Life is abundantly full of things you have to do. It's a great necessity for me to get some re-charge from my outdoor pursuits. If you're reading this I don't think I'll have to tell you why the outdoors is the escape needed for me.
Sometimes you get unexpected spare time and no plans can be made, you just use the time and get out.
At the end of November the Michigan trout season has officially closed on most streams, however you can still catch fish on type 4 streams all winter long. As the sunlight gets shorter and shorter I know that I'm hunting or fishing steelhead this late in the fall. But this year I decided I needed one more trip to the stream. I chose Rice creek of Marshall Michigan. I'm writing to tell the story and to pre-package the one day adventure for your own newly acquired free time.
The trip started by finding the closest type 4 stream near northwest Ohio and that was 1 1/2 hour drive from me. Rice creek, this stream is a tributary to the Kalamazoo river. It's stocked annually and possesses many holdovers from years before. In my search for access and through the internet and google maps I came across the "Partello Road property" managed by the Calhoun County Conservation District. I called the number and talked to a employee named Brett who went very much out of his way to help me find the hotspots and give incredibly detailed info about the stream.
I wasn't expecting much help in the fishing department but this guy knew his stuff. I was very grateful for the help, not many like to give info out on fishing locale beyond what they have to.
I began looking for local tackle shops or maybe a fly shop nearby and I came across a guide service known as the Fly Factor - Guiding services. I was curious and saw there was two guides on their page, Mark Karaba and a guy named Brett Riser - yep, the same guy I called on the phone.
Brett gave me his email sent out more info on nymphs to try and spots to hit and even though I don't have the money for a guided fly trip (BTW their rates are very reasonable compared to other guide services) he was more than willing to help out a fellow angler.
If you go to Rice or Augusta creek and you're looking for a guide these guys get my full approval, anyone looking to help out like this will certainly look after you on the water
CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THEIR GUIDE SERVICE -
***Here's their homepage if you're interested in checking them out, I know you can't go wrong in one of their drift boats on the beautiful Kalamazoo or local coldwater trout streams.
The Adventure Begins
None of my trips become adventures without at least one thing going wrong. This was none different.
The stream gets hammered with snow and a high temp of 20 for the day. Nothing but Ice and 6 inches of snow for testing your fishing temperament. I also managed to lose a windshield wiper on the way up, this was right after I missed my turn on 90 and wasted another 45 minutes finding the next exit on the turnpike. Chalk it up to adventure.
I finally pull into the beautiful town of Marshall. It's a beautiful Pure Michigan town with a rural feel to it. I decided to stop at Johnny's the convenient store/gas station to grab my coffee. The coffee was a success... some gas stations just hit the nail on the head with brewing coffee.
Stop number 1 on the trip is Ketchum Park.
The park has a playground and skatepark as well as paths and a couple footbridges. It's also the site of a recent dam removal. For the fly fisherman this is a great park. It offers a few riffles and runs and pools. You'll notice the park is nearly enclosed by two channels of Rice creek. This was part of the dam removal design. One channel served as a "relief" so the dam area would dry up and could be removed. Now you have two streams, twice the fishing in my opinion. Wade from the connection area upstream and then downstream of the old mill run, it's all public access.
I managed my first Rice creek brown on my third cast of the day, size 6 reverse black woolly bugger... it was also the only fish of the day for me.
Not to worry my nymph game was hindered by the recent cold front and late arrival. Just connect with the Fly Factor mentioned above and they can guide you or even point you in the right direction in terms of terminal tackle.
Partello Road Property
This is a real gem and you should be thanking me if you make the trip. Through searching the internet I came across another point of access that looks to be newly acquired property by the State. Search the Partello Road Property and you'll find a morsel of land dedicated to paddle and fishing access on this trout stream. You can access the property by pulling into this drive (don't worry there's a sign in front of the house letting you know you're at the right place)
Go over the I-94 and then look to right, it's about 3/4 a mile up the road or so. You can also access the stream at the 20 mile road bridge nearby. The stream here is tight and brushy but the cut banks and structure in the water should hide some big holdover browns along the way. It's not the easiest to wade due to deeper holes along the way but if you can navigate the brush and roll cast or even bow and arrow cast you should do fine. It's a beautiful property with a couple trails short-cutting to different portions of the stream. If you're patient and aware you might show up during a good hatch or even have some luck with terrestrials in the mid summer months. If nothing else make sure you have your familiar nymphs ready to go: Hare's ear, BH princes, caddis etc.
Here's what I saw the day I was there:
The trip was a cold one filled with a decent amount of frustration in my navigating abilities but I was very pleased with the stream. Even if it was a one fish day, it was enough for me. Take some time to get outdoors and hook some trout even if it's on the conventional gear. The easy access and friendly Michigan town won't disappoint.
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Robbie is the creator of WF and loves to spend time in the outdoors chasing steelhead, upland birds, and the beauty of nature.
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