Fishing Hole Guarding Controversy On The Pere Marquette River?

I was recently perusing a message board about an interesting topic and looked down to read some of the comments. Below this story I found this note by one its readers:

He writes:
I might add the Pere Marquette near Baldwin during the height of Salmon Season- it gets outta control with guides paying other locals to 'sleep' or camp-out on some of the best water to hold their holes until they arrive with clients. The river is for everybody- even if it is 'only salmon'. Kind of ruined it for me when I brought a first timer down the river and non-fishing people told us to keep moving....

I am very curious to know if this has been the experience of anyone else who has fished this river, or any other one like it. I have been on the PM during salmon season and can agree that there is an air of "combat fishing" on this stretch. I was not aware of the practice of non fishermen guarding holes in general, nor did I witness it myself on this occasion. Most of what I witnessed were fisherman high holing each other, or even standing on viable redds to compensate for their lousy casting. 

I was actually quite rudely rebuffed once while fishing the PM as I greeted a passing by wade fisherman while on this particular stretch. Of course, my hackles got ruffled, but the guide assured me he was a local landowner who felt it incumbent upon himself to keep the public from accessing what is a public waterway, and had recently had some legal tactics fail over this action. By the looks of his stout spinning rod and large treble hooks with thick lead weight attached, I would state that he's not one of the most sporting figures out there. Legally, we were in the right and I caught some monster fish that day.

Overall, I am aware of private landowners and their ongoing battle to curb trespassing and their push to limit access on the PM and some other popular fisheries. I have my own opinions on that, especially as it deals to the "trophy" properties creeping up along some of my favorite fisheries and the extent to which "hoarding" has crept upon some waters. However, I am deeply troubled by any practice that pushes to "lord over" public property and exclude it from others. 

Regardless, I am curious to whether anyone else has run across this new and unsavory custom. Leave a comment if you have.

Thanks for reading!



  1. I've had some run-ins with true idiots on a few of our local tailwaters over the years here in the midwest but never anything like that. I can't imagine such a great fishery being subjected to those kind of tactics just to catch a few fish. The C&R section of the PM is on my bucket list of rivers to fish someday...guess I better try to plan that trip to avoid salmon season.

  2. I'm not sure if its even the case or not, I don't think guides make that great of money. I couldn't imagine them being able to pay people to guard holes and still remain profitable.

    I would still try the salmon season, it's a lot of fun. It's like trying to reel in a cinder block.