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Fishing Tips for the Brown Trout Waters of Michigan

Brown trout were introduced to Michigan in 1883 and they now thrive statewide. Brown trout are more tolerant of warmer water temperatures than other trout species, thus, browns have become popular among anglers in many rivers across the state, ranging from Michigan’s best-known trophy waters to small, marginal trout streams in southern Michigan.

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Some of Michigan’s best known trout streams – such as the Au Sable, the Pere Marquette and the Manistee Rivers – are noted for their brown trout fisheries. Inland lakes include Higgins, Burt, Mullet, McCormick (near Atlanta) and Bear (Kalkaska County).

Lake Methods: Anglers use a wide variety of techniques, from fishing with live bait on the bottom to trolling with minnows or artificial baits. In the Great Lakes, brown trout are best fished by wading, from piers with live bait or artificial lures, or with imitation minnows or other plugs in inshore water. Browns are often taken in conjunction with coho in the spring or incidentally with other salmon during the summer.

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Stream Methods: Brown trout in streams seem to be photo-sensitive and are usually more cooperative on rainy or overcast days. They are a favorite of fly fishermen, many of whom fish at night during notable insect hatches, especially the giant Michigan mayfly (Hexagenia limbata). But large streamers and big splashy surface flies, such as mouse patterns, produce well, too.

For more information on identifying characteristics for brown trout, visit the Michigan DNR fish ID page.

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