The Kalamazoo River begins as a North and South branch and nothing more than a creek in east-central Michigan. It flows west through Battle Creek, where the Battle Creek River joins the Kalamazoo. Unfortunately the Army Corp of Engineers decided in the 1970's to channelize the Kalamazoo River through metro Battle Creek in an effort to prevent flooding. It is an unfortunate decision in the fact that no living thing can live in a river channelized by concrete banks and river bottom, depriving Battle Creek of a beautiful natural resource.
As the Kalamazoo River flows west, it takes an abrupt turn Northward in Kalamazoo, and continues toward Allegan and finally Saugatuck before it empties into Lake Michigan.
The Kalamazoo River has experienced many changes during its exposure to mankind. Native Americans migrated up and down the river, spending winter inland and summers at the delta in what is now Saugatuck. Archeological remains show that fish like sturgeon, drum and catfish were staples in the diet of natives peoples.
When European settlers arrived they quickly saw the potential in what was a great Midwestern river. It wasn't long before the European immigrants settled at the confluence of the Kalamzoo River, Portage and Arcadia Creeks to begin an outpost that would grow into the City of Kalamazoo.
As decades pasted, human beings continued to harnass the power of the Kalamazoo River and soon Paper Mills lined the banks of the Kalamazoo River, unfortunately using the flowing river water to carry away many toxic pollutants before a time of environmental conscience made such acts illegal.
Now, after decades of pollution and under appreciation the Kalamazoo River has come back and enjoys many miles of natural wildlife throughout it's corridor. Osprey, Bald Eagles and mink are some of the more sensitive animals that were once unable to live in the toxic pollution spewed forth by industry and are now returning and beginning to re-establish themselves.
Smallmouth bass are perhaps the most resurgant animal in the Kalamazoo River Watershed. This is due to the Kalamazoo River's great influx of ground water, good gradient creating swift current and rocky/gravel substrate. All these factors play a part in creating a river that has some of the highest bass weight per acre of any river in the world. What does that mean? Well, it means that the Kalamazoo River is packed with one the most aggressive gamefish you would ever want pulling on the end of a baited line. Smallmouth are known for their jumping ability and this trait gave rise to Jumpin' Smallie Guide Services' name and desire to put any fisherman on this beautiful river for a day of fishing.
For more information on the Kalamazoo River, or to find out how you can help and/or contribute to further cleaning efforts to restore this beautiful waterway, log on to www.kalamazooriver.net