Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing’

Follow the Huron River Water Trail to adventure . . .

Try Fishing a Stretch of the Huron’s Productive Waters


I love to explore the watershed and hunt for fish habitat. The Huron River watershed is full of great habitat for a variety of species including sport fishes like small and large-mouth bass, rock bass, perch, steelhead, walleye and pike, and many other unique and diverse species. I like to fly fish the river and some of the larger tributaries for bass because bass are aggressive predators and strong fighters and I enjoy trying to mimic their prey. I am getting better at actually catching them, and our productive river is a good teacher with its wide gentle flow and lots of good hidey holes for big and small fish alike. Mostly, I just like the peaceful time to stand in the flow and take in the sights and sounds of life along the river.

Fly fish the Huron River.

Fly fish the Huron River.

Now that my kids are bigger, I have started taking each of them along with me. Both enjoy different aspects of the experience. Foster likes to think like a fish, while Ally likes being in the water and perfecting her casting skill.

One of our favorite places to fish is along Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. The river is wide there and fairly easy to navigate. We usually start by paying a visit to Schultz Outfitters to get the low down on river conditions and what the fish are feeding on. They have lots of great flies to fill our bait boxes as well. This stretch of the river has LOTS of bass! Most of them are on the small side, but since the RiverUp! restoration project was completed, the guides have been seeing some larger catch.

Ally with her first lake fish

Ally with her first lake fish

There are other great places to fish along the river. There is really good lake fishing in many of the in-line lakes throughout the watershed, and many river runs near Milford, Dexter, Ann Arbor, and Flat Rock. One of our most memorable times was when my wife caught her first fish while we were canoeing upstream of Barton Pond. She was so excited that she screamed and frightened then 2-year-old Ally.

Have fun, stay safe with these TIPS from the Trail!

Join HRWC for Huron River Appreciation Day, Sunday July 10! Come along on a guided trip of the Huron River Water Trail in Dexter, paddle the Lower Huron from Flat Rock or paddle to Milford from Proud Lake, hear a talk on paddling safety and get a free life jacket, hear a river history talk or learn to fly fish! 

Huron River Appreciation Day is sponsored by TOYOTA.

Follow the Huron Water Trail to adventure…

Fish, paddle, or play at the Bell Road access point

Located slightly north of the intersection of Huron River Drive and North Territorial, this Huron River access site has it all. The river is absolutely lovely here, with lush forested riparian zones, shallow rocky riffles, deep pools, and a path that stretches upstream and downstream along the river.

The parking area is a little confusing. It is at the end of a dead-end road and there is no parking lot and you can’t see the river.  The site is officially a DNR access point though, so parking is allowed here.  Park at the end of the road and walk fifty yards down the path to get to the river.

I now call this location my “swimming hole” and regularly take my six year old son to play in the river, tube up and down the small rapids, throw rocks, and jump off logs and the small rock dam. It is also on a section of the river known for a superb smallmouth bass population (please catch and release!), and many people use it as a starting point for paddling instead of the busier Hudson-Mills Metropark slightly downstream.

An early spring shot of the Huron River at Bell Road.

My Huron River (Hudson Mills to Barton Pond)

Dad and daughter enjoying a paddle.

Dad and daughter enjoying a paddle.

I fell in love with the Huron on this beautiful stretch of river. River mile 67 to mile 56 is one of the longest undammed strands of rolling water in SE Michigan. The banks along the river are thick with large, old willows, maples and a good diversity of hardwoods and a smattering of cedars, thanks to a wide riparian corridor protected by the Natural River Zone. My family and I like to take a nice, slow paddle along this piece of river to forget our worries and reconnect with the living planet as we flow through it. I find my mind wandering as I scout for trophy bass in deep pools, and sometimes forget I am only a few miles from home.

This Father’s Day my wife Kathy, son Foster and daughter Ally took me out for a beautiful trip. The water was high and fast from recent rains and a bit tawny, but clear at the start of the trip. Song birds called out across the river to potential mates or rivals on the other bank. We crossed a sad run where a tornado ripped across the river three years ago and tree damage is still evident. When we reached the confluence with Mill Creek the mixing zone is stark. The clear waters of the upper Huron get colored by the roiling, sediment-filled outwash from Mill Creek. The water volume almost doubles here and the river picks up pace, quickly taking the boat along its course to the rapids at Delhi, where we took the canoes out. Along the way, the kids jumped out and enjoyed a free-form float to cool off in the river’s embrace.

Fly fish the Huron River.

Fly fishing downstream of Delhi Rapids.

I also like to spend a few hours fly fishing on the upper parts of this river stretch. The river varies nicely from wide, shallow riffles, through quick narrow runs, to long stretches of slow, deeper water and pools — great for hiding big fish (though I never seem to be able to find them). I cherish the moments of quiet reflection as a gentle breeze rustles the leaves and I attempt to flick my fly into that hole where I just know a big one is waiting for a meal to swim by. To be honest, though, I find that any time spent on or in the Huron is time well spent.

HRWC is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!

Tell us your favorite watershed spot HERE.

Connect and share river ruminations or captured moments with us on FacebookTwitter and InstagramUse #huronriver50 to mark your posts!

Appreciate the River, Sunday July 12, by joining HRWC for some fun or heading to YOUR favorite spot with friends.

Here’s What A River Renaissance Looks Like

Fly fishing in Ypsilanti.

Three short films are being released by the Huron River Watershed Council that share stories of the renaissance happening along the Huron River.

“Fly Fishing the Huron” is the first and features small business owner Mike Schultz and his Ypsilanti-based Schultz Outfitters: Fly Fishing Guides & Destination Travel. The film revolves around the Single Fly Tournament, capsule hosted by Schultz Outfitters on July 20, 2014. Schultz’s enthusiasm and commitment have contributed to the revitalization of the local Ypsilanti business community and have helped sparked the popularity of fly fishing along the Huron River.

7 Cylinders Studio of Ann Arbor worked with HRWC over the summer producing “Fly Fishing the Huron” to share the vision of RiverUp!, cialis a plan for the Huron River’s future. RiverUp! is a strategy to realize the goal of a vibrant, robust, and restored river as a destination for residents, visitors, hospital and businesses. Additional films to be released in the RiverUp! series include Dexter’s transformation of its waterfront and the creation of the Huron River Water Trail.

HRWC leads RiverUp! in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Office, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and the Wolfpack, a group of 75 business and community leaders and organizations.

Pedal, Paddle, Run, Fish . . .

River and RiverSide Recreation! Take Your Pick June 7-8!

In addition to the fabulous line-up of Huron River Summer Recreation Events hosted by HRWC, and there are a number of opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the River.

Paddling the Huron

Photo: Leisa Thompson, seek The Ann Arbor News

June 7. Flat Rock to Oakwoods Metropark Pedal & Paddle. 10am-2pm. Pedal a family-friendly one mile from Huroc Park to Oakwoods Metropark on the newly completed paved Flat Rock-HCMA Connector trail then jump into the Huron River for a 30-minute paddle.

Group pedal kick-off, ailment 10am at Huroc Park, 28600 Arsenal Road, includes bike inspections, a scavenger hunt, local bike vendors and a Trikke carving vehicle demo. While at Oakwoods, park your bike in a secure corral and join the National Trails Day Celebration (ends at 4pm) where the afternoon will be filled with a wide variety of activities for the entire family including hikes, kayaking demos, birding walks, geocaching, “how-to” discussions, prize drawings, entertainment, and much more.

All activities are free, but onsite kayak rentals are $10 for 30-min (until 2pm). Hosted by Riverside Kayak Connection, Huron River Watershed Council, Downriver Linked Greenways, City of Flat Rock, Friends of Oakwoods and Oakwoods Metropark.

June 7. Hudson Mills Metropark to Village of Dexter Run. 9am. Celebrate the Grand Opening of the newest segment of the Border-to-Border (B2B) trail with a 10k race and fun run/walk that will be enjoyable for all ability levels – bring the whole family! The race will start at Hudson Mills, North Territorial Road entrance. The 6.2-mile scenic route will take you along the Huron River to the finish line in the Village of Dexter at Mill Creek Park where you can enjoy entertainment and refreshments after the run. Free shuttle buses will transport participants back to the starting point. Pre-register online or at the event beginning at 7:30am

Fly fish the Huron River.

Fly fish the Huron River.

June 7 and 8. Schultz Outfitters Fly Fishing Demo Days. 10am-6pm Sat, 10am-5pm Sun. This event brings together some of the most respected talent and brands in the fly fishing industry for two days of FREE education and fun. There will be on-stream casting and fishing demonstrations in the park each day, along with classes and seminars at Schultz Outfitters fly shop, a used gear trade and deals galore!


So, get outside and ENJOY your River! More recreation opportunities are posted at

The Fish are Jumpin’!

Participants in the 2013 Huron River Single Fly Tournament

Participants in the 2013 Huron River Single Fly Tournament

For the first time in the three-year run of the event, I was finally confident enough to give the Huron River Single-Fly Tournament a try — and I am so glad that I did! It was great to meet the 24 passionate anglers and hear how much they knew about the river, the fish, their food and habitat. Many told me how happy they were to have a quality river with lots of healthy fish running through a dynamic, urban population center.

Proceeds from the entrance fees and donations went to our “River Up!” initiative. The tournament raised over $3,000 for the program, as all fees and donations were matched by the Erb Foundation. That money will be used in the program to clean up areas along the river, improve access, and transform the Huron River corridor into a recreation destination.

Mike Schultz, partners and staff at Schultz Outfitters did a great job organizing the event and making sure everyone had a fun and safe time. He and his crew provide equipment and advice to make it easy for noobs like me.

As all the teams went to to their favorite spots, I was impressed by the number and variety of good fishing locations offered to me and my partner, Sean (pictured below at an undisclosed location). We chose a busy section at Island Park in Ann Arbor to start, where we met dozens of paddlers and tubers all interested in what we were catching (quite a few little small-mouth bass, as it turned out). It was great to see such a variety of activities taking place on our river.

Participant Sean Hickey in the 2013 Huron River Single Fly Tournament

Participant Sean Hickey in the 2013 Huron River Single Fly Tournament

As we moved to a different site, the traffic subsided and I was reminded about the power the river possesses. The ample rain we’ve had has kept river flows up, which has made for interesting paddling and fishing conditions. While it had not rained much over the previous week, the river flow was still up, thanks to the abundant natural land cover that keeps the groundwater flow slow and strong. We noticed that some earlier canoeists may not have been ready for these conditions earlier in the season.

This canoe wreckage offers a warning to unprepared paddlers about the power of the river.

This canoe wreckage offers a warning to unprepared paddlers about the power of the river.

While I enjoyed my time casting into spots that looked like good hiding places for big fish, as the river gently, but noticeably embraced me, I was reminded of the connection to the natural world that inspired me to become a watershed planner in the first place. Whether it is fishing, paddling, rowing, swimming, or just taking a stroll along its banks, I encourage you all to get out and enjoy this wonderful resource we have in our back yards. Then come back and do what you can to make it even better.

To see who won the Single Fly Tournament and plan for your participation next year, visit the tournament webpage.

Attention aspiring Anglers…This is a casting call!

flyJoin us this summer for our Fly Fishing Lessons, nurse June 1st & 2nd, with the help of Mike Mouradian of Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited (AATU). Mike will be teaching casting, knot tying, fly identification, and entomology; along with experienced instructors from AATU.  This year we will be hosting the lessons at Lillie Park North in Ann Arbor, MI.

Rods, flies, fly fishing instruction book, and snacks will be provided.  Bring a pair of polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, and wear appropriate clothing for the weather. We practice fly casting on the lawn, so waders will not be necessary. We are offering women, family, and general classes to better suit your learning needs. Remember, each class is limited to 15 participants and registration is required for participation. Join us and acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities that foster a summer of fun on the river!

Visit our Summer Events page for more information and how to register.

Fly Fishing Opening Day Draws Near

Check out the Huron River and HRWC’s friends at Schultz Outfitters in this feature article (and awesome photos) from concentrate.

Already into fly fishing? Sign up for the Second Annual Huron River Single Fly Tournament on June 16th. Haven’t yet caught the fly fishing fever? Sign up for one of the free fly fishing instruction sessions hosted by HRWC and experienced instructors from Ann Arbor Trout Unlimited on June 2nd and 3rd. There’s no need to travel hundreds of miles for excellent fishing on a fly — it’s all right here on the Huron.

With a location in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town, Mike Schultz and his team are investing in the river-based economy. Developing and sustaining local businesses in river towns that tie recreation to local growth is a tenet of RiverUp!, HRWC’s initiative with National Wildlife Federation and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Way to RiverUp!, Schultz Outfitters!

Fly Fish the Huron in June

Saturday June 26, 2010 11am – 6pm

The angler with the most fish caught on ONE FLY wins!

Sign up today for the 1st Annual Huron River Single Fly Tournament! Everyone has a chance to win prizes, raffles and auctions. It’s easy! Pick your best fly and fish it till you lose it. Prizes include fly rods, reels, gear, gift certificates and more. All proceeds benefit the Huron River Watershed Council’s water quality programs for the Huron River.

There is a Pre-Party on Friday night at Jolly Pumpkin on Main St in Ann Arbor.  Did you know that the NY Times rated Ron Jeffries Oro de Calabaza Belgian Ale as the best in the country? Yes it did, and you can have that Belgian Ale at the Pre-Party!

More information on HRWC’s Single Fly Tournament Page, including registration and fees.

Saturday June 26, 2010 11am — 6pm

Check-in for tournament at Colton Bay Outfitters (CBO) by 10am

CBO is located at 4844 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103-1899

Fishing starts at 11am

Must be back at CBO by 6pm

Food and drinks will start at CBO at 6pm with awards and prizes to follow

Registration is limited and ends on June 21, 2010

QUESTIONS call Colton Bay and ask for Shultzy or Eirik (734) 222-9776

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