By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District
You may not realize it, but we are blessed here in Southeast Michigan with an abundance of fishing opportunities. One of the more exciting and surprising opportunities can be found in the Detroit River.
Sports fishermen have long enjoyed fishing the Great Lakes for lake whitefish, a fish enjoyed for its flaky, white flesh and mild flavor. Yet these fish also used to be plentiful in the Detroit River. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the river was well known as a home to lake whitefish. Unfortunately, habitat loss, pollution, and other factors led to the decline of the whitefish in the river. The last documented spawning of the fish was in 1916.
Then, in the fall of 2005, fisheries scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service verified the presence of spawning lake whitefish and fertilized whitefish eggs.
Thanks to decades of anti-pollution efforts begun in the 1970s, the Detroit River has recovered. The river now has reproducing populations of peregrine falcons, lake sturgeon, and bald eagles and is enjoying a reputation as a world-class walleye fishery.
The Au Sable River is another fishing success story. Starting north of Grayling, the Au Sable flows for more than 100 miles and then meets Lake Huron. For at least 150 years, fishermen have descended upon the Au Sable to catch fish such as Michigan grayling, brown trout, brook trout, and rainbow trout. The Au Sable River is one of the finest trout fisheries in the nation.
Another great place to fish for rainbow and brown trout in Oakland County is the Proud Lake Recreation Area on the Huron River. Proud Lake Recreation Area covers more than 4,700 acres and offers diverse and plentiful recreational opportunities. More than 20 miles of trails cover several diverse habitats. In addition to trout, there is fishing in the lakes for bass, pike, sunfish and crappies.
Whatever your catch of choice, spring is a wonderful time to fish. And Oakland County is a great fishing destination, whether you prefer lake whitefish, walleye, trout, bass, pike or many other delicious fish.
This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.