9-17-05 - The famous Pere Marquette
Waters Fished: Pere Marquette River
Fish Caught: 0
Outing Date: 9-17-05
Air Temp: 70's
Water Temp: 58F?
Water Level: 378 CFS in Scottsville
Water Color: slightly green, visibility about 3'+
Fish Species: King Salmon
Pattern Fished: Large Eggs, Egg Sucking Leaches, etc.
Pattern Color: You name it
Fishing Quality: poor
John and Gerry decided that maybe we should head
back early, or at least try some different waters. It was pretty
guaranteed that the Garden would be packed with hopeful (and disappointed)
anglers. The call was made; we'd drive back through Michigan and
stay a night around Baldwin to fish the Pere Marquette.
Now, normally I go to a new location with a bit
more research put in, so I admit I was a bit skeptical of the plan.
However, Gerry had fished the PM a few years back and pretty confident.
After saying our good-byes, we crossed over St. Mary's Rapids and
made our way back to the US. On south over the Mackinaw Bridge and
on down the state, cutting east. Finally, we arrived in Baldwin
around 3:30 PM.
It took a bit of searching down, but eventually
we found Baldwin
Bait & Tackle where we picked up 24 hour licenses (Gerry
also found some sweet new fly tying materials). The guys in the
shop were more than helpful, providing a rivermap and solid advice
on where we'd have the best shot. The overall tip - go as far downriver
as we could. After a stop at the Ranger Station in Baldwin to arrange
parking and camping, we made our way to locate a good camping spot.
Admittedly, setting up camp took only a few minutes.
Having eaten not much but junk on the drive down it was agreed that
we should find some dinner. On the drive back to Baldwin we saw
more wild turkeys that I've seen at one time ever. They looked like
a small heard of miniature dinosaurs. We had a pretty good dinner
at the Government Lake Lodge - try the unnamed burger. While wolfing
down our food, we watched the abundant (but stunted) bluegill and
largemouth bass swimming in the shallows of Government Lake, right
below the window at our table.
Finally satisfied, we headed back to one of the
many public access spots on the PM. My initial reaction was mixed...DAMN
it reminded me of the Bois Brule in northern WI. Larger water to
say the least. Sandy bottom in most spots. Not a lot of obvious
riffle-pool structure, let alone holding structure. I remembered
hearing that the fish like to hold in deadfalls, but in this particular
stretch there weren't too many of those either.
With light fading fast, we hiked down and set up
on a large bend - when all else fails a bend is a likely holding
spot. We fished for at least a few hours, occasionally seeing a
small fish surface but otherwise not seeing much of anything.
When we finally called it a night, we broke out
the spotlights and did a bit of searching. There, only a few feet
below where John had been drifting, we spotted the telltale blue-green
form that could only be a King. It instantly spooked, but with a
bit more searching we spotted 2 more in the run before finally packing
out for the night. Time to sleep - we'd be getting up EARLY tomorrow!