Thursday, March 10, 2016


                              ( A gorgeous wild Michigan strain Gilchrist Creek brownie- stocked in June/2014 on the Muskegon river as an experimental 5.6 inch fish- caught 3/8/16 at 16 inches on a size #18 scud- look at the colors and spots- especially red dots along lateral line so indicative of the original German strain)
Michigan and other states are blessed with thousands of miles of wild blue ribbon trout streams that all have brown trout strains dating back from the first importation/alien invasion of German brown trout "Bachforelle" , that were brought to New York's Cold Harbor/Long Island in the early 1880's by Seth Green. Michigan's Pere Marquette River was " ground zero first stocking", due to eyed up eggs going to the Federal fish hatchery in Northville, MI. It was the first stocking/ then NY did the same on Spring Creek in Caledonia in the western hemisphere of the little German immigrants , much to the dismay of all fly fisherman at that time that loathed them for being too "fussy/selective" when compared to their beloved brook trout , whose populations were dwindling. In the Catskills, lodges back in the 1890's encouraged killing as many browns as you can to protect the brookies- funny how now a brown trout is so beloved!!.

Michigan has had the foresight to take the wild original "German strain' browns from a northern Gilchrist creek , and raise them for their hatchery stocking programs- read more information at this link:

The link basically describes why wild strains out perform domesticated hatchery strains. It is important for Michigan and other states emphasis more wild strain stocking which reproduce in the wild much better, eventually eliminating the cost for additional stockings and eventual wild populations( Pennsylvania could use the Sate College Spring Creek or Penns' Creek strains for much better fisheries/survival /natural reproduction etc.- especially where spring creeks are losing habitat due to development and the wild trout populations are suffering and need a new "infusion" of genetics- - Letort etc.)

My observations on wild strains in Michigan's Muskegon River- a river that has the tremendous potential/massive food supply, to grow trophy brown trout if stocked with the right strain are below.
 The June ,2014 ( 4,000 5.6 inch planting- 2,000 at Pine Ave.- 2,000 at Thornapple) was a gift from former Michigan DNR Hatchery Director/fly fishing friend, Gary Whelan ( who BTW gets it! what I'm saying , and also says we need greater brown trout numbers stocked), after many years of me pleading and begging to get the strain planted again , since the local biologist we have doesnt like the wild strain..:(, since he wants all browns to be killed early as a "stock- and kill' fishery". Despite his undermining the river's fishery potential in favor of his walleye pike,  we 'CONSISTENTLY'  catch 20-25 inch fish, which demonstrates they love the massive food supply, hundreds of ice cold spring refugees, and year round feeding opportunities the Muskegon tailwater holds for trophy brown trout.
( two trophy browns anyone would love to catch on the Muskegon from 2015 and 2014)

 My observations on the Muskegon are as follows:.

* when stocked at fingerling/young yearling 5-6 inch sizes , they disappear for almost two years, only to show up around 14 inches- fat and healthy and colorful
* they avoid the worm/bucket brigade and hold over to trophy sizes in greater numbers
* they are very elusive feeders and spend the first two years under logs/cover chowing down on midges/scuds/mayflies etc...then when they get bigger , the carnivorous urge hits them and they chase bigger bait fish/fry
* they eventually create big trophy fish, but it takes time and patience
* they tolerate warmer water conditions by being wilds knowing when and how to seek thermal refuge- unlike hatchery strains
( Gilchrist brownies from early 2000's when they stocked them in good numbers)

 Last years fall wild Sturgeon River fingerling's, as a result of several factors and fist banging- not gonna get into that right now!, will be interesting to see how survival occurs  and is a step "IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!-. The fish above is evidence and looks so much different from the domesticated Wild Rose hatchery strain the DNR insists on stocking for the most part . A mix of the dumber/easier to catch Wild Rose, and the more "elusive" Gilchrist would be a nice fit to see what eventually unfolds. Progress only happens thru experimentation and evaluation.
 We need much more of it with our complacent DNR/Fish Commission agencies. 

I can only hope that hope runs eternal and pray  TU/FFF /Alliances/Michigan DNR- most importantly anglers !!!! get the message and work proactively to make it happen- in therein lies the rub and challenge !- the river is prime and ready, we just have to stop the undermining, corruption and politics- let the Presidential candidates do that!...amen