Platte River Fly Fishing In Michigan
The Platte River is a small to medium size tributary to Lake Michigan run with both steelhead and salmon. It is also a fine trout fishery with good hatches of mayflies, caddis, and stoneflies. Its waters are clear and thin in most areas creating challenging fly fishing conditions for steelhead. The rivers resident trout are less wary and can be caught on a multitude of different flies.
The Platte River originates above Bronson Lake. After flowing into and out of Bronson Lake it then flows through Platte Lake and eventually terminates at Lake Michigan. The water between Bronson Lake and Platte Lake is the most popular and best area to fish this river. The water here runs cool and clear. The bottom of the river consists mostly of gravel and sand. Fallen trees, cut banks, and sharp bends all help to create areas for the resident population of trout to hide.
The upper reaches closer to Bronson Lake are tight and casting can be difficult. Trout can be found in good numbers most of which are small in size averaging approximately 10 inches. As you head down stream the Platte gets larger, widening to 30 or 40 feet near Maple City Road, which is approximately two miles downstream from Bronson Lake.
The farther downstream someone ventures, the better the fishing is for steelhead and salmon. A few miles above Platte Lake, the river becomes larger widening to 45-65 feet. The river depth increases and more holding water can be found. Gravel runs create beautiful spawning grounds for steelhead and salmon. These deeper runs and pools also hold larger resident trout some of which reach tremendous lengths for a river of this size. The hatches become stronger with more suitable habit for the insects to flourish.
The Platte River, from Bronson Lake to Platte Lake, is approximately 10 miles long and is all productive water. Trout can be found throughout the entire stretch while salmon and steelhead are found best in the lower reaches. The river above Route 31 east of Honor is closed after September 30th. Check the Special Regulations for details on this section and others located on the Platte River.
Below Platte Lake the river slows in pace and access becomes more difficult without a boat or float tube. This area is not as productive due to the lack of good holding water. Sure, tremendous numbers of migratory fish come through this area and there is also resident trout but the opportunities are less.
Access to the Platte River can be found at many bridge crossings and parking areas off of Route 31, Maple City Road, as well as other side roads. A couple of good areas are found off of Goose Road (Goose Road is found off of Route 31 east of Honor). There is a campground with access as well as a bridge crossing along this road.
Trout and steelhead fishing on the Platte is very good and at times it can be technical. Trout fishing on the Platte River can be done with a variety of flies. These resident trout are a little less selective then they are on other rivers but “matching the hatch” will usually increase your odds. The Brown Drake and Hexagenia Limbata (Michigan Caddis) hatches will bring up some of the larger resident trout during late spring and early summer. Most steelhead anglers use a floating line with a long leader and split shot with water depths never getting to deep or strong to fish in this fashion. Egg patterns, nymphs, and wet flies catch a good share of steelhead here each year.
The Platte River is another one of Michigans finest. It offers the angler a variety of opportunities from small, resident trout to the much sought after migratory steelhead and salmon that make their way in each year from Lake Michigan.