Riverkeepers: A Video Series
Michigan DNR researchers recently spent two days studying the trout population along a 1,255-foot stretch of the AuSable North Branch near Lovells.
Called a 'Mark and Recapture' study, On Day 1 the team used electro-fishing techniques to net and mark every trout they could find in the stretch. On Day 2 they did it all again to establish a statistically reliable set of data.
Neal Godby, Senior Fisheries Management Biologist for the DNR's Northern Lake Huron Management Unit, will complete the study of the shocking data during the Spring — AuSableTrout.com will publish the results as soon as they are available.
Built in 1914 and closed by the DNR in the 1960s, the Grayling Fish Hatchery existed as a quaint tourist attraction in Grayling — until recently when state officials granted a permit allowing Harrietta Hills Trout Farm to raise 300,000 pounds of fish annually. Reaction in river country came swiftly. Anglers of the AuSable will fight the permit in seven hearings to be held in February.
Late last year when cane rod builder Richard Perry started this rod for the upcoming Rodmakers at Grayrock he decided to contribute it to Victor Edwards' Bamboo Bend project. Sale of the rod will help Edwards continue his annual rod-building workshop for veterans selected from the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program.
A 7' 2" 4/5 weight based on the Paul Young Driggs River taper, the rod is quick and lively, as you'll see when Ron Kilgren casts it.
But first take a few minutes to see the rod come into existence at the RKP Cane Rod shop in Lovells. And if you're interested in the rod please contact Bamboo Bend or Richard Perry. It's the perfect AuSable rod and you'd be helping an incredibly worthy cause!
Over the past few years almost 200 beaver have been removed from the headwaters of the West Branch of Big Creek and volunteers from Anglers of the AuSable and Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited, have waded in to tear out the beaver dams and give the stream a chance to repair itself.
You'll hear from Steve Sendek, of Northpoint Fisheries Management, and Steve Johnson, of Mason-Griffith TU, as they explain how they intend to uncover the sand and sediment dumped into the stream by nearly 40 years of beaver activity.
After 20 years they're not really sure where the name originated, but the event is called Rodmakers at Grayrock, and Lovells Township Hall is THE place to be in late June if you're a bamboo rod builder or fan.
Find details for this year's event at their web site: Rodmakers at Grayrock.
Anglers of the AuSable outgoing President Bruce Pregler took a little time as the 20th Annual AuSable River Cleanup kicked off to recognize Jacque Rose, of the Friends of the AuGres-Rifle Watershed, awarding her the group's President's Award.
And moments later, incoming President Tom Baird stepped up to the microphone and surprised Pregler with a bit of recognition of his own, presenting him with the group's Riverkeeper Award.
Cleanup day dawned bright and sunny, but heavy rains over prior days brought water levels up and made wading — and spotting lost flip-flops, tossed beer cans and other junk — more difficult this year.
Sponsored by Anglers of the AuSable, volunteers worked all three major branches of the AuSable and returned the stream to its natural state, for, as Greenberg said, "When they say the river looks beautiful — you don’t say that if you’re casting to a fish rising in front of a styrofoam cooler in a log jam."
Throw on your waders and take a walk down the Williams Tract where restoration work over the last two summers now gives trout places to hide, feed and spawn. Steve Sendek, of Northpoint Fisheries Management, explains the techniques used by his restoration crews to add features to the water that help move sand away from the gravel bottom reaches so vital to trout stream health.
Karen Harrison, president of the TU Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter, talks about the chapter's sponsorship of the work through grant money they are seeking through 2016.
That hammering you hear around the next bend is not a giant woodpecker but more likely a crew repairing trout cover, heading into a second season of important work needed for years and now being done thanks to such groups as the TU Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter, Anglers of the AuSable, Federation of Fly Fishers, the Department of Natural Resources — and anglers like you.
Check back with AuSableTrout — this summer we'll be out with the crews working on the Williams Tract upstream from Grayling. Long ignored, Sendek's crews are adding habitat and riffles, removing sand and making the tract a haven for trout once again.
Mature Cedar trees are a special sight along the banks of the AuSable and Manistee Rivers -- but small Cedars can't gain a foothold because deer eat them during the winter months.
The Cedars for the AuSable organization is changing that. By providing nearly 20,000 Cedar seedlings (so far!) with mesh cages to protect the vulnerable trees until they're big enough to grow on their own, the group is establishing a new generation of Cedars for our rivers.
In this video volunteers plant Cedars along the Deward section of the upper Manistee River west of Grayling.
As you wade the river, you think all those shiny spots in the gravel bottom are trout redds — where fish lay their eggs each Fall.
But maybe not — disturbances caused by geese, ducks , muskrats and even mink often trick the angler. Every October since 1968, Gerry Lake has studied the spawning habits of Brown trout on the North Branch. And he knows his redds.
Follow along with Lake, David Triezenberg and Dennis Schoberth as they identify real redds and record their GPS coordinates, dimensions, depth and whether they have adjacent cover.
Photo Gallery: Trout campers visit the North Branch to learn from the restoration crews as they rebuild old structures.