Trip Report Hemingway Country

My son and I and a friend visited Hortons Bay, Michigan last week. That was where Hemingway summered as a boy and where many of his Nick Adams stories are set. We spent a frustrating afternoon fishing Hortons Creek. Hemingway learned to fish in Hortons Creek. There are several pictures of Hemingway with Hortons Creek brook trout. A Hemingway short story character Nick Adams muses about fishing Hortons Creek after a rain. We struck out. The creek's wadeable water below town is private property and off limits to fishing. In the Nick Adams Preserve above town, the creek's marl bottom is unwadeable, the water is gin-clear and the fish are skittish. Brush along the steam and low hanging branches made casting very difficult. I had fish turn away from a size 16 Adams and a size 18 Black Ant and spooked several others while trying to get into position to cast.


The next day we drove an hour east of Hortons Bay to the Black River. The Black was a Hemingway favorite. He mentions it in many of his letters and in some stories. We found brook trout below Tin Shanty Bridge on the upper Black but it was very brushy.

brushyblackriver.jpg We did better in an open stretch of the Black along Chandler Dam Road (a Hemingway camping spot) catching brook trout of 6-12 inches fishing size 12 Letort Hoppers and size 14 yellow humpies.

Hemingway used a Bamboo Hardy Fairy fly rod and a Hardy St George Reel but he mostly fished wetflies and sometimes bait. At the end of the trip we decided to put our Granger and Phillipson fly rods to work swinging wetflies on the Hardwood Creek Stretch of the Black.


This beautiful native brook trout hit a McGinty (one of Hemingway's favorite patterns) dangled in a brushy pocket. Hemingway's description of a book trout caught by Nick Adams in The Last Good Country says it all: "He was strong and heavy in Nick's hands and he had a pleasant smell and Nick saw how dark his back was and how brilliant his spots were colored and how bright the edges of his fins were. There were white on the edge with a black line behind..."


Next year we're heading for the upper peninsula of Michigan to fish the Fox River which was the setting for Hemingway's "Big Two Hearted River" story.


Very nice The Nick Adams stories is one of my all time favorite books I can read those stories over and over again I grew up the same way fishing small creeks full of fish and no one around in what I felt was the last good country and now looking back I know it was


Anywhere ~ Anytime
Interesting thread.. I've retraced some of his haunts myself.

For additional room to air out line keep in mind the Sault Ste Marie rapids (Best Rainbow Trout Fishing in the world)
Didn't have enough time Ron. Will have to save the Rapid for the next trip. The American Museum of Fly Fishing published a diary Hemingway kept on a June 1916 hike to the Bear Creek, the Boardman and the Rapid River. Hemingway said "The Rapid is the prettiest fastest trout fishing stream I have ever tried."

What's the Rapid like?
It's very interesting (read challenging) water; at least it was for me when I tried a couple of spots years ago.... Absolutely filled with old, logged pines creating a nightmare of obstacle-course wading & trying to get a drift of more than 4/5 feet. Again - at least for me in those very fishy-looking spots...
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Anywhere ~ Anytime
The mainstem Rapid starts at Rugg Pond, where the old powerhouse cited once stood. Rocky with gradient makes for the quick pace, and it is tight over most of it's course. Lower down offers a bit more room. Ending it's journey when joining the Torch River. It's connected to BIG deep inland lakes.. making anything (well, almost) possible. Multiple world record fish. Muskie and Smallmouth Bass haunt the mouth area, along with (seasonal) Rainbows, Browns.. and now even land locked Atlantics. They can and do explore up stream. Some resident trout in the system, including Brookies.

Many thanks for posting that link Dave.. very nice

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