By Dylan Cook

For many, the opening day of trout season is a woodsmen’s holiday only rivaled by the opening day of deer season. The last Saturday of April, which falls on the 27th this year, will see anglers from across the state head to the river in search of the many trophy trout that live in our rivers. The greater Cadillac area has unparalleled opportunity to catch trophy rainbow and brown trout. Certain rivers also hold healthy populations of native brook trout. Although there are many access points an angler can go on Saturday, through my personal experience, there are a few noteworthy spots that will give anglers the best chance to find success.


The Manistee River Trail– this 8-mile trail system that follows the Manistee River under Hodenpyl Dam. There are many different spots an angler can access along this trail. Starting at the Suspension Bridge and you will find beautiful scenery and tremendous fishing go hand in hand with each other. Here you can get away from the crowds while relaxing alone on the river.


Dobson Bridge, Pine River– a popular spot later in the summer for kayakers to launch, this access site is for the angler who wants quality over quantity. There are large, hungry trout calling the river around the bridge home- all one needs to do is float a worm or spinner in front of these trophy brown and rainbow trout.


Clam River Park– the Clam River is the most well-known brook trout fishery in the area. This Blue-Ribbon trout stream bolsters large numbers of large beautiful brookies and very wadable waters. The new campground at this site provides a home base for an angler wishing to fish all weekend. While tight, the clear waters of the Clam River provide excellent fly fishing.


Elm Flats, Pine River– this access point to the Pine is an ideal location for fishing with a worm. The sometimes muddier waters of the Pine hide these fish from the angler. The tenacious brown trout that call these waters home are often eager to take a fisherman’s lure.


Tippy Dam– I would be remiss if I left this off the list. The steelhead run will still be hot and heavy by the time of the trout opener, meaning the river will be full of both fish and fishermen. This world class fishery has amazing opportunities to fight and land the hard fighting fish.



Dylan Cook – Lifelong Cadillac area resident and avid outdoors-man. Currently a student at Western Michigan University