This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue of Woods-n-Waters News.
By Drew YoungeDyke
Cold winter nights make me look forward to warm spring and summer days casting flies to gullible fish, often from behind my fly-tying bench sipping a local Michigan craft beer; there’s little more satisfying in fishing than catching a fish on a fly you tied. Before I started tying two years ago, that seemed like some mystical feat only a Jedi warrior could pull off. I’ve found that it can be simple and achievable, though, especially for the warmwater and coolwater species in most small Michigan lakes.
In the two years since I started tying flies with an Orvis starter kit, I’ve tied the trout dry flies and nymphs included in the kit, attempted complicated multi-shank streamers like the Game Changer through Bar Flies nights hosted by Schultz Outfitters, and tried some creative monstrosities that ended up in my Box of Misfit Flies, later to be stripped down to the hook for another try. This winter, I’m focusing on simple, proven flies for the bluegill, bass, and northern pike that I fish for most often.
These flies are relatively simple to tie with few materials, though tying them well – with proper silhouette and proportions – takes time and practice. Rather than spending the winter trying to tie complicated multi-material flies that are probably beyond my current ability, I’m focusing on improving how I tie these simple flies. They’re also good flies for beginners to tie and catch fish on to build confidence – and have a lot of fun - in both fly tying and fly fishing.
Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, Crappie, Perch Flies
Bluegills, pumpkinseeds, crappies, perch, and other panfish are a blast to catch on the fly. Especially in the late spring and early summer when on their beds, bluegills are eager eaters and fight hard on a light line. They’ll also take small, simple flies that are fun to tie. The same flies I tie for bluegills have been successful for me for pumpkinseeds, crappies, and perch (and even largemouth and smallmouth bass). I most often fish for bluegill with my toddler son, with a goal to catch fish to show him and let him touch before releasing them. This summer I’m also tying with the goal of letting him try to catch a few on his own. I also like to target panfish off the dock at my family cottage, or catching a few from shore before launching my canoe or float tube to target bass or pike.
The Wooly Worm is a simple, classic fly that was the origin for the Wooly Bugger. Tied on small 3x streamer hooks, it’s an excellent bluegill fly. I tied one in a peacock green chenille with an orange yarn tail and it seemed like I couldn’t let it even drop on the water without a little bluegill taking it. It also caught several pumpkinseeds and a couple perch hanging around the dock at my family’s cottage. In addition to peacock or olive green/orange, I’ll also tie it in yellow/red this winter.
Materials: Chenille, hackle, yarn, nonlead wire, small 3x streamer hook
Tying process: I wrap 6 to 7 wraps of nonlead wire, depending on the hook size, and tie it in with the thread, then wrap the thread back to the bend of the hook. I cut a small tuft of yarn and tie it in at the tail. This can be longer now and trimmed later. Next, I tie in the small dry fly hackle and chenille, and wrap the thread forward to the just behind the hook eye. Wrap the chenille forward to the eye and tie it down with a couple tight wraps, then trim off the excess in front of the wrap. Palmer the hackle forward and tie it off with a couple tight wraps, and trim off the excess. Whip finish and then trim off the yarn tail in proportion to the fly to fan out. This fly can also be tied with a nonlead bead head.
This classic bluegill fly may be one of the simplest flies to tie and can be tied in a variety of colors; I’ll focus on orange and black this winter, maybe green, too. It pretty consistently catches bluegills and pumpkinseeds for me. Last summer, I even caught a 14” smallmouth on a little orange foam spider while fishing for bluegills.
Materials: Small dry fly hook, foam, round rubber
Tying process: Cut a small piece of foam about the length of the hook, or just a little longer. Taper the head to wedge narrow enough to tie down and round the tail. Start the thread in the middle of the hook and tie down the foam. Tie in two strands of round rubber legs on each side. Move the thread up toward the eye and tie down the narrow strip of foam to form the head. Whip finish.
Bully Bluegill Spider
This is a new fly for me that I intend to solve a very specific situation. Often when fishing with Noah off a dock or a public fishing pier in a little inland lake, the little bluegills are visible all over. I know I’m on the clock before my toddler loses interest, and I just want to get a fish in front of him quickly. Sometimes I’ve dangled every fly I have in front of these little fish who have seen everything and would probably prefer a little worm, with few takers, as most of my flies are designed to move and, well, they’re just right there.
Materials: Small dry fly hook, nonlead wire, chenille, round rubber legs.
Tying process: Wrap the nonlead wire toward the bend of the hook and wrap it back over itself to create a small ball. Tie in the thread toward the hook eye and back over and behind the nonlead wire, building a small thread dam behind and in front to prevent the nonlead wire from sliding on the hook. Tie in the chenille behind the nonlead wire and bring the thread up to the front of the hook, about an eye’s length behind the eye. Wrap the chenille tightly over the nonlead wire and down the hook, secure the chenille with a couple tight thread wraps, and cut off the excess. Take a length of round rubber legs and fold it in half. Tie in at the midpoint, which should form a loop of round rubber at the front. Fold this loop back and wrap over it to create a head. Whip finish. Snip the rubber loop and trip the four rubber legs to even lengths.
My friend Dan Macut also ties flies for panfish and is pretty successful at catching them, too. He recommends a simple foam hopper pattern as his first choice.
“I use a size 10 streamer hook for most of my panfish flies,” he recommends. “I like a slightly wider hopper and only use one piece of foam folded over trying to keep it thinner allowing for more and better hook-ups. I add some deer hair for wings and keep the rubber legs on the longer side...I think they act like outriggers and to the bugginess of the fly. Colors don't seem to matter, but bright colors help you see your fly. I sometimes pay attention to the hatch and I might try to match the color of their current meal of choice. Last year there were a bunch of black dragonflies on my favorite lake and a black hopper seemed to work better.”
Whether you’re just starting out tying flies – or if, like me, you just want to get back to the basics and catch some fish – these simple panfish patterns are easy to tie and effective on bluegills, pumpkinseeds, and black crappie. Pop open a Michigan beverage and tie some up this winter and try them out on some fun and delicious panfish this summer.
Next Month: Simple Bass Flies
This article was originally published on Adventure Journal on October 26, 2021.
By Drew YoungeDyke
Imagine being a skier waiting all summer and fall for fresh powder. You obsessively check your forecast apps, check your equipment, wax your skis. Finally, that magic day arrives. You drive to the trailhead only to find a sign that says, “trail closed due to snow.” That’s how Michigan surfers felt this summer when a proposed Department of Natural Resources executive order would have restricted water entry from state park and recreation areas on the Great Lakes during high wave conditions.
The wildest wilderness in Michigan is the water that surrounds it: the Great Lakes. Michigan’s coastline stretches for 3,288 miles – second only to Alaska in the United States – along four of the five Great Lakes, themselves encompassing 94,600 square miles. A third of Michigan’s more than 100 state parks provide access to the Great Lakes, where full wetsuit-clad and ice-bearded surfers can access waves provided when the wind, fetch, and all the stars align....
Read the full article on Adventure Journal here: www.adventure-journal.com/2021/10/how-a-bunch-of-michigan-surfers-yep-got-together-to-save-their-sport/
Caption: The author taking a surfing lesson from Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak on Lake Michigan. (Jordan Browne)
By Drew YoungeDyke
Great Lakes drownings are on the rise along with increased participation in outdoor recreation. As people unfamiliar with the dangerous conditions that the Great Lakes can harbor walk piers on high wave days or swim unaware of rip currents, 109 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year, including 56 in Lake Michigan. Already in 2021, 34 people have drowned in the Great Lakes.
It's a serious issue and action should be taken to reduce these incidents. Unfortunately, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)'s proposed action to ban all water entry on "red flag" days misses the mark by needlessly - and likely inadvertently - restricting surfing, which has never accounted for a drowning incident since the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project began tracking Great Lakes drownings in 2010.
The Michigan DNR has proposed a Land Use Order intended to reduce Great Lakes drownings at its state parks and recreation areas by adopting a rule that a person may not "Exit the state managed beach area for the purpose of entry into the water when entry is prohibited by signage and/or communication by a department employee or their designee."
Its rationale is explained in the background section of the proposed order:
"Recently, safety rescues at Great Lake beaches have occurred at times when the “Red Flag” is flying indicating that wave height is 3-5 feet, or higher, lake conditions are high risk and dangerous. Meaning people are not adhering to the water safety measures and education provided by the Department and are still entering the water. Even more alarming is the observations of people entering the water during these dangerous conditions while a water rescue is occurring."
This is happening despite the department taking preventative steps such as: "buoyed swimming areas, flag warning systems, throw rings and vast amounts of education on water safety."
What this list does not include is hiring and training lifeguards to monitor beaches and provide real-time warnings to beachgoers about dangerous conditions and response in case of distressed swimmers. The DNR is not proposing to hire lifeguards, either. Instead, they will restrict water entry from state park and state recreation beaches on red flag days, described as when waves reach 3-5 feet. However, that's often the minimum wave height needed for Great Lakes surfers to catch and ride waves. By restricting "entering the water" on those days - instead of just restricting "swimming" or "wading" - the DNR will be effectively prohibiting surfing at state parks and recreation areas on the only days with surfable waves.
I'm pretty new to surfing, even though I've been swimming in the Great Lakes my whole life, so I'm still learning about the conditions necessary for surfing the Great Lakes. What I've learned so far, though, from more experienced surfers, is that the best days to surf the Great Lakes are often the worst days for swimming. I can get paddling and stand-up sequence practice as a beginner in smaller waves and flat water, but that's all practice for actually riding bigger waves. The Great Lakes don't have a tide, so all waves are generated by the wind. Wind direction, timing, and fetch all must come together for waves to be big enough to ride, and it's often best when the weather is the worst - like on red flag days.
However, since the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project began tracking Great Lakes drownings in 2010, not a single one of the more than 980 drownings has been related to surfing. This may seem counterintuitive until you realize what goes into trying to surf the Great Lakes. Even as a beginner, I've had to learn about rip currents, fetch, and the bathometry of the lakes. To stay warm and afloat, my equipment includes a 5/4/3 hooded wetsuit with 7mm booties and mitts, and a 10-foot soft-top surfboard to which I'm tethered by an ankle leash.
More experienced surfers usually ride smaller boards, but they are also tethered to a floating object in wetsuits which keep them warm, and they have an even better understanding of both the conditions which generate waves and the dangers they create. Rather than needing rescue, they're frequently the ones rescuing swimmers caught by rip currents or pier walkers swept off by waves. Since the DNR isn't proposing to hire lifeguards, having surfers in the water on those days would be much more likely to prevent drownings than cause any.
In analyzing the drownings that have occurred so far this year and last year in Michigan, as documented by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, the DNR order as written would only address a fraction of the situations that have led to drownings (which could be better addressed with lifeguards) while effectively prohibiting an activity - surfing - which has not led to any drownings.
In the five Great Lakes drownings that have occurred in Michigan this year, none were from swimming during red flag days. One was from ice fishing, two were pier wash-offs or falls, one was a boater, and one was a body found. In the 26 Great Lakes drownings that occurred in Michigan last year, 5 were described pier wash-offs/jumping off pier, one was a missing person who washed ashore, one was unstable ice, one from swimming off a boat, one from kayaking, and 16 from swimming. 8 of the swimmers were described by the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project as swimming on either red flag days or in high waves/dangerous currents, and it noted that no lifeguard was on duty for 7 of them, with no mention of a lifeguard on the other.
Eight of the drownings could have been prevented had swimmers not gone into the water on days with high waves, dangerous currents, or with red flags posted. An order such as the one the DNR is proposing may have prevented them, but so too could lifeguards have prevented them with a real-time warning, observation of the swimmers before they got into trouble, and possibly rescue after. The DNR's proposed order would not have prevented the pier wash-offs, or swimmers going too far out or too deep on calmer days. Lifeguards could have.
I do not take any of the drownings lightly, and I think all that we can do to educate people about the Great Lakes conditions and place trained lifeguards on beaches should be done. I was almost a drowning victim when I was twelve years old and camping with my aunts and cousins on Lake Superior. I was caught by a rip current and carried out from shore, struggling to get back. My older cousin swam out and helped me back, swimming flat on the surface of the water. It was terrifying. I support the goal of the DNR to prevent this experience from happening to others.
Good policy is narrowly tailored to address the problem to be solved with minimal collateral impacts. As currently worded, the DNR's proposed land use order might prevent a fraction of the drownings that occur while inadvertently prohibiting surfing at state parks and recreation areas, denying an opportunity for Michiganders to pursue a sport that provides a deep connection to the Great Lakes, requires intricate knowledge of its conditions, and a strong respect for its dangers.
The proposed order could be improved to prevent more drownings without prohibiting surfing by explicitly exempting surfing from the order. There is precedent for this in other places which have enacted red flag ordinances to protect swimmers from themselves. For instance, Destin and Panama City Beach, Florida exempt surfing from their city ordinances against entering the water during double red flag days. Panama City Beach requires surfers to be tethered to their boards for the exemption:
"Recognizing the important role surfers play in aiding distressed swimmers, the City Council exempted surfers attached by a leash to a surfboard. However, rubber rafts, floats, belly boards, skim boards and boogie boards are not considered surf boards."
Similar exemptions for leashed surfers exist in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Chicago allows surfing at specific beaches on Lake Michigan "at your own risk," recognizing that "conditions that may be “ideal” for surfing may be deemed “red flag days” for swimming. This means that the water is not safe for swimming because it is dangerous."
The DNR could prevent even more drownings, provide a safer experience for beachgoers, and boost local employment opportunities by training and hiring lifeguards at state park and recreation area beaches. However, if that is not currently on the table, they can follow the lead of ocean municipalities with red flag ordinances for swimmers already on the books which have long exempted surfing in recognition of both the nature of the sport, the ability of its participants, and especially in preventing drownings, which is the goal for all of us.
By Drew YoungeDyke (Originally published in the May 2021 issue of Woods-n-Waters News)
On vacation on Kauai a few years ago, I took a surf lesson on Hanalei Bay from Titus Kinemaka’s Hawaiian School of Surfing. As a souvenir, I bought a ballcap from the surf shop with his name and the words “Kai Kane” on it, meaning “waterman.” I’ve seen the term waterman used often since then as I’ve read more about surfing, referring to someone who makes a living from the water like lifeguards, guides, and surfing instructors, and is well-rounded in water sports like surfing, stand-up paddling, paddling kayaks and canoes, fishing, diving, sailing, and swimming. I’ve wondered often how the concept of a waterman – or waterwoman – would translate to Michigan’s Great Lakes and inland waters.
Waterman seems to be a term that is more than the sum of its definitions. It’s a term of reverence. It’s used for people like Duke Kahanamoku – the “Father of Surfing” – who won several Olympic gold medals for the United States and set world records in swimming in the early Twentieth Century, popularized surfing around the world, and once rescued 24 people from an overturned boat off the California coast. Or Eddie Aikau, a big-wave surfer and the first lifeguard at Hawaii’s famed Waimea Bay, who rescued hundreds as a lifeguard and died himself while paddling his surfboard for help to rescue his crew of an overturned replica of an ancient catamaran in 1978. More recently, the term is used for people like Kai Lenny, a champion surfer and kiteboarder from Hawaii who once kiteboarded across Lake Michigan.
As best I can tell, waterman is an aspirational concept that you can’t really just call yourself. It’s not like saying “I hunt and fish, so I’m an outdoorsman.” It seems to be more like when all the other hunters and anglers say, “we all hunt and fish, but old so-and-so is a true outdoorsman.” It’s not just reserved for men, either – it’s one of those terms that isn’t gender-specific in common usage even though it literally is written as such. A waterman seems to be someone inextricably connected with the water. With 3,288 miles of Great Lakes coastline, over 51,000 river miles, and over 11,000 inland lakes, I know there are some men and women in Michigan for whom waterman might be an apt descriptor. I asked a few folks who I know and think embody that term what it means to them in a Michigan context.
Brian Kozminski is a fly-fishing guide and the owner of True North Trout in Boyne City, a sales rep for Temple Fork Outfitters, and a river rafting guide for Jordan Valley Outfitters:
“I am not a waterman in the aspect of being a lifeguard or surfer, unless you dig deeper into the definition of life guard - I protect and look out for the well-being of my inland lakes and rivers, the voice or the guardian of these sacred places that carry so much vitality. The rhythms of the waves or the flow of a river are a part of me, they are my serenity and it is near the water that I feel connected to life and being alive. So I guess in that sense, I am a surfer, with my children as we seek out adventure along the Great Lakes in a canoe or SUP, or in a stream where we turn over a rock to inspect the macroinvertebrate life that resides in these hallowed spaces. These rivers and lakes give me purpose and fulfill my soul - thereby, I am a waterman.”
Brian’s answer gave me a lot to think about. There’s an inescapable element of conservation in it. I’ve fished with Brian and, drifting down the Manistee River, he knew every eddy, every current, every cut bank. He understands the water and what’s happening in it. And he lives it, from recreation to conservation. He’s active in several conservation organizations like Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Trout Unlimited, the Great Lakes Business Network, and the National Wildlife Federation. In addition to guiding anglers from his drift boat, I’ve seen him fishing from a stand-up paddleboard and you can watch him drifting a motorboat backwards down a river on Season 2 of MeatEater’s Das Boat series.
Another person I thought of was Tom Werkman, owner and guide at Werkman Outfitters on the Grand River. I asked him what it would mean to be a waterman in Michigan.
“It means I intimately have a connection to the river on which I guide, the Grand River. It means I have a responsibility, as a guide, to educate my clients on the history of the Grand, that it’s one of ruin to recovery. It means, I need to get my clients on fish so they can make a connection to the Grand. If all of this happens, it means, for me, that I have done my job of showing my clients that the Grand River is a viable urban fishing corridor worthy of protection.”
Tom, too, has an unmistakable conservation message in his definition: conserving his waters, being connected to them, and connecting others to them. I’ve also fished with Tom, and like Brian, his connection to and knowledge of his waters and their history is paramount. Tom is also a member of the Great Lakes Business Network, several conservation organizations, and has used his platform to speak up for Michigan’s public lands and against dredging the Grand River. And in addition to guiding anglers from a drift boat, he also surfs and competes in triathlons.
What does it mean to be a waterman in Michigan? While I can ponder it, it’s not up to me to define it. From two people I respect who make a living on our waters by connecting other people to them and spending their free time conserving them, though, I suspect it involves a genuine visceral connection to the water, making a living or spending a great deal of time on the water, understanding it deeply, connecting other people to it, advocating and volunteering for its conservation, and being well-rounded in water-based sports and modes of transportation.
I think there’s an element of water safety to it, too. The Great Lakes can be deadly. 30 years later, I still remember the fear of being caught in a Lake Superior rip current swimming when I was 11 or 12. I’m learning more about that and Great Lakes currents while learning about freshwater surfing. I think about that when I read about the increase in Great Lakes drownings the past few years, often people swimming out too far or being swept off piers. The great Hawaiian watermen were revered not just for their skill in water sports, but for their heroism in saving others and their deep understanding of how to safely move in the water to be able to make those rescues.
The point of this exercise is not to label people, though, as waterman or not; that’s not my call to make. It’s to think about qualities that all of us who spend time around and on the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland lakes and rivers can strive to emulate. If we fish a river, we can learn a little more about its history and ecology. If we participate in water sports, we can learn more about water safety, both for ourselves and to help others. We can learn and improve our skills at new water sports and modes of transportation so that we can be out there more often in more diverse conditions. If we spend time on the Great Lakes, we can learn more about its cycles, currents, aquatic life, and waves. We can leverage our own existing connections to the water to introduce new people to them. And we can all put more of our time, effort, and attention into conserving and protecting our waters.
By Drew YoungeDyke (Originally published in the Spring 2021 issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors)
The drive up US 23 along the Lake Huron shoreline is like a trip back in time to the glory days of northern Michigan lakeside cottages and motels for working-class Michiganders with extra money and time to spend. A faded mural proclaims Oscoda, Michigan, as “Paddletown, U.S.A.,” a town where the Au Sable River exits the Huron-Manistee National Forest and flows into Lake Huron. A town where you can boat in the Great Lakes, fly-fish the Au Sable, or swim in idyllic inland Van Etten Lake.
It’s also a town which once supported an air base, Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which operated from 1923 to 1993. The air base had a fire training area and used firefighting foam both to put out fires and for training. In recent decades, the dangers of these firefighting foams have become more widely studied as they contained a group of chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) – nicknamed the “forever chemicals” due to their failure to break down in the environment over time – and linked to a range of human health effects including cancers and reproductive harms.
The former air base – and its fire-training area – abut the Huron-Manistee National Forest and a wetland complex within it called Clark’s Marsh. Clark’s Marsh includes three ponds improved by Ducks Unlimited projects and boasts excellent wildlife habitat for waterfowl, birds, and deer, as well as warmwater fish like bluegills and pumpkinseeds. However, the PFAS contained in the firefighting foam used at Wurtsmith Air Force Base leached into the soil, where it continues to leach into Clark’s Marsh and through it to the Au Sable River, just to the other side of it.
PFAS testing has resulted in consumption advisories not just for the fish in the ponds and the Au Sable River in that area, but also for white-tailed deer within a five-mile radius around Clark’s Marsh, after a single deer was found to have high levels of PFOA (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), one of the chemicals in the PFAS family, in 2018.
Tess Nelkie is an avid fly angler, a board member of Anglers of the Au Sable, a retired teacher, and owns the Nordic Sports shop in East Tawas, which sells fishing clothing, paddling gear, and rents cross-country ski equipment. I joined her and her husband on the Au Sable River, just outside of Oscoda, in March to hear how PFAS contamination and both fish and deer consumption advisories have impacted both the community and the outdoor recreation that draws people to it.
“If you were to start at the headwaters, you’ve got a narrow trout stream with wild brook trout and as you come down here we have steelhead and Atlantic salmon, and soon to have Coho,” she tells me, as we’re standing thigh-deep in a beautiful stretch of the Au Sable within the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
“PFAS came here from the former Wurtsmith Air Force base. When they were putting out fires they used firefighting foam which had PFAS. It went into the ground, which went into the groundwater, and now those plumes in the groundwater are moving around the area. They moved into an area called Clark’s Marsh that directly flows into the Au Sable River. And then there’s another plume which directly touches the Au Sable. And through PFAS, we now have ‘Do Not Eat’ mandates for certain resident fish because they are contaminated with PFAS and it’s unhealthy for human consumption.”
Almost on queue, a patch of foam floated past us on the river. PFAS accumulates in foam on the water, though not every patch of foam is PFAS. In waters near the base, though, foam accumulates at the waters edge wherever the wind blows it: in the fallen cedars at the edges of the ponds in Clark’s Marsh; along riverbank lunker bunkers in the Au Sable; on the public park beach at Van Etten Lake, looking apocalyptic amid the foreground of empty children’s swingsets and a public water drinking fountain next to a warning sign about the foam.
The Air Force recently proposed an interim remedial action to install additional filters to catch some of the PFAS leaving the base in the direction of Clark’s Marsh, but community members content that this proposed action doesn’t address the full scope of the PFAS contamination leaving the former base and that the Air Force didn’t include community input through a Resource Advisory Board in formulating its plans. Additionally, representatives from the Air Force recently stated that they did not have to design the remedial measures to comply with Michigan’s more protective standard of PFAS clean-up. It’s left a bitter taste in the mouth of the community which once embraced the base.
“The difficult thing is that people don’t even know – at a scientific level – what the Air Force is presenting,” Nelkie said. “It seems like they’re trying to get out of prolonged, any kind of clean-up here. Recently, they released a remedial plan, and the remedial plan said it did not have to meet the Michigan standards for PFAS and PFOA.”
Gov. Whitmer sent the Air Force a letter at the end of March invoking her authority under the federal National Defense Authorization Act to require adherence to Michigan’s stronger PFAS remediation standard through an amendment in the 2019 bill sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
“The communities around Oscoda, that have been knowingly exposed to toxic PFAS from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base for over a decade, deserve assurance that clean-up will meet the highest standards and the Governor invoking this authority is a critical step in that process.” said Mike Shriberg, Great Lakes Regional Executive Director for the National Wildlife Federation, in a statement. “This added layer of accountability for the Air Force is a critical step in helping to restore trust and transparency in the clean-up process and ensure that people, wildlife, our land and water are the priority.”
Beyond the administrative wrangling, the plans, the agencies, and the laws, it still comes down to the water. The community wants clean water and the natural resources that go with it. That’s what Tess Nelkie wants to see.
“Make it so people can eat fish again. Make it so people can eat deer here. Make it so people don’t have to worry here that when they shoot a duck or if they’re hunting that they have to worry if they’re poisoning themselves by eating the wildlife.”
Drew YoungeDyke is an award-winning freelance outdoor writer and a Director of Conservation Partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation, a board member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, and a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers and the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association.
All posts at Michigan Outside are independent and do not necessarily reflect the views of NWF, Surfrider, OWAA, AGLOW, MOWA, the or any other entity.