DNR acquires prime fishing and recreation property

“What’s with all this weirdo weather lately?”

If this current weather pattern, icy hard or slushy soft, finds you as one of the confused, then we have some great news for you to help you weather the “winter willies” until trout season comes back. That news includes the adding of some top fishing water to your opportunities this spring.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) just took ownership of 280 acres of land within the Manistee River Watershed. What makes it special is that it is located within some already state-owned land and will add both Manistee River and Fife Lake Creek frontage within the Cadillac area in Northeastern Wexford County, 16 miles north of Cadillac.

“This has to be one of the top10 units we have for scenic values and diversity,” said Bill Sterrett, forest management spokesman for the Cadillac district. “The land is a mix of wetlands, bogs, uplands and hardwoods – with aspen, jack pine, and northern hardwoods.”

The wetlands are used by waterfowl, muskrat and beaver’ and the upland forestlands support a variety of both game and non-game species from song birds to game birds such as grouse and woodcock. Deer offer big game as well as small game hunting from rabbit and hare to squirrels. Trapping offers another wildlife activity. “To have that much land and access to it makes this an outstanding acquisition,” Sterrett said.

The acquisition adds 1,000 feet of frontage on the Manistee River as it flows through the 280-acre parcel of land acquired from the Van Der Sys Trust with a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. As noted, the site offers a myriad of natural features, and opportunities for a variety of fishing. A broad range of both fish and game species can be found on the property and within the Manistee River corridor that flows through this area.

Also include in the acquired property is 1,000 feet of frontage on a tributary to Fife Lake Creek, a 90-acre bog complex, deer wintering yard and range, and surrounding wooded uplands that offer a richness of diversified wildlife habitat.

“This is one of those land acquisitions that just make sense,” said Mark Tonello, a fisheries management biologist with the DNR. “The Manistee River in this area is stunningly beautiful, not to mention the fishing is fantastic. There are trophy-sized brown trout just waiting to be caught.” Once word gets out, the wait won’t be long before lines are cast into these waters.

“The Fisheries Division of the DNR and the Walton Junction Sportsman’s Club stock this section of the river with brown trout. Additionally, anglers catch rainbow trout, walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass,” Tonello added.

According to Bill Sterrett, recreational opportunities are almost unlimited and include hunting, fishing, trapping, swimming, boating, camping, berry picking, mushroom hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing and bird watching.

He noted this new addition to the state forest offers, “Everyone from individuals to families something for anyone with a love for the outdoors” said Sterrett. “This property is a gem that was made possible from funds from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.”

The acquisition will contribute to the Department’s goals of consolidating State ownership, limiting land fragmentation, securing fishery and wildlife habitat, and enhancing forest management and public recreation opportunities.