Aug 7, 2006 by Robert Dock Stupp, via http://www.espn.com/outdoors/fishing/news/story?page=f_map_06_MI_Paint_River
IRON RIVER, Mich. Michigan is blessed with some of the cleanest, coolest and fish-friendliest trout streams in the Midwest. One river in particular the Paint in the Ottawa National Forest continues to be a top stream for producing browns and brook trout for anglers this summer.
The Paint and its cousin, the Iron River, are designated by Michigan DNR as Blue Ribbon Trout Streams.
There are two branches to the Paint, both about the same length and both containing brookies and browns. The North Branch starts from impounded Mallard Lake.
The South Branch of the Paint starts from Paint Creek Springs and crosses western Iron County. It then connects with the North Branch a mile west of Gibb City (which is a location rather than a town) at a place called the Forks. This is a beautiful spot to fish, and camping is available (beware that bears love it here, too).
A gold mine
Another spot on the Paint is the Gold Mine area. This location is talked about by trout addicts with reverence, and for good reason.
To reach it, take U.S. 2 west out of Iron River to the Gibb City Road. Take the left fork when the road forks, which is the Amvets Highway. Proceed to the Beechwood Store, then straight on the Basswood Road to the Gold Mine Road or Forest Road 3470, past the first bridge to the second bridge on the road.
Anglers can fish from the bridge, or around the bend and downstream.
Another locally-known honeyhole on the Paint is courtesy of local trout expert Gary Johnson of Iron River: “Take U.S. 2 west. Then, 1/4-mile before Highway 16, turn on a small logging road. Go 1 mile to a place called The Meadows. Ask around; it’s a good spot.”
Here’s a tip
There are remnants of old logging dams on the Paint. These form large pools, and big brookies lie beneath these structures.
Regs are very complex for the Paint, so be sure to consult the Michigan Inland Trout & Salmon Guide for the specific section(s) of the river you plan to fish.
There is a 10-inch minimum size limit for brook trout, and a 12-inch minimum for browns on the South Branch. The daily limit is “5/3,” meaning 5 trout are allowed with no more than 3 fish 15 inches or longer. Again, be sure to consult your regs pamphlet.
Fish the iron
While in the neighborhood, another option for excellent trout action is nearby Iron River. The Iron flows right through the town of the same name. Trout anglers can access it there, or access it at the Iron River RV Campsite just down the road on U.S. 2. The brook trout fishing in the Iron can be very, very good.
A good local contact for the Iron is Luckey’s Sport Shop on Spruce St. in Stambaugh (906-265-5339).
The Michigan DNR office in Crystal Falls can be reached at (906) 875-6622. The Ottawa National Forest office is (906) 265-5139.
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