Small Rivers, Big Obstacles – Fly Fishing the Pere Marquette River


Michigan’s Pere Marquette River is a world renowned Small Rivers fly fishing destination for anglers in search of trophy brown trout, as well as migratory salmon and steelhead. A barrier free, spring fed river, the Pere Marquette flows over 150 miles from its beginning east of Baldwin, Michigan earlier than emptying into Pere Marquette Lake which then flows into lake Michigan. The river is known as after a Jesuit missionary, father Jacques Marquette, who spent the later part of the 1600’s exploring North America, specifically the shoreline of west Michigan.

The Pere Marquette is a as a substitute small river that takes on its “switchback” look soon after its severa feeder springs emerge from the ground to shape the principle float of the river. As the river travels west toward the lake Michigan coastline, it widens, choosing up pace and quantity along the way. It is joined with the aid of different creeks, rivers and “branches” of the principle river, as it meanders west towards the town of Ludington, Michigan. Along the way, is passes via a combination of meadows, deep swamp and rolling hills, with both coniferous and deciduous timber dotting the landscape before joining Pere Marquette Lake in Ludington, Michigan.

Obstacles to Overcome

For those who have fly fished the “PM”, you know of its sharp bends, dashing tailouts, steep banks, overhanging bushes and sandy ridges, as well as the fishing challenges that come with such surroundings. For those who’ve misplaced their honest share of flies to such angling obstructions, you’ve got in all likelihood learned how to adapt to the ever changing environment. For folks that haven’t, it is able to be learned but does take the time and the willingness to donate your honest proportion of flies to the cause.

Nearly the whole thing approximately fly fishing takes on a greater compact presence whilst fishing such a small and winding river. Like elements of many other sports activities such the bat swing in baseball, as The traditional overhead forged is hardly ever used, rather replaced with casts that require less room to execute and fish affectively, together with the Roll solid, Side cast and Reverse or Backhand solid. All are as an alternative fundamental and have to be used in their maximum simple shape whilst fishing a river like the Pere Marquette.

Role forged – Side cast – Backhand solid

The Roll cast – The key to an excellent Roll cast is to KEEP the fly line in/on the water all through the “lift” and “load” part of the forged. Begin with elbow near your body, start an accelerated rod lift movement WHILE slowly dragging fly line on pinnacle of the water lower back closer to you. Pause in short when the rod angle passes vertical, then propel rod tip ahead with a “wristy” snap (like a short tomahawk chop). This is great finished together with your rod tilted somewhat side arm. It’s not a side arm forged, nor is your rod directly up and down, but instead is locked in for the duration of the complete motion at approximately a 15-20 degree facet perspective. By stopping rod tip high enough at the end of your forged, approximately eye level, it will allow the line to advantage ahead momentum, pick out the closing line up from the water and “roll”” it, leader and fly out in front of you, landing lightly at your desired target. Most often used while fishing round or below overhanging tree branches or shrubbery, it could be a lethal forged whilst completed correctly.

The Side solid – To make a aspect forged, without a doubt tilt the casting plane of the overhead forged to the facet of your body. For a right surpassed caster, this would be to your proper, basically casting parallel to the water. It’s a awesome way of throwing slender forward loops, however most useful for casting in tight spots, like underneath overhanging branches on the Pere Marquette river. One of the greatest blessings in utilizing this solid is that you don’t deliver the rod vertical and consequently don’t hit the overhead branches in such tight quarters. Additionally, you could watch your back loop to determine the quantity of line you could clearly “forged” , in addition to having the ahead loop involves the side of your target fish, consequently by no means placing it within the fish’s window of imaginative and prescient and possibly spooking it.

The Reverse/Backhand cast – To execute this solid, honestly rotate your body, make your “forward” forged toward your backside and supply your line and fly in a backhand fashion. To achieve this successfully, it’s vital to definitely deliver your forged along with your forearm and rod hand facing up. Much like a tennis player does with their backhand stroke, your body may be dealing with perpendicular to or maybe barely down move from your actual “goal”. It will take some casts to get used to it, but once carried out so correctly, you’ll inadvertently convert to this modified cast as although it’s 2d nature. The maximum outstanding benefits to using this modified solid include better insurance of water and greater specific timing within the subtle adjustments of your whole casting stroke. Now you can get your fly to key maintaining spots you best needed were feasible earlier than AND accomplish that effortlessly and rhythm that makes you a better caster who’s able to cowl more of the river successfully with less attempt involved.

The Hookup, Battle & Landing

Casting to a fish feeding on the surface is one aspect, getting that fish to chunk is another, however playing AND touchdown that fish is the cherry topping! When fishing a river like the Pere Marquette, and their aren’t many like it, it’s far essential to factor in the river itself…….A log jam filled, switchback river that has huge and slippery rocks, simply over the edge of that loose, sandy drop-off. Hydraulics play a very big function in preventing and landing trout in a placing like this and it’s satisfactory to understand them earlier than you have that bruiser of a brown trout in your line. Logs are one factor and you may it seems that see maximum of them, simply maintain a watch out while playing your fish and try to steer them far from such obstacles. One issue that’s now not nearly as clean to “see” are the forces in the flowing water that trade notably at each bend, gravel bar or speedy water chute within the river. At every point in the river in which depths alternate quickly, so too does the float and that is where many first-rate trout can be misplaced. If your quarry takes a run downstream and receives under the head of one of these drastic alternate within the rivers current, get yourself below the fish if possible. By seeking to bull canine the fish lower back up thru the fast, choppy water you’re handiest increasing the chances for the fish and decreasing them for you.

The Pere Marquette River is a outstanding river for both beauty and super opportunities for the fly fisher. It boasts a few of the largest and smartest brown trout in the Midwest. The “National Scenic River” designation given to it via the U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture and National Forest Service is most simply warranted. Although a real venture for the fly fisher because of the specific nature of the river and its classic “switchback” path, the Pere Marquette River is a true Blue Ribbon trout movement that must be experienced with the aid of all who wield a fly rod.

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