By Howard Meyerson
To look the state’s list of Master Angler entries for the White River in Muskegon County one gets the impression the river is filled with redhorse, white suckers and carp. Only three salmon or steelheads were listed in the last 20 years and two of those were caught in 1994, an inauspicious depiction of what anglers can expect.
But, Cliff Minton knows far better than most that the White River can be an exceptional place to catch big fish. The 75-year-old Montague angler celebrated his 1000th fishing outing there last fall – on October 25th to be precise. That’s the day he landed a nice 8-pound steelhead, one of countless big salmon and steelhead he has hooked over the years on the quiet and winding river he knows like the back of his hand.
“I thought of the fish caught and fish lost; men who no longer fished the river over those 40 years…the fishless days, the fish a-plenty days and big fish days,” Minton wrote about that day in a chapter of a book he hopes to publish sometime called “The White; A River of Memories.”
Minton fishes the White every chance he gets. It is close to the home he shares with his wife, Mary. He may launch his 12-foot aluminum boat and visit dozens of holes he knows intimately. Or, he may hop in his “fish truck” and go for a drive, then don a pair of waders and set off cross-country in search of the upper river’s Holy Grail brook trout and brown trout waters.
“I am on my third boat and fourth motor on the lower White,” Minton shared. “It’s a dandy river and I do catch northern pike, walleye and smallmouth bass there, but those are incidental to the trout and salmon I catch.” Continue reading