By Howard Meyerson
Trout fishing opened on designated trout streams Saturday and anglers were out celebrating on iconic trout waters, such as the Pere Marquette, AuSable and Big Manistee rivers. But a group of Ann Arbor area anglers plans to wait until May to celebrate the creation of the state’s newest trout-fishing stream.
The Ann Arbor chapter of Trout Unlimited is holding its inaugural Dexter Trout Fest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 30 in Dexter. You might have heard of the National Trout Festival in Kalkaska, which celebrated its 79th anniversary this weekend.
The five-day event is held near many of Michigan’s best trout waters. Now, there will be a trout festival in Dexter — and with good reason.
Why Mill Creek?
Ann Arbor TU has partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in a six-year effort to build a trout fishery in Mill Creek, a tributary of the Huron River, which runs through Dexter.
It is, perhaps, a surprising location to consider a trout fishery. Most southern Michigan streams are too warm. But AATU members discovered the creek has all the right conditions for trout.
“It’s going to be our first official annual trout festival,” said Bill Phillips, the TU chapter’s lead for the Mill Creek trout project. “It’s going to be called the ‘Art and Rhythms of Trout Fishing.’ There will be games for kids and young adults and fly-tying demos and casting demonstrations.”
Better yet, there will be good-sized trout in the creek. The experimental fishery there is a remarkable development, and anglers who know of it are catching nice brown trout there.
“A lot of people are becoming aware of it and are enjoying the fishing,” said Jeff Braunscheidel, senior fisheries biologist with the DNR’s Lake Erie Management Unit. “For this initial experiment, we are not stocking to establish a population, but we are looking to establish a fishery.”
The DNR agreed, he said, to annually stock Mill Creek with Gilchrist Creek brown trout for six years beginning this spring. It will get 2,200 trout each year from 5.5 to 7 inches long. The agency also planted 1,500 trout in 2014. Ann Arbor TU also will plant 500 trout annually. That’s above and beyond the 14,800 the chapter has planted since 2011. Continue reading