MI: NRC gets trout gear plan

Lansing – After a lengthy and thorough process that included 17
public meetings and a tremendous amount of public input, the
DNRE FIsheries Division has presented its proposal for gear
restrictions on designated trout streams to the Natural Resources
Commission and DNRE Director Becky Humphries. The proposal remains
open for public comment through the Dec. 9 NRC meeting in Lansing,
when Humphries is expected to take action on the it.

“There were compromises along the way,” DNRE FIsheries Division
Chief Kelley Smith told the Natural Resources Commission at its
meeting earlier this month in Lansing. “Nobody got everything they
wanted, but everybody got something they wanted.”

The proposal is the culmination of nearly two years of effort by
state fisheries biologists, individual citizens, and the Citizens
Coldwater Regulations Steering Committee, which is composed of
coldwater resource stakeholders across the state.

The Fisheries Division is proposing gear restrictions on a total
of 72.9 miles of prime designated trout streams at 11 locations
including:

n Au Sable River (Crawford County), Wakeley Bridge downstream to
McMasters Bridge, 8 miles. Artificial lures only. Open for the
entire year with the possession season running the last Saturday in
April through Sept. 30 for brook trout and brown trout. Open for
the entire year for rainbow trout. The daily possession limit would
be two trout, but would not include more than one trout 18 inches
or greater. Minimum size limits would be 10 inches for brookies and
rainbows , 18 inches for browns.

n Au Sable River (Oscoda County), Mio power line downstream to
McKinley Bridge, 15 miles. Artificial lures only. Open for the
entire year with a possession season running the last Saturday in
April through Sept. 30 for brook trout and brown trout; open the
entire year for rainbow trout. The daily possession limit would be
two trout, but no more than one 18 inches or greater. The minimum
size limits would be 7 inches for brook trout, 18 for brown trout,
and 10 inches for rainbow trout.

n Black River (Montmorency, Otsego counties), Tin Shanty Road
Bridge downstream to Town Corner Lake Stairs, 4.4 miles. Artificial
lures only. Open for the entire year with the possession season
running the last Saturday in April through Sept. 30 for brook
trout. Open the entire year for rainbow and brown trout. The daily
possession limit would be five trout but not more than two brook
trout. The minimum size limits would be 10 inches for brook trout
and rainbow trout and 8 inches for brown trout.

“This section is being managed for brook trout,” Smith told the
commission. “Initially we were going to end the brown trout ‘keep’
season on Sept. 30, but now are recommending it to be open all
year, as in the past.”

n Cooks Run (Iron County), Forest Highway 16 downstream to
confluence with South Branch Paint River, 4.5 miles. Artificial
flies only. From the last Saturday in April through Sept. 30 this
stretch would be managed under Type 2 regulations. From Oct. 1
through the Friday before the last Saturday in April, this stretch
would be restricted to files only. The possession limit would be
zero except that children under the age of 12 could keep one trout,
12 inches or longer.

n Fox River (Schoolcraft County), Fox River State Forest
Campground downstream to M-28, 7.6 miles. From the last Saturday in
April through Sept. 30, this stretch would be managed under Type 1
regulations. From Oct. 1 through the Friday before the last
Saturday in April, this stretch would be restricted to artificial
flies only. The daily possession limit would be zero, except that
children under the age of 12 could possess one trout between 8 and
12 inches.

n Huron River (Oakland County), sign below Moss Lake outlet to
signs 100 yards below Wixom, 2 miles. From the last Saturday in
April through Sept. 30, this stretch would be managed under Type 1
regulations. From April 1 through the Friday before the last
Saturday in April, this stretch would be limited to flies only. The
possession limit would be zero, except that children under the age
of 12 could keep one trout between 8 and 12 inches.

n Manistee River (Crawford County), County Road 612 downstream
to M-72, 8.2 miles. Artificial lures only and fishing would be open
for the entire year. The possession season would run the last
Saturday in April through Sept. 30 for brook trout and brown trout.
It would be open for the entire year for rainbow trout. The daily
possession limit would be two trout, but only one could be 18
inches or greater. The minimum size limits would be 10 inches for
brook and rainbow trout and 18 for brown trout.

There are two state forest campgrounds on the Manistee River
below CR 612 and there was some concern from DNRE officials about
loss of revenue if the regs were changed below CR 612.

n Paint Creek (Oakland County), Gun Road downstream to Tienken
Road, 5 miles. Artificial lures only. The season would run the last
Saturday in April through Sept. 30. The daily possession limit
would be two and the minimum size limit would be 14 inches for all
species of trout.

n Pere Marquette River (Lake County), Gleason’s Landing
downstream to Bowman Bridge, 2.9 miles. Artificial flies only. Open
for the entire year as catch-and-release only, except for children
under the age of 12 who may keep one trout or salmon between 8 and
12 inches.

“There was an issue that making this a flies-only stretch would
interfere with steelhead fishing,” Smith said. The DNRE has decided
to split the season between artificial and bait use to allow for
the use of spawn during the steelhead season. The harvest would be
two fish – one rainbow and one brown 18 inches or greater.

n Pigeon River (Otsego, Cheboygan counties), Elk Hill Campground
Horse Trail downstream to Pine Grove Campground Stairs, 5.3 miles.
Artificial lures only. Fishing season would be open all year, but
the possession season would run from the last Saturday in April
through Sept. 30 for brook trout and brown trout. Open the entire
year for rainbow trout. The daily possession limit would be two
trout, but only one could be a brown trout. The minimum size limit
would be 10 inches for brook and rainbow trout and 12 inches for
brown trout.

n South Branch Paint River (Iron County), Cooks Run downstream
to North Branch Paint River, 10 miles. From the last Saturday in
April through Sept. 30, this stretch of stream would be managed
under Type 2 regulations. From Oct. 1 through the Friday before the
last Saturday in April, this stretch would be limited to artificial
flies only and there would be no possession limit except that
children under the age of 12 could possess one trout between 8 and
12 inches in length.

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