JORDAN RIVER, MICHIGAN

Saturday, July 7, 1997

I took Tanner out on his first backpacking adventure this weekend. We were blessed with perfect weather -- sunny and in the upper 70's. We started from Deadman's Hill and hiked along the northern side of the Jordan River to Pinney Bridge Campground. The DNR says the trail is about 8 miles long, and the trip took us just under four hours but we didn't take many breaks. Tanner did very well carrying his pack. He stayed on the trail almost the entire way and didn't seem to tire much.

Before the trail crosses the Jordan River, it meanders through old apple orchards and the occassional spring or wetland. Just once we saw the river from the trail and we headed down to it for a water break.

Shortly after the trail crosses the river and the Jordan River Road (where there is room to park), it parallels the river for a mile or two. There are lots of spots to stop and fish, but I didn't because everything was packed away. I even saw a few places to pitch a tent.

A couple miles before the campground, the trail leaves the river and climbs up and down hills. When we got to the campground, we found it totally full. There were about 10 sites. All of them were occupied and I knew at least three more groups were behind me and planning on staying the night. (Along the trail I saw quite a few people coming and going.) I camped in an "illegal" site, complete with a fire ring and a spot to pitch a tent, down the hill from the main area and nearer the bridge. It worked out great. The other groups ended up camping in other "illegal" sites. I found out that most of these people had parked just on the other side of the bridge and had walked in form there. I saw people with baby strollers, coolers and even a bike. It didn't seem fair that they got all the good sites.

I fished that evening upstream from the bridge. Caught two little brookies and two healthy 10" trout, one brookie and one rainbow. Many, many logs are in the meandering river, so all I used were dry flies (blue-winged olives and royal wulffs). Lots of bug hatching, including some monster drakes. There are some deep holes that look promising, perhaps spin fishing would be easier to cast.

Tanner didn't like me being in the river and away from him. He would sit and the bank, edging closer and closer until he either fell in or I yelled at him to get back. By the end of the next day, he had it figured out a little better.

I built a small fire to keep away some of the mosquitos and went to bed shortly after dark.

 

Sunday, June 8, 1997

I got up at 5:00, but decided it was still too early to start fishing. Then I really got up at 8:30 and probably missed the best part of the day.

I fished downstream from the bridge and caught a bunch of little ones all in one pool. For a while, every cast produced a strike in that pool. I tried other spots and got nothing.

Overall, the fishing was fun but not great. If you could keep from getting tangled in the many trees, the dry fly casting was worthwhile. In general, the river was tighter here than it was at the places we stopped at further upstream.

Tanner and I started hiking back after noon. Much warmer today and my legs were feeling tired. Tanner also seemed tired. He needed some encouragement to keep going up the steep hills. We stopped a lot more today, taking time to wade in the river where we could. Lots of biting bugs prevented napping.

Near the end of the trail, we took the alternate loop to #23. It was a steep climb and not as interesting as the way we took before.

We stopped at the Deadman's Hill Overlook and got a good view of the valley. It looks like driving the road might be a good way to fish the river more completely.

Just as I was packing the truck, we had a cloudburst of heavy rain. I laughed at the timing of it.

We also stopped at the Jordan River Fish Hatchery and saw millions of lake trout in the pools.

Jordan River Streamlevel Data:

 

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