Mayfield Pond Park: Fishing, Trails, and History in Northern Michigan
Some of our the best parks we’ve found in Michigan have been either by accident or because we were already in the same area looking for something else. On a recent trip to Northern Michigan we found a hidden gem with Mayfield Pond Park, which we stopped at on a whim while driving north on CR-611 on our way to Traverse City. As we passed through Kingsley I remembered that there was a Michigan Outdoor Writers Association plaque somewhere in the area so we looked it up and headed into Mayfield where we found this beautiful park and learned some about the area’s ties to fly fishing history.
The MOWA plaque is located near the parking area, and reads: “Honoring the Adams Fly – In 1922, ardent fly fisherman Leonard Halladay created the first Adams dry fly near his home on the banks of Mayfield pond. He named it in honor of hid good friend, Judge Charles F. Adams, another enthusiastic angler who loved to fly fish for brook and brown trout in the nearby Boardman River. The Adams fly combines brown and grizzly hackles; many trout anglers claim it is the best fly ever made. Some, in fact, declare that if they had to use only one fly for all of their trout fishing, it would be the Adams.”
A picnic pavilion sits in the woods by the parking area and is available to rent for gatherings and events. The fireplace from the old hotel that used to stand here remains as part of the pavilion.
We started walking through the park (we were the only people there) and loved how open it was. Ducks and geese made their way across the pond, which looked like a great spot for fishing. A large garter snake put on a show for us as it caught some sun in the bushes next to the pond.
This man-made pond was created by the damming of Swainston Creek, which is a tributary of the Boardman River. Equipment from the days when a sawmill was located here still remains as a nod to the area’s past.
A trail continues around the pond’s northern side to where a wooden footbridge crosses Swainston Creek. From the bridge you can see the damn and spillway as Swainston Creek continues its journey to the Boardman River (and eventually Grand Traverse Bay).
At the northwest corner of the pond we found a memorial plaque honoring Jim Sargent, who was instrumental in getting this land turned into a park that everyone could enjoy. His sister Edna was honored at the park recently for years of volunteer service and for being the go-to source for local history.
The trail continues uphill to a platform that overlooks the park. My first thought seeing this was that this would be a magnificent spot for fall color. I imagine if we had sat around here a little longer we would have seen many more birds and even some other wildlife. If you need a break on your drive north or are interested in the history of fishing in Michigan, this hidden gem park is perfect for you!
Brownson Park in Kingsley (3 miles to the south) is the host for the annual Adams Fly Festival held every year in June. An original Adams fly tied by Halladay is kept at the Kinglsey Branch Library.