Pere Marquette River
The Pere Marquette, or "PM" as it's called, is known throughout the angling world as perhaps the finest barrier-free stream in the United States. Anglers come from all over the world to test their skills in it's cold clear waters. With its beginnings in South Eastern Lake County, just West of Reed city, it meanders over 180 scenic miles to it's mouth opening into Pere Marquette Lake.

The river is named for a Jesuit missionary, Father Jacques Marquette, who spent the latter half of the 1600's exploring North America, and in particular the shores of Lake Michigan.

The upper portion of the PM, which is closed to angling after trout season, stretches 44 miles from the forks of the Little South and Middle Branches downstream to US Highway 37. A portion of these waters along with part of the main branch, totaling almost 49 miles, was designated as a "National Wild and Scenic River" in 1978. The lower main branch, totaling almost 100 miles, from M-37 downstream and a large portion of the South Branch remains open to anglers year round.

The PM Received it's first stocking of Rainbow Trout in 1876 with it's first countable return occurring almost a decade later in 1886. It has the distinction of receiving the nations first legitimate planting of Brown Trout in 1884. There's still a bit of uncertainty if the great flood prior to 1884 "stocked" Johnson's Ditch with these brown trout but without accurate historic records we can only speculate. If we want to get technical it was actually the Baldwin River that was stocked that historic 1884 day; wrong train trestle guys!!

The PM is a wonderful year round fishery, offering the opportunistic angler many ways in which to pursue his quarry on streamers, dries, wets, spey, indi, etc.. Each month brings a new challenge to the table from July Hexes to January Steelhead.

  • In 1991 over 12,000 7.04" Wild Rose strain Brown Trout were planted.
  • Prior to the introduction of the Salmonoids in the late 1800's the only cold water species to inhabit the river was the Grayling.
  • The main stream of the PM first received stocking of Brook Trout in 1882.
  • In 1895 8,000 Black Spotted Trout (a variety of Cutthroat) were planted in the Big South Branch of the PM.
  • The PM has NEVER been stocked with Chinook Salmon. The closest was the one time stocking of Coho salmon into Ruby Creek, a tributary of the Big South Branch.
  • Atlantic Salmon have been stocked with almost no success three times, 1977, 1978 and 1982.