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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So last year I fished on the Thornapple for a few hours and had good fishing experience...meaning I catched a few nice size bass. But when I've asked other fishers if they fish on the Thornapple, I don't hear much about it being such a "good river" to fish on. Not that it's dirty or anything just that there's not much going on there...anyone else think otherwise? Or was I just lucky that day? :confused:
 

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The T-apple is a tough river to fish really... no good public access for boats other than canoes. And most of it's shoreline is private property. I have had luck fishing from the shore at the park in Alaska though. I know of a guy who actually caught a 40" musky just below the rapids there.
 

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THornapple is good fishing, like Mike said, it's the getting a boat on it that's the difficult part. I insure a guy that lives on it just below the dam in Cascade and one of these days, I'm going to take up his offer to wade in there and fish some of those holes.
 

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I saw that they had it drained way down a few weeks ago. Looked like it had a bunch of old dead-heads lining the river channel. I've been wondering about accessing this water for some time now, and with either the kayak or canoe, I think I can make it down to some good fishing.
 

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We used to go to the backwaters of the dam off of old 28th street. There is a spot on Berger street where there is a large drainage pipe that goes under the road. You can step across the metal road side barriers/protectors and fish along the shore. But you need to make note of the no parking signs on the street and park up closer to the next street. My husband used to catch channel cats there from casting off the end of the pipe. I would fish a little further down around some trees over the water and some in the water. Over the years Ive caught a number of small mouth bass, a couple large mouth, come crappie, tons of bluegills and sunfish, had a couple catfish myself on there. And I usually only cast about 10 ft from the bank if not closer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I will agree with everyone about the tough access to that river. Fortunatly for me, my boss' property has a trail into the river...and well I think after reading all these posts about it indeed being hard to access, I may need to bribe my boss to allow me to fish on his backyard more often...muhahaha :evilsmile. I'll ask around for spots though...I think there's a public place to fish in Middleville. But yeah, if anyone rents canoes in the area let me know...I'd like to look into fishing in a canoe on the Thornapple!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
dtg said:
THornapple is good fishing, like Mike said, it's the getting a boat on it that's the difficult part. I insure a guy that lives on it just below the dam in Cascade and one of these days, I'm going to take up his offer to wade in there and fish some of those holes.
And you should take up his offer...I tell ya there's tons of fish in there!
 

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Grew up fishing the Thornapple between Middleville and Hastings. Still make a couple trips out that way every year. always catch fish. There is some good access for wading out that way. Used to rent canoe's from Indian vally campground in Caledonia, Float from below the dam in Middleville back to Caledonia.

FITB
 

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They just renovated the launch in Middleville (upstream of the dam) and it's alot easier to get a full size boat in now. The launch in Irving is in pretty good shape too. I fish the stretch from Middleville to Irving a couple of times each year and do well every time out. Smallmouth, largemouth, and pike are what I target and I usually catch enough fish to keep me happy. You can rent canoes from Indian Valley, I thought they had a launch there that you can pay to use but I'm not 100% sure. There used to be a canoe rental in Hastings but I'm not sure if they are still in business or not. Worse case you can launch in Thornapple Lake and I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the river is open and passable all the way to the Irving dam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Driving up from Battle Creek back to the office in Hastings this afternoon I found a spot lol. In fact by the Thornapple Manor sort of off of M79 I saw a bridge and what looked to be a public acces "park" for fishing. In fact it wasn't completly on private property and looks perfect for fishing both off the bridge and shore. Also the river isnt too deep so it'd be perfect for wading. There's even a place to park your vehicle and picnic tables. I immediatly called my boss and asked him about the place and indeed it's a public access area. So I'll have to try that sometime soon and I'll let you all know how that goes :coolgleam
 

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There are a number of access points in and around Hastings. You can access the mouth of the river by launching from Charlton Park on Thornapple lake. The nest access down stream would be the park you mentioned. The next is a park with a board walk on the river and a paved boat launch. It is located behind the Industrial Incubator on State street on the west side of Hastings. The next access is in the heart of hasting in a park that also has a nature trail along the river. after that is a boat launch off of Airport road just north of Hastings. I have never floated any farther then that. Hopes this helps.

These are fun areas to fish have fun!
 

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this reminds me I've always wanted to launch at the dam in Middleville and fish the trees/stumps of the backwater.Sure looks sweet from the road. I herd theres hammerhandles and specs in it but don't hear much.
 

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The backwaters in Middleville are awesome during the winter for pike. Lots of hammerhandles like you said but I've watched guys run back and forth on flags for hours. I've always done better in or near the main river channel in the summertime for pike and smallies. I've caught gills and largemouth back in the backwaters but nothing to brag about. Never tried for crappie, I'll have to do that next time I'm out there.
 

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I see people fishing below the dam by 84th St. all the time. Anybody know what they are fishing for there? I waded down stream from 84th last summer and caught a few smallies on flies.
 

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There is a campground between Middleville and Hastings called Whispering Waters. This is a great family oriented campground. If you go south on M-37 (aka east beltline, Broadmoor) you go just south of the Barry County Fair Grounds and take a left on Irving Road. Campground is 1/4 mile up Irving. They rent canoes, kayaks (my favorite), and tubes. They take you upstream and you float/paddle back to the campground. They will take you as far up as Thornapple Lake (8 hour float), to Hastings ( 4 hr float), or Airport road (1 hr float). The trip usually takes me twice the float time if I am fishing. The upper river by the lake has some muskies and pike. The rest of the river has some walleye and pike, a very occasional trout (in some spots with springs) and lots of small mouth and rock bass. This is a great float from now until it gets cold in the fall. Bring a headnet in case you hit the fly season. I would recommend a beetle spin with a yellow jig head and either a white or yellow mister twister grub. Bring several rigs as your will most likely loose some in the snags.

Look for changes in water depth, even a change of one foot deeper in an area will hold fish.

It might be fun to get a few of us from the site togther for a float. This stretch of river is a blast.
 

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I have always wondered why the DNR hasn't added more launch sites for the Thornapple river. I realize its mostly private, but I'm surprised they haven't picked up a little additional access spots over the last 20-30 years?. Its a ok river for pike, crappies, bass, and back in the day it was great for the sucker runs. A nice lazy river for canoes and small boats.
As far as fishing below 84th st? back some 25 years ago we used to fish down there and you could catch a big pike on occassion. I remember kids tubing over that dam..ah the good ole days :D
 

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I've caught some nice catfish below the 84th st. dam. Also heard of some nice smallies and believe it or not, brown trout, coming out of there. A couple of years ago in the spring two kids caught a 6lb brown from beneath the dam in Middleville, Frank used to have a picture of it hanging up in the shop, probably still does. I'm game for a float trip sometime this summer if someone wants to put one on, sounds like fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Niiiiiiiiice! Just lovin' this thread guys...lovin'. it. Great info, hopefully this summer we can all post some fishing pix from the Thornapple. There's got to be a trophy in that river some where ta hee hee :p !
 
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