Kay and I headed to Kalkaska, Michigan with friends Doug and Caroline to celebrate the Michigan trout opener last Saturday. Kalkaska hosts the National Trout Festival each year with five days worth of activities. On the way, we got ourselves primed with a stop at the Old Au Sable Fly Shop in Grayling. The festival was not as “trout-centric” as we had hoped, so we decided to check out the hatches on the Pigeon and Black rivers within the Pigeon River Country State Forest.
The Pigeon River Forest and surrounding land is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi River. The nearly 100,000-acre state forest contains native hardwoods and pines. The Pigeon River headwaters are located a few miles northeast of Gaylord. The river then flows in a northerly direction to its mouth at Mullet Lake, a distance of 42 miles. The Pigeon River system drains a surface area of approximately 88,000 acres and include 80 linear miles of stream.
Although temperatures were a bit lower than normal, the Mayflies were drifting along the currents and we saw a few anglers on the water. Needless to say, we quickly started planning a weekend camping and fishing endeavor.