Its just getting light in the east as you pull on your waders. A few birds are chirping to welcome the dawn. It takes a few minutes to gather all of the gear that every trout fisherman must don before entering the stream. The net, creel, box of flies, maybe some #8 hooks and a few “garden hackle.” Sounds like you’re ready to start.

When you get to the stream it’s a good idea to “study the water.” Hmm! No Hatches are on, so no need to tie on the #14 Adams. What will it be? Nymph, wet, streamer? Maybe one of the “garden hackle.” No, save those in case the flies don’t work. They’re always good for the last resort. Tie on the streamer and start fishing.

A Crystal Falls Catch!

The water is crystal clear. The bottom is good solid gravel. A few false casts and the streamer hits the water. A few casts later and “bang!” a brookie hits. A few moments and you land your first fish of the day. You’ll probably let the fish lay in your hand for a few minutes as you admire the beauty of a native brook trout. You remove the hook and let it return to the water. You’ll get a bigger one when you get down to your favorite spot.

Sound pretty good? Well this is what to expect when you fish the Blue Ribbon Trout Streams of Iron County. Beautiful scenery, quiet solitude and some of the best doggone fishing you’ve every experienced. Come on up and give it a try.

fishing in a boat on a river
two men fishing in a boat

Trout Streams

Michigan is blessed with an abundance of cold, quality trout waters offering 38,000 plus miles of rivers and streams, including over 12,500 miles of classic trout streams. Remarkable, 868 miles are considered premier top-quality streams, which Michigan classifies as its Blue Ribbon Trout Streams (BRTS).

A Blue Ribbon Trout Stream must meet certain standards or criteria. It must be one of Michigan’s best trout streams, be able to support excellent stocks of wild resident trout, have physical characteristics to permit fly casting but be shallow enough to wade, produce diverse insect life and good fly hatches, have earned a reputation for providing an excellent trout fishing experience and have excellent water quality.

Management of Blue Ribbon Streams by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is directed toward accommodating the needs of the trout angler, maintaining strong stocks of wild resident trout that best suit the character of each stream, maintaining and enhancing trout habitat and the natural stream environment, providing adequate public access and public frontage and preparing appropriate informational materials on these special Blue Ribbon Trout Streams of Michigan.

District 2 Blue Ribbon Trout Streams, which includes the Crystal Falls area, is the home of 6 of Michigan’s best.

  • Brule River, Iron County (M-73 to M-189)
  • Cooks Run, Iron County (US-2 to Paint River)
  • Fence River, Iron County (Junction with East Branch to downstream edge of Section 35, T45N, R31W – See Plat Book)
  • Iron River, Iron County (Raft Lake (T43N, R36W, Section 12) to City of Iron River
  • Paint River (South Branch), Iron County (Forest Road 3270 to Gibbs City
  • Ford River, Dickinson County (Upstream edge of Section 15, T43N, R30W to Henderson