Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Big Man...the Ojibwa knew her as the Manistiqweita or "Crooked River". In her prime she was full of Grayling. Catches in the 1000's were reported in the late 1800's and like many of the Lake Michigan tribs the Grayling were to meet their demise when extensive logging operations across the state ruined prime river habitat.
With the collapse of the logging industry and the formation of the Manistee National Forest in 1938 the river has rebounded wonderfully. Couple that with man's foresight and divine stocking intervention and the Manistee has become a world renowned fishery once again. The Grayling of past are long gone but today the Manistee abounds with resident rainbows and browns, huge fall runs of Chinook and Coho Salmon, and most importantly a 4 season fishery for Oncorhynchus mykiss.
Today I had the pleasure to visit this great river once again. March has proven a tough time to approach this river in my limited experience but has always proven well worth the effort. Today was to be no different. Arriving on the heels of a early spring thaw the river was marginally stained and flowing strong. Big water is always best approached with big gear and the big sticks were the order of the day.
The fishing was tough, the scenery stellar and the experience once again unforgettable.