Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report
Trout Fishing on the Upper Manistee

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing report for the first week of July and the July 4th holiday week has more sweltering heat remaining in the forcast throughout most of this week again. There are still some Hex Spinner falls in the evening, but we decided with the intense heat late last week its time to move on to other fishing opportunities that we can do during the cooler parts of the day or target warm-water species instead of trout. The recent intense heat and warm nights have made the water temps get too warm to fish for trout on most of the Upper Manistee. If you are a catch and release angler heading out in the evenings, make sure you take temps before fishing and play the fish quickly and give them lots of time to recover before releasing them.

Temperature

It’s not too often we need to preach about when or how one should be fishing, but in this heat wave you should limit your fishing to the first 4 to 5 hours of the day. The evenings and early night time water temps have been too warm on the 90 degree days as of late. Last week the Upper Manistee reached daytime highs of 72-73 degrees in all sections below Yellow trees. Please do not fish in those sections this week that go over 70 during the heat of the day, give the fish a break until this heat wave moves on. This type of weather is the number one reason why we teamed up with TU to get a river monitoring gauge established around the CCC Bridge area last year. Please use this link here for temp and flow data this summer to help you remotely monitor water temperature before you even head out to the river.

If the temps are going to go past 70 degrees for the daytime high, it’s probably just best to stay home. Last week the amount of safe cold water was really constrained to the sections above Yellow Trees, typically it will be 3-4 degrees colder than the current reading at the monitoring station. Above M72 appears to maintain temps 4-5 degrees cooler than the current readings at the monitoring station. These numbers are not exact and you should still use a thermometer to check the temps before fishing in those sections.

Hex Hatch

This past week the Hex hatch was feeling like it was showing signs of slowing down. We had a few spinner events and one hatch by the middle of last week and due to the heat wave we called off the dogs. The 2020 Hex hatch was good overall, lots of great fish were caught and plenty of new stories were made to be shared again on future trips. As we move forward from here we will be starting our hopper trips after this heat wave moves on and spending some time after dark chasing some fish that we couldn’t connect on during the the Hex hatch. We are already looking forward to chasing the Hatches again in 2021!

There will still be some remnant Hex spinners over the next week I’m sure, but as things come back to normal on the temperature scale we should still see some Light Cahills and Isonychia Spinners in the evenings and the Summer Olives and Trico’s in the mornings. Fishing Hoppers/Terrestrials on the Upper Manistee during the late summer months can be a great way to spend the day taking in everything she has to offer from the scenery to the fish themselves.

Trout Guide Trips

Looking to book a Northern Michigan summer Trout trip? If so you can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email. We are booking well into July and August now, with hopper and mousing trips. Ed only has a few nights left open for mousing and the daytime calendar is filling up fast so don’t hesitate to call for availability. If you’re thinking about giving the midnight creeper a try, click the link to the tying demo, this fly is easy to tie and very effective at night. It’s also not too early to start thinking about fall steelhead adventures on the Lower Manistee River for steelhead, and late season streamer trips for brown trout on the Upper Manistee as well.

Tight Lines,

Ed

brown trout

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Trout Fishing

brown trout

Fishing Report

Hello fishing friends! This will be my last report before I head to Alaska for the summer. It has been great to be back out and floating. The weather has been hit and miss but it is nice to be out in flats shirts and sandals. Soon enough it will be long underwear and fleece. Worth the trade off for sure.

MayFlies

The mayflies are hatching. It is time to get the head lamps and bug dope out! The dry fly fishing has been very productive in the afternoons and evenings. Stoneflies are a great searching tool, and still finding a few Gray Drakes to play with in the evening hours. No news on Hex yet. Should be soon. If you’re looking for an effective Hex Spinner check this pattern out.

Baitfish Imitations

If you are a streamer or lure junky get a early start. The best sub surface bite has been best at first light and lasting until the sun breaks the trees. The river had a good amount of small minnows and salmon fry. Mid sized streamers and lures have been working well. The strike has been a very visual. Lots of fish chasing and not eating but some good browns are crushing the baits.

Booking Trout Trips

Drop us an email if your thinking about booking a trout fishing trip on the Pere Marquette or Upper Manistee, or give us a call (231-631-5701) and we will get you booked. With such a cool start to the spring the best trout fishing is just around the corner. Pere Marquette is a great terrestrial stream in mid summer.

Thanks to everyone that got out with us this spring. I am off to Anglers Alibi for the summer. I would like to wish everyone a great and safe summer. Get out there and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

See you this fall for some epic steelheading.

Jeff Topp

Hendrickson Hatch

Prepping for Trout Opener

Trout Opener

With the Michigan Trout Opener quickly approaching, are you ready and prepped for Trout Opener? It seems like a simple question, but there is a series of steps you can follow to make sure you have covered most of your basic needs for success. My hope here is to outline some routine things I try to do while prepping for Trout Opener and the upcoming season. Spending a few short hours inspecting my gear aids in its performance and ultimately contributes to my overall success, especially on the Upper Manistee. The goal here is to eliminate the obvious shortfalls that will hinder our outcomes.

Fly Box Organization

Most of us spend our winter tying flies and trying to bulk up our fly inventories so we don’t have to spend as much time tying during our fishing seasons. This is a great way to pass the idle winter months and it gives us something constructive to do. One important step you can take prepping for Trout Opener and the upcoming season is to organize your fly boxes on a per “hatch” basis.

I will typically organize my fly boxes around a single “hatch”. For example, I will have one box that is completely focused on the Hendrickson hatch and another box for Sulphurs, and so on and so forth. In each of these “hatch” boxes I will have a sample of nymphs, emergers, duns, and spinners in all the appropriate sizes and colors to match all the stages of each hatch. Having all of your fly choices laid out in front of you is a good way to determine if your fly selection has any shortfalls.

Another recommendation would be to carry a second box filled with basic “attractor” patterns. This box should contain an assortment of your favourite old stand-byes such as the Adams, Robert’s Yellow Drakes, Borcher’s Drakes, Stimulators, and Elk Hair Caddis. Organizing my fly boxes in this manner allows me to carry less as the season progresses from one hatch to the next. When we begin to transition from one hatch to another, just replace the previous “hatch” box from your vest or boat bag with the next series.

Prepping for Trout Opener
Organizing your fly box
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Ice Dub Minnow

Ice Dub Minnow

Tying Ice Dub Minnow

Our latest upload to our YouTube Channel is a super simple baitfish pattern that we call the Ice Dub Minnow. A favorite pattern to fish below Tippy Dam, but also works great below Hodenpyle Dam and in the backwaters for smallmouth bass on Tippy Pond. Of course these are only a few of our favorite spots, as it has worked really well for bluegills in the spring when they are shallow and pre-spawn.

If you honestly haven’t tried hunting big pre-spawn bluegills, and you want to test your skills this is a great activity during quarantine. No motor needed for this type of fishing. Get ready to be humbled by the big gills. Great casting practice before the big bugs start hatching on our trout rivers.

Kids Fishing

What also makes the Ice Dub Minnow so great is that you can easily teach it to kids and get them started in fly tying, but also it’s a great pattern to fish with kids, to get them a taste of fly fishing. As I mention in the video this minnow pattern really does fish well by itself, with a tiny split shot. I tend to like Sure Shot, but black bird shot will just work as well. Size No 4 or No 6, are both really small and easy to cast.

Let this fry pattern swing in the current with small twitches of the rod, and it will fish itself. Small minnows can’t swim very fast for very long, so they become easy meals for hungry trout. Fish this pattern in the shallows where small baitfish tend to hide. Good luck and Stay Safe.

Jon Ray

Tying Brown Drakes

Tying Brown Drakes

Brown Drake Video Series

Excited to announce a new video series to our YouTube Channel, this past week we focused on tying Brown Drakes. The video series is a 4 part series walking you through the step by step process of tying Ed McCoy’s Boondoggle Spinner Pattern and McCoy’s All Day Dun . To make it easy we created a Playlist so you can watch all 4 videos in succession, make sure to smash that like button and subscribe to our channel as well. During this quarantine of 2020, have goals of uploading some additional content while also abiding to the social distance requirements.

Cutting Foam

The video series starts off with the simple process of cutting the foam, we filmed this video series back in February 2018 for the sole purpose of brining Montana Fly Company up to speed on how Ed McCoy was tying brown drakes. So not all the details were layout within the videos so please if you have questions about something please leave a comment and we will do our best to get back with you ASAP. Already one question that has been asked is what size foam are you using. The Answer is 2mm foam, so before you start tying Brown Drakes make sure you have the right size foam on hand.

Tying Brown Drakes, Cutting Foam

YouTube

As I mentioned before make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as more content is on the way. Also drop us a line and let us know what you might be interested in seeing. In the mean time stay safe, and we will see you on the water here soon. Thanks for following MangledFly.

Jon Ray

Chestnut Lamprey

Chestnut Lamprey

Chestnut Lamprey
Chestnut Lamprey attached to a Brown Trout

Chestnut Lamprey

The Chestnut Lamprey, Ichthyomyzon castaneus, is a Native Species commonly found in Lakes and Rivers throughout the Great Lakes region. They are considered to be an indicator species and their presence in a body of water has been closely associated with healthy clean water. There is, however, one negative component to their presence in a watershed and that is the negative impact they can have on fish populations during their parasitic phase.

The chestnut Lamprey has two primary life stages to complete its life cycle. The first life stage is the larval phase, commonly referred to as ammocoetes, in which the larval form is primarily a filter feeding organism. The larva will live in the fine and silty bottom sediments in slower backwater pools for an average of 5-7 years. When the larva reach 4-6 years of age they go through a metamorphosis and develop teeth and a sucking mouth disk characterized by the adult parasitic phase of their life cycle.

The metamorphic phase appears to take place from October through the end of January as the ammocoetes enter the second life stage as parasitic adults. As the water begins to warm up in April the larva exit their burrows and enter the parasitic feeding phase of their life cycle. The Chestnut Lamprey tends to be more active at night and during low light periods. Peak feeding periods for the adults range from May through July with some adults holding over until the following spring to spawn. The adult chestnut lamprey will continue to feed until the peak spawning season occurs from June to July. After spawning the adults will die and the cycle is repeated. (Hall, 1963)

Manistee River

In Michigan, most of our trout streams have an established population of Chestnut Lamprey, but, the Manistee River has been mentioned as having a highly abundant population in the upper portions of the watershed, especially from County Road 612 to Sharon Road. As the water temperature reaches 50 F degrees the adults begin to feed. (Hall, 1963) This temperature change coincides nicely with the obvious annual appearance of Chestnut Lamprey on the trout we catch throughout the first half of our trout season. Most of the trout in our streams will react to streamer patterns tied with a long and “leechy” appearance and lots of undulating movement in the materials.

Matching the Hatch

Chestnut Lamprey will range in size from 4-5” early in their adult development and will attain lengths of +7” at maturity. It’s not a coincidence that as the lamprey continue to become more active that the streamer fishing becomes more consistent for us, especially on the Manistee River. The trout are not only actively feeding at this time, but they are also combating the presence of an “alien intruder” that will parasitize them if they let their guard down! It is not uncommon to see some pretty exciting visuals while fishing “leechy” patterns at this time of year. Some fish will recklessly chase them out of their territory and oftentimes will strike with violent takes.

Take this information for what it is worth, but having an understanding of the natural phenomenon that occurs during this time of the year can only help you. Fly selection, fly movement, and presentation are all critical components to angling success and having one more arrow in the quiver can only be a positive. The Chestnut Lamprey life cycle is really just an example of one more hatch that you should pay close attention to as we move closer to the opening day of trout season here in Michigan.

Hall, J. 1963. An ecological study of the chestnut lamprey, Ichthyomyzon castaneus, in the Manistee River, Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Spring Steelhead Fishing

Coronavirus Pandemic and Guide Trips

With the global outbreak of the coronavirus now hitting close to home for every American, Michigan and several other states have issued a “shelter in place” order to try and ease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order in Michigan has mandated that all “non-essential Businesses” must cease all operations from March 24th to April 13th. This is subject to change based on how things proceed from this point moving forward. We at Mangled FLY hope everyone continues to do their part to prevent the transmission of this disease and we hope everyone continues to remain safe and healthy thru these trying times. We will resume our guiding services when the order is lifted by the state. We will try and update the fishing conditions as best as we can, so please be patient on awaiting new reports during these trying times.

DNR

The State of Michigan has been encouraging people to continue to recreate outdoors using CDC approved social distancing practices. The Michigan DNR has been promoting the use of its outdoor resources and has encouraged people to engage in fishing, hunting, and general outdoor activities across the state. Yesterday Tippy Dam area was closed as you can see by the post above my Jay Wesley with the DNR.

Spring Steelhead

Spring Steelhead bookings have been put on hold at this moment due to the recent Governors executive order. Feel free to contact us regarding any future bookings and if you have a special someone who you know is itching to hit the water we are seeing a request for Gift Certificates towards future trips, (231-631-5701) and email requests are welcomed!

The next 3-4 weeks will be trying times as we navigate through the great unknowns, but we will get through this and we will be looking forward to fishing with everyone in the near future. Take care, stay healthy, and get outside and enjoy nature. This is a perfect time to disconnect from the the TV and Social Media and enjoy some self reflection, family time, and fly tying. We look forward to more positive times and getting back on the water shortly.

Tight Lines,

Ed McCoy

Changing Floats based on Water Type

Changing Floats based on Water Type

I can still remember the day when the light bulb turned on and I finally understood the need to change my float to match the water type I was fishing. Changing floats based on water type isn’t something you hear much about. Actually it’s a simple change that can make a big difference, especially in the spring, when steelhead themselves are changing the water types they utilize.

Fishing Story

Let’s start with a real world scenario, or as I like to commonly refer to it, my lightbulb moment. It was December and I just spent the past 60 days fishing for steelhead on the lower Manistee River, the section closest to Lake Michigan. Most of those days were spent primarily fishing floats in the lower end of the river. I had my confidence rig all setup and ready to go and for whatever reason I decided to change it up and shift the guide trip towards Tippy Dam.

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Dry Flies for Trout

Dry Flies for Trout

Dry Flies

As many of you already know, in 2019 I entered a new partnership with Montana Fly Company to produce and sell some of my favorite patterns. Last season I released several new Dry Flies for Trout. These new releases are patterns from my personal arsenal that I rely upon heavily for catching fish within our region. I am excited to have Montana Fly Company producing and selling my signature fly patterns as we move forward, the quality and attention to detail is second to none! Their is a limited quantity available for sale on our site, but please shop local at your nearest Fly Shop.

The flies that I currently have in production are available in two series. All of the flies are foam based Mayfly patterns that are designed to be fished all day with a touch of realism and an impressionistic silhouette that fish can’t resist. They are all mainstays in my arsenal and have been tied in multiple forms to imitate the Isonychia, Brown Drake, and Hex hatches that are found in Northern Michigan.

Here is a breakdown of all the flies that are currently available through MFC to complete your arsenal of Northern Michigan dry flies for trout . Ask your local fly shop about these patterns and pick some up today!

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McCoys Boondoggle Spinner

McCoys Boondoggle Spinner

New Fly Release

McCoys Boondoggle Spinner
McCoy’s Boondoggle Spinner – Burgundy Isonychia

Montana Fly Company New Fly Release for 2020 – McCoy’s Boondoggle Spinner – Burgundy Isonychia

I am very excited to announce a new fly pattern that will be released by Montana Fly Company in 2020! This fly will be available in two sizes and will help to fill the Isonychia spinner gap in a series of foam based dry flies that I released through MFC in 2019. The McCoys Boondoggle Spinner is very durable, has an irresistible profile, and is generally a must have pattern for the streams in Northern Michigan. Check with your local fly shops for availability, a limited quantity is available here online at Mangled Fly.

Shop Local

As with anything new it can sometimes be hard to predict demand so make sure to stock up before the supply becomes limited. If you are having difficulty finding the McCoy’s Boondoggle Spinner pattern or any of my other fly patterns locally, please drop us a line and we will do our best to help you get these dry flies in your fly box for the upcoming season.

More Flies

Look for several more fly releases with MFC in the near future as I have been expanding upon some old favorites and tinkering with some new stuff for release. Good luck with all of your angling pursuits throughout the upcoming 2020 fishing season!!

Ed McCoy