Trip report by Kristen Salathiel; photos by John Heiam
Summer is over; the bulk of the tourists have returned to their work-a-day lives, the days are getting shorter while the nights are getting cooler. Some of summer is always left behind, however, in the reeds and logjams of area rivers. The Traverse Area Paddle Club is doing their part, though, to search out and dispose of all that summer trash. Sunday, September 10th, they set their sights on the Lower Platte. Twelve of us were there bright and early. We set off and I was quite surprised to see that we were not the only ones on the river. I have been on numerous paddle trips -- many of them on the Lower Platte - -but apparently I have never been there during salmon season. The fish -- and the fishermen -- were incredible. Huge schools of giant fish were swimming upstream and scores of men and women in waders were out to catch them. And they were succeeding! As someone said, "How could you NOT catch a fish today?"
We dodged fishing lines and tried not to spook the fish too much as we made our way down the river. Despite all feeling that the river really was pretty clean, especially given that it was the end of the season, we still pulled out several bags full of garbage. Our bags when we pulled out held water bottles, beer cans, flip-flops, a nice yellow handkerchief, a little minnow net, kids' sandals -- all the usual detritus left over from a summer of fun in Northern Michigan.
The cleaning crew: Lois Goldstein, Matt Medina, Sue Jennings, Kurt Reinhart, Terry MacKay, Kristen Salathiel, marlene Puska, John Heiam, Lindy Barnes, Doug Barnes, John Walton & Piper (Tracie Lord had already taken off to run the shuttle)
This is what we found before we got to the fish weir (lunch spot).
Notice the line of fisherman standing in the water just below the weir!
This is why all the fisherman are in this spot. The black spot in the water is a run of salmon.
This is what we collected in the afternoon.