned the heads of a half-dozen worthy fish, but he didn’t seal the deal on any of them. Not hooking up on any of the trophies was beginning to wear on both of us, especially since a couple of them approached within two feet. Kevin asked, “What am I doing wrong?” My reply: “Kevin, don’t let it get to you.” The conditions were perfect, the bite was on, and the casting was on the mark. We waited in anticipation, as each line cast felt as if it was the one going to get a trophy. Still, we were missing so many. What makes a fish miss a streamer? •

Tail droop or too much tail swing in articulated streamers, causing the hook points to be pointed in the wrong direction at impact.

Hooks too close together, the front hook blocs the point of the rear hook.

Dull hook points.

Fish miss as the fly is stripped away.

Fish eating a moving target, caused by not having long enough pause between strips.

That’s It! Kevin had quick hands. His straight-line strip looked good, but were the pauses long enough? After watching his streamer as it was retrieved several times, it was apparent. Literally, too minimal of a pause. I released the boat anchor to the river’s bottom. “Kevin, we need to change your retrieve. I do not think your streamer’s pause is long enough. Your quick hands are causing the streamer to briefly hesitate but not pause.”

As we went around an inside bend on the right side of the river and began fishing the slack water, an incredible shadow came out of the depths downstream of the streamer. This monster met the streamer at one of its pauses, and the strip-set retrieve hooked the brown the instant his mouth closed. It torpedoed downstream and jumped. Kevin gained control by stripping the line, eventually bringing the fish to the right side of the boat. The first time this monster came into the net, it jumped three feet out of the net and back into the river and, still hooked, tore downstream again. When the line was eventually stripped in, Kevin brought the fish under control on the other side of the boat and back into the net. We took both hooks out of his jaw and measured the fish at twentyseven and a quarter inches. Jac’s Retrieve Tips 1.

As weather and water type vary, so must the retrieve.


When the water temperature drops, the trophy’s energy slows, and so must the retrieve.


As the water temperature increases, the speed of the retrieve gradually increases as well.


After a brief or long pause, the rod hand then moves toward the line/streamer, and the fly line relaxes, allowing it to sink deeper.


As the line is relaxed and sinking, the leader and streamer are free from tension, enhancing the movement of the streamer and the ability of the trophy to suck it back deeper into the mouth as it eats—the number of hooked trophies increases as the fly is further into the fish’s mouth.


The strip-set retrieve creates a relaxed line that will drop deeper, getting the streamer into the fish’s water column.


As the leader loses tension, so does the streamer enhancing its ability to move freely, and as the length in time of the pause of the streamer increases, the ability for the fish to engulf and swallow the streamer increases as well.

Summer 2022

When a trophy eats a relaxed streamer fly, it is sucked back into the mouth—a streamer with tension cannot be sucked in.

It was getting near the ninth inning and not another chase; it was wearing on Kevin. I said, “Kevin, remember why we chose the trophy water. We are not here to see many fish, but the ones that show themselves will be worthy of our efforts. Stay on your game. It looks like the lack of follows is getting you down.”


As you retrieve/strip the line back simultaneously with both elbows and hands, it’s the same beginning action of the strip set technique. Therefore, all that’s required is the follow-through (accelerating as far back as the body allows the hands to go, then swinging the rod tip to the side and powering the bend in the rod).


I had him watch me demonstrate the strip-set retrieve. “With this retrieve, every time you strip by pulling both hands and elbows back, pausing, and then coming forward again with both hands, the rod moves toward the line in the water, forming a loop at the end of the rod tip. In essence, each retrieve that moves the streamer to provide action is a strip set too. You hook the fish without having to do anything special. The loop releases tension in the line, ultimately providing a pause in the movement of the streamer. This gives the predator time to move to the fly and eat it. Without tension in the leader, the streamer is sucked back into the trophy’s mouth. Then as the stripset repeats, without thinking, the trophy is automatically hooked solid. That looks good, Kevin.”

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Terrestrial Time


by Ann R. Miller

Summer 2022

As June begins to wane and mid-summer is imminent, aquatic hatches of mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies diminish. Dry fly and nymph fishing for these insects wraps up for another year for anglers. Fish rely heavily on aquatic macroinvertebrates for food for the first half of the year, but once they have hatched, the immature stages are generally slow-growing and not as available as fish food. Some smaller insects such as Tricos, Baetid mayflies, and Dipterans (true flies) have multiple broods during the year (multivoltine) and provide a steady supply of tiny nymphs and larvae. Warmer waters during the summer mean that trout will be active and growing, and additional food is necessary, especially for larger fish. Supplemental food in the form of terrestrial insects suddenly becomes essential in the trout’s diet. While aquatic insects spend at least a portion of their life cycle under water, terrestrial insects are completely land borne and only accidentally end up in the water. Terrestrial insects tend to mature later in the summer, and as they fly or crawl near creeks or rivers, hungry trout can eat them if they errantly land in the water. Studies have documented that in some rivers, terrestrial insects can account for more than 50% of the trout’s diet from late summer to early fall.

intercept one dangling from its tether. Caterpillars that end up in the water will float for some distance but eventually will sink and drown, so patterns that imitate them can be fished both wet and dry. Ballooning is a behavior common with other types of caterpillars as well. Terrestrial insects have a seasonality, and while they aren’t called hatches, activity varies throughout summer and early fall. Beetles are so bountiful that they are common throughout the summer and early fall. Ants actively foraging along tree branches or brush fall into the water daily. However, at certain times of the year, the nests produce alates or winged adults that will go forth and propagate new colonies. Males and females will fly away from the nest and mate; the males will die soon after, while the females will either begin a new colony or become part of an established colony. Termites have similar flights, and rivers that run through forested areas can have both insects. Typically, these flights are in July and August, but I have witnessed a flight in late March. Always stash a few ants and beetles in your fly boxes from the spring onward.

Many terrestrial insects are capable flyers, but some prefer crawling or jumping, while others are incapable of flying. Weather can play a role in knocking insects into the water: hot summers are often accompanied by windy afternoons or violent thunderstorms, which can contribute to displacing an insect. A keen eye or a handy net seine will help an angler on the water to determine which terrestrial insects may have recently become river victims. Different life cycle stages of a terrestrial insect are sometimes more important than another in a trout’s diet. For example, little green inchworms, sometimes called looper caterpillars, are the immature stage of the Geometridae moths. The caterpillars feed on a cornucopia of greenery, including shrubs, trees, flowers, grasses, and more. The Geometer caterpillars move by stretching their front legs forward and drawing up their rear ends using their anal prolegs, forming a loop (or inching along) in the process. They are known to lower themselves from foliage using a silk tether, ballooning around on windy days. This behavior is especially prevalent just prior to their pupation, which takes place on the ground. Inchworms found on plant life along a river are susceptible to being eaten by trout, and it is Gypsy Moths. not uncommon to see a trout jump out of the water to

www.michigantu.org fishing makes good sense, but because of surprises, I also like to keep a few with my seasonal aquatic hatch boxes. A couple of ants, bees, beetles, inchworms, and true flies (such as the deerfly or snipe fly) take up little room and might save the day on the river. Ann Miller is the author of Hatch Guide for Midwest Streams (Frank Amato Publications, 2011; ISBN -13: 9781-57188-481-7; $29.95). Her book is currently out of print but an updated version, Pocket Guide for Upper Midwest Streams (Stackpole Books, ISBN 978-0-8117-7232-7), will be published in January, 2023.


In some years, there are natural occurrences of insect emergences, such as was recently witnessed with the Brood X Cicada. While Michigan did not seem to have many anticipated noisemakers, other states to our south and east did, and warm water fishing with a cicada was epic. Invasive species have periodic outbreaks, such as the widespread Gypsy Moth, now renamed the Spongy Moth. While armies denuded trees of caterpillars, many anglers experienced some of their best trout fishing with imitations of the larvae and patterns of the adult male moth. Males take flight in search of females, laden with eggs and largely sedentary on nearby trees.

Summer 2022

Keeping a separate fly box with terrestrials for summer

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It should be no surprise that habitat is important in determining which terrestrial insect might contribute to a fish’s diet. Rivers traversing open grasslands or farmland will have more grasshoppers than streams flowing through a forest. Here, crickets will be more prevalent. The life cycles of crickets and hoppers are hemimetabolous, which means metamorphosis is incomplete, and growth is gradual from the first molt to the adult. In other words, baby hoppers look pretty much like adult hoppers but without reproductive equipment and functioning wings. Both insects will be found along waterways all summer but will get bigger as the season progresses. Male grasshoppers become very jumpy prior to mating, snapping their legs together to make noise and leaping or flying to some heights into the air. It is easy to imagine how they can inadvertently end up in the river on windy afternoons.

9/30/2021 11:34:29 AM

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Interview with TU Great Lakes Engagement Coordinator Jamie Vaughan 1.

Summer 2022

What is your position with TU, how long have you held the position, and how did you come to be hired for the position?

I stepped into the role of Great Lakes Engagement Coordinator in the fall of 2021 after working on the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative since 2014. As a project manager on the Rogue River, which is just north of populous Grand Rapids, community engagement was always a focal point of the initiative. I followed in the footsteps of current Great Lakes Habitat Program Manager Nichol De Mol, who began the initiative in 2010 and always prioritized bringing local partners and members into our work wherever possible. We grew to really enjoy and advance TU’s engagement work in ways that were innovative and applicable across the organization. With TU’s strengthened focus on engagement with the launching of our new strategic plan, I had the opportunity to take what I’ve learned and practiced in West Michigan and bring it to the larger Great Lakes region, where I will now be working closely with our staff, council, and chapters to augment and improve engagement on a greater scale. 2.

What is your background in terms of education and experience?

I graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Earth Science and Specialization in Urban Planning. I began working with Nichol on the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative as an intern in 2014, where I learned the ins and outs of watershed management and got experience in everything from citizen science and fieldwork, organizing river clean-ups and river expeditions, and partnering with local schools to install rain gardens to manage stormwater runoff. The work was exciting, varied, and wideranging, and it was the perfect opportunity to cut my teeth in the dynamic field of coldwater conservation.


What was it that made you interested in working for TU?

Having grown up in the city of Chicago with little exposure to outdoor recreation, fly fishing was a foreign thing to me when I started as an intern with TU, but I had a love for the Great Lakes and protecting our freshwater resources, so the mission resonated with me and I was excited to be a part of a team working to improve our precious natural areas, not just for the trout but for local communities as well. Since my time as an intern, I’ve grown as a conservationist and an angler and wholeheartedly enjoy working for and representing an organization that believes in an inclusive, collaborative approach to coldwater conservation. 4.

Describe your position and responsibilities?

As the Great Lakes Engagement Coordinator, I am working closely with our project managers in Michigan and Wisconsin and helping identify opportunities for engagement within their projects for chapters, members, and community members to get involved. Those may be tree plantings at sites where there was a road-stream

www.michigantu.org crossing improvement or collecting citizen science data to better help us prioritize future restoration practices. We are collectively looking for new and innovative ways to engage not only TU members but the larger community into our work that care about clean water and resilient communities. What has been your involvement in the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative? What have been the accomplishments with the Initiative, and what are the future plans?





I’ve helped lead the initiative for the past nine years, and over that time, it has grown organically into new watersheds with programs like STREAM Girls and the Tree Army, which originated on the Rogue River. We began the STREAM Girls program in 2017 with one camp in West Michigan. Flash forward to this year – we will have six STREAM Girls Camps run by six different partners and chapters from Grand Rapids to Detroit, providing high-quality environmental education and recreation opportunities for girls from three of Michigan’s top five most diverse counties.

Summer 2022

We are equally proud of the Rogue River Tree Army, which we began in 2019 and have recently expanded to include riparian tree plantings in the Muskegon, White, and Pere Marquette River watersheds. This spring, we celebrated planting our 50,000th tree! We are slowing down work in the Rogue River watershed as we look to invest more time and resources in our Shared Priority Waters in the coming years, but we feel confident that we’ve built capacity in many strong stakeholders from the local chapter to watershed organizations, educators, and students, who will carry on our efforts in this special watershed. 6.

Any other activities that you are involved in your position?

I am also working to build up our network of Great Lakes advocates so we can have an informed and trained cohort of supporters ready to act when we need voices for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative or protecting against invasive carp. We are also working closely with the Michigan TU Council to support Michigan-specific issues like managing aquatic invasive species. We recently hosted a Great Lakes Advocacy 101 Training, and if you’d like a recording of that, please feel free to reach out to me at jamie.vaughan@tu.org. 7.

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Do you have a message for our TU members?

My message to TU members is that there are so many pathways to get involved with and support TU based on your interests and strengths, whether that’s participating in hands-on restoration projects, volunteering to help with youth programs, collecting data while you’re out fishing, getting involved in advocacy, or lending your photography or social media skills. Our staff and chapters are always hoping to bring more members into the fold, and we welcome you to reach out and get involved. I guarantee you we’ve got a job for you!

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Michigan Trout Unlimited


by Dr. Karen Murchie, Director of Freshwater Research, Shedd Aquarium Dr. Pete McIntyre, Associate Professor, Cornell University

Summer 2022

Dubbed the “wildebeests of the Great Lakes,” suckers are the most abundant migratory fishes in the region and are familiar to every trout angler. In the spring, these animals make incredible migrations from the Great Lakes into tributaries of all sizes to spawn. Typically, 2-3 male suckers gather around a ripe female, and in the act of spawning, they all vibrate intensely, releasing a cloud of milt and eggs. Some fertilized eggs stick to rocks while others drift downstream to settle in sandy ridges with sticks and leaf debris, or they become food for many other species. There is no mistaking when suckers are present to spawn because their numbers can often turn a tributary into a symphony of splashing. These annual and extraordinary events not only sustain sucker populations but also support trout in many ways. Sucker nutrients feed aquatic insects, which feed trout. As suckers spawn, nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are released into tributaries from eggs, milt, and excretory products. The spring timing of these nutrient pulses is akin to the first meal after long winter hibernation. This nutrient pulse jumpstarts the food web, resulting in increased algal growth and larger caddisfly larva for trout to eat. Suckers basically supersize the food options for trout, and who doesn’t love a free upgrade!?! More caloric content per bite is a win for any fish and can add up to an even bigger catch on the end of a line. Sucker eggs are eaten by trout. Speaking of caloric content, there is no bigger bang per bite than a nutrient-dense fish egg. Fish eggs are designed to supply nutrients to developing fry, so when fish directly consume eggs, they consume a concentrated packet of fatty acids and other goodies. Indeed, many fishers are aware of trout species that take advantage of the egg buffet—steelhead, brown trout, and brook trout—and anglers often converge on the Muskegon and Manistee Rivers to fish trout that have been gorging on sucker eggs. The number of eggs a female sucker carries will depend on the species and size. In the Great Lakes literature, the range for white suckers is 14,000 to 139,000 eggs. In a tributary of Lake Superior, where over 80,000 white and longnose suckers were counted, researchers estimated that over 12,000 pounds of sucker eggs were deposited. Since sucker eggs are not spawned over a redd, and because sucker eggs are relatively small, they are an easy target for predation. Between the egg-supplied fuel, coupled with supersized aquatic insect larvae, many stream-resident brook trout in Michigan likely have their annual energy budget fueled by suckers. Suckers are important forage for many recreational fish species. It is no coincidence that several fish species like brown bullhead, rock bass, pumpkinseed, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch congregate at the mouths of tributaries while the fry of suckers are making their journey out to the lakes. These species are cued to the seasonal timing of these swimming smorgasbords.

Larger suckers are also important forage for pike, muskellunge, walleye, burbot, and a variety of birds, including eagles and ospreys. Undoubtedly, predation on suckers redirects predation pressure from salmonids, so again, if you love trout, thank a sucker. Say goodbye to trash-talk and hello to sucker advocacy. Given the amazing ecological services suckers provide, you may wonder why suckers have been called trash fish and why they have received far less love. When was the last time you found a depiction of a sucker on a hat or t-shirt? A lot truly has to do with our subjective value placement on which species we deem important for recreation, food, and esthetics. Suckers are also plagued by a perception that they are detrimental to many sportfish because of egg predation and competition for resources (food and habitat). These myths are increasingly being debunked as more studies demonstrate that even when predation or resource competition occurs, these are not usually the reason for sportfish declines. Longer-term evaluation of sucker removal projects in Michigan lakes has also failed to demonstrate clear benefits to sportfish. On the contrary, relatively recent science on suckers demonstrates the immense value these fish convey to other fish and the broader ecosystem. Their influence and importance are beginning to come to light but are often overshadowed by species targeted by recreational anglers. Imagine an awards show that only presented awards to the best actors and never gave a nod of importance to supporting roles. It is definitely time to shine a spotlight on all native fishes, including suckers, that contribute enormous value to the incredible $7 billion per year fishery in our Great Lakes region. Suckers for suckers. You can contribute to sucker research by documenting when and where you see suckers spawning in tributaries and when and where you see suckers outside of their spawning season. This can be done using Shedd Aquarium’s Great Lakes Fish Finder application—a project nested under i-Naturalist. You can download the app for free from the app store on your phone and upload photos so that researchers can use the information to better understand the timing of the sucker migrations and how climate change could impact this important life-history event. Even if you are fishing offshore and catch a sucker, we still have much to learn about where various species are located at different times of the year. All this information leads to an increased appreciation of suckers and informs better conservation management that considers annual migrations, seasonal habitat use, and the interconnectedness of various species.

Photo credit: Karen Murchie, Shedd Aquarium


Love Trout? Thank a Sucker!


In Michigan, the spawning bed of TU more than six decades ago, we are blessed by abundant coldwater resources and a truly generous contingent of donors. Such was even true during the height of the recent pandemic, where our members contributed to projects and professional staffing of the Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited (Michigan TU) as well as to their local TU chapters. Consider the profile of financial support the statewide organization realized in FY 2021-2022: •

Individual contributions beyond annual dues— $16,576.

Restricted contributions for projects (river stewards)—$1,500.

Corporate grants—$4,579.

Bequests from or memorials to Lives WellLived—$6,501.

Purchase of Michigan TU merchandise—$254.

Unrestricted contributions from TU chapters in Michigan—$14,900.

Donations to Michigan TU’s Tributary and Aquifer Clubs—$140,900.

All told, those donations of hard, coldwater cash exceeded the Council’s modest annual fundraising target of $152,250 by over 22%. Considering that Michigan TU still achieved most of its on-the-water projects, that was an amazing accomplishment, especially in light of COVID and rising inflationary pressures! While Michigan TU is in the strongest position financially in many years, our talented executive director and aquatic biologist will continue to need you support so that they have the resources to continue advocating for your local chapters and manage large-scale projects across the state. But there is much work that still needs to be done. So, as you journey

through 2022 and beyond, please keep the financial needs of your home chapter and the statewide organization in mind. There are so many ways you may contribute to the “One TU” cause. Such as: •

Invest in your home waters by sending even a token cash donation, which can significantly impact coldwater resources. For some of our members, gifting appreciated securities entitles them to both an income tax deduction and an exemption from capital gains. For others, qualified charitable distribution of pretax funds saved by an IRA makes good sense as it counts toward the minimum required distribution and still achieves relief from income taxes. And anyone can join the growing ranks of kind-hearted friends and families who have established a memorial gift as a lasting tribute to those who, as Robert Travers once penned, “love the environs where trout are found.”

If you are at that stage in your life, it is also time to plan for the future and seal a coldwater legacy for future generations by turning to a range of attractive options. Of course, everyone should have a will or living trust that lets them decide where they want their assets to go when the day comes to lay beside still waters for a final time. In particular, consider establishing a charitable lead trust wherein you can preserve an inheritance for your loved ones. Individuals with remaining retirement plan assets can also ease the tax burden on heirs by reserving some or all of that residual for Michigan TU and/or a local chapter. Even before the end of your season on Earth, you can invest in a charitable remainder unitrust or a charitable remainder annuity trust and yet still realize lifetime returns. And let us not forget the possibility of designating TU as a beneficiary of one’s life insurance payout if, in the end, they have become a solitary pilgrim searching for that next pocket of cold, life-giving water.

I hope you do not forget the past as you consider the present and plan for the future of coldwater conservation in Michigan. Importantly, I urge you to discuss various charitable contributions to local chapters or Michigan TU with your financial advisor, as well as review more detailed information on options at Michigan TU Planned Giving.pdf (michigantu.org). Thank you for all you do on behalf of “One TU.”

Summer 2022

Across our nation, members of Trout Unlimited regularly take the time and effort to restore and protect coldwater fisheries. For some, it means putting their waders in the water to restore habitat suitable for trout populations, teaching others the ecosystem services in their home waters, or actively promoting the wise use of our shared natural resources. However, a greater number of citizens and organizations, perhaps by dint of other commitments to family or employment, find the best way they can contribute to TU is through financial support. Indeed, without those ongoing donations, our nonprofit organization would cease to exist, either at the local or national levels.


by Jim Cantrill, Development Committee Chair


Contributing to Conserve Coldwater

Michigan Trout Unlimited


Book Review:The Venerable Fly Tyers


by Glen R. Blackwood, Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company

Summer 2022

This past March, I watched the mail lady slide a kraft brown paper package into my mailbox on a drizzly gray afternoon by happenstance. I wasn’t expecting anything, but childlike, I was anxious to learn what was hidden beneath the wrapping. Slipping off my shoes and sliding into a pair of rubber bottom camp moccasins, I called for the puppy. He bounded towards me and slid to a squirming stop at the door. Finagling a slip lead over our field-bred cocker, who was more anxious to go outside than I (no easy task), once accomplished, we headed toward the mailbox. The route was not direct as Whisk wanted to explore and mark several spots along the way. In my haste, I had not worn a jacket, nor a hat for that matter, and I was damp, chilled, and untangling a dog lead from around our mailbox post as Whisk continued his markings. Opening the box, underneath the day’s post of bills and junk mail was the package addressed to me, postmarked Traverse City, Michigan. The package was small but had heft, and I was excited. Once inside, Whisk in his pen, I tore open the padded envelope as if it was December 25th to find a hardbound copy of The Venerable Fly Tyers by Dave Jankowski. The front of the dust jacket embraced a Winslow Homer painting of an angler with a long rod in a boat, the background a blend of muted greens, grays, blues, and browns, much like the March day. The back cover contained testimonial quotes from Tom Buhr, Jerry Dennis, Josh Greenberg, and the founder of Project Healing Water Fly Fishing, Captain Ed Nicholson USN (Ret.), an organization that the author is donating 20 percent of this book’s proceeds to. Intrigued and warming up from my walk, I began reading. The Venerable Fly Tyers is a multi-faceted look at the author and his friends’ lives and travels regarding their hobby of fly fishing. Hobby may not be the correct term for their addiction; only the jovialness of the members’ banter certainly distracts from all but the most serious issues. Beginning with the author’s introduction into the sport and culminating with his cabin purchase on a northern Lower Michigan trout stream, with a few duck and deer hunting tales commingled, this book reaches from Michigan to Montana, with a brief half-day excursion to Florida. To this reviewer, the trials and tribulations of the author and his cadre read as genuine and not overly embellished. Some

were bawdy, others simply mischievous, and all were enjoyable. The author is a retired military and commercial airline pilot. His military call sign was “Archer,” and this and other mentions of nicknames regarding angling companions are common throughout. I found this confusing, as I had to refer back to whom he was referencing versus a given name. This distraction is minor but one worthy of note. This book is mostly original tales and essays, the exception being three chapters previously published in the bamboo rod newsletter, The Planing Form, and The Anglers of the Au Sable publication, The Riverwatch. Intertwined between the adventures of the author and his cohorts are shorter selections. These concise pieces displayed a more contemplative voice, which I feel added depth and flavor to the book. I found the last paragraph of the chapter titled “Why I Fish” full of subtle imagery and magical prose. Rod Jenkins collaborated on this book by being a member of the Venerable Fly Tyers and producing the line drawings that open each chapter. As a fan of black and white illustrations, I found these additive to each chapter as they enhanced the overall body of the book. Most angling adventures are shared through verbal communication. The original experiences are lost over time, continuing only by retelling the saga. They may be retold streamside, around a campfire, or any assortment of anglers gathering, ranging from mountainside bars to Christmas parties. Details are lost, added, and exaggerated. Only in the case of a group that calls themselves the Venerable Fly Tyers, the record is now cast in stone, in perpetuity for the honestly of the members but also for the reader’s pleasure. And a pleasurable read it is.

The Venerable Fly Tyers Author: David Jankowski Illustrator: Rod Jenkins Publisher: Mission Point Press 2022 Hardcover $24.95 ISBN: 978-1-954786-70-7 Softcover $19.95 ISBN: 978-1-954786-69-1

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Michigan Trout Unlimited P.O. Box 442 Dewitt, Michigan 48820-8820 TIME DATED MATERIAL

You can opt out of receiving “MICHIGAN Trout” as a hard copy. Instead, you’ll get an e-mail notification of the newsletter’s posting on our website, with a direct link to the newsletter, the day of its posting. The online version will be in color, and you can forward the notification to non-members, too. The rationale for this move? Green. Both environmental and financial. Every paper subscription costs Michigan TU about $4 per member annually in printing and mailing costs. We have about 7600 TU members in the state. Just think about the money we could save, and devote to cold-water conservation. We need your help! If you are so inclined, please scan the QR code to the right and Opt-Out of receiving a paper copy of “MICHIGAN Trout.”

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