Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Winter Steelhead

The Manistee River Steelhead report for the middle part of January. Once again is focused around the water levels, with the Manistee dropping all week from a high of 2600+cfs to it’s currently level of 2100 cfs . Temperatures staying in that 35-34 degree range. All about perfect for this time of year. Water Levels this year continue to rise and fall, pushing up small waves for chrome. As was the case this week, with some newer fish once again showing up.

Jeff Topp

Guide Jeff Topp has our report below for the week.

Steelhead fishing is fairly good right now. We had a nice push of chrome fish this past week. Fresh fish are biters!  Beads under floats is the name of the game right now. With the Water temperature in winter cold mode look for the steelhead to be living in the slower sections of the runs. The slow side of seams and current breaks have been best.  With spring around the corner now is the time to get out before the crowds show up. LETS GO FISHING!!! 

Winter Steelhead

With temperatures improving through out the week, water levels should maintain or slightly increasing with melting snow from this past weekend. If you can find the speed, you will find the fish. Speed will be the most important part of the steelhead equation this week.

Guide Trips

January and February should continue to fish fairly well, with decent numbers of steelhead in the Manistee River and other Northern Michigan systems. Not too early to start thinking about booking your Spring Steelhead Trips as well.

March and April are prime time and dates will go fast, Ed and Jon booked a few trips this week while at the Heartland Show. Drop us an email if your thinking about fishing this Spring, or use the Contact Page to request a day. Also feel free to text us at 231-631-5701 for open availability.

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.

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

Mangled Fly Guide Service is growing

Jeff Topp and Ed McCoy

First let me start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year from Mangled Fly! Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to make an exciting new announcement. Mangled Fly would like to welcome two new members to the team! Allow me to introduce fellow guides and new team members; Capt. Ed McCoy and Capt. Jeff Topp. With the addition of Ed and Jeff, Mangled Fly will be expanding its guide services to include an expanded diversity of angling experiences, more capacity to facilitate multiple boat trips, and more importantly two additional guides with a wealth of experience and knowledge of our local waters.

These are exciting times for us with the New Year and a new outlook heading into 2020! We encourage everyone to continually check out the Mangled Fly website and especially the updated guide pages to familiarize yourselves with Ed and Jeff. We are very excited about the new additions to the team and we are looking forward to the upcoming fishing season. Follow the Mangled Fly fishing reports and our fellow team members on their social media platforms to stay up to date with all of the local fishing conditions in our area. Mangled Fly wishes everyone a Fishy 2020 and Tight Lines as we continue to pursue our passion for teaching the art of angling!

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report
Winter Streamer Fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Had a chance to venture out on the Upper Manistee River again this past week, with Mother Nature allowing us to still access most of the launches. We took advantage of the warm weather and lack of snow and spent the day chasing trout instead of steelhead on the lower Manistee. Water levels are good and with a slight stain to the water, it looked great for a day of streamer fishing. While winter streamer fishing is never about how many, it’s always a good day when you can catch a few fish, and see a few others. As was the case on this day.

Winter Trout Fishing

Winter Trout fishing when it’s in the upper 40’s and the sun is on your face and your having a few brown trout chasing is hard to beat. While I can pretty much sum up winter streamer fishing as the opportunity to catch brown trout in the 14-20″ range. I hardly ever see the little guys, and the same goes for the magnums. But nothing wrong with the trout in that range, in my mind. Streamer selection at this time of year I also think needs to be what I consider as medium to small sized. With some sort of weight added. Getting the fly down in the zone quickly, as trout don’t have the energy to climb up out of their zone. Also wood runs and deeper cuts had the best activity on this past trip. Looking for that same type of water speed as we have been finding most of our steelhead lately. Closer to the bank and out of the main seam. That harder to mend area, on the fair side of the bubble line. Slow water.

Guide Trips

With warm air in the immediate forecast trout fishing is still very much an option. Looks like some rain headed our way as well, some additional color to the stream could make it fish even better. Not that much snow can melt so water temperatures should bump up as well. Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year. Hope to update this page soon, but if not make sure to check out the Steelhead Report, and if your thinking of booking a trout trip for next year make sure to contact us soon. Prime dates always fill up fast.

Happy Holidays

Jon Ray

Northern Michigan Guide Service

Big Announcment

I have some very exciting news to share with you all! After 17 plus years of guiding for Chuck and Cherie Hawkins and Hawkins Outfitters, the time has come for me to venture out on my own. Mangled Fly will now be more than just a photo and video blog; it will be home to my full time fly fishing guide services as well.

Everything on the fly fishing side of my business will stay the same. I will continue to guide primarily on the Manistee River and have secured Federal and State access to all launches as well as using my Coast Guard license when needed. My SmithFly Raft, Huron Drift boat, and ‘Tiny Dancer’ Jet Sled will float the big water you all know and love as well as some of the smaller and less well known streams that Northern Michigan has to offer.

Over the next few weeks Mangled Fly will be getting a major facelift with a fresh logo and updated design and you are the first to get a peek at the new look. I will be updating the Mangled Fly website as well as all social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube (all searchable under ‘Mangled Fly’). I have loads of content in the works for these platforms including fresh imagery, fly tying tutorials, up to date river reports and seasonal fishing tips.

I could not be living this dream without the continued and loyal support of all of you. I am forever grateful for the hours spent in the boat together rowing, casting, storytelling, catching (and losing) fish, capturing great moments on film and video and enjoying the beauty that I am lucky to call ‘my office.’ I am so looking forward to this next leg of my journey and am happy to have you all along for this ride.

My new email is jray@mangledfly.com. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns regarding this transition.

Tight lines,

JR

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Pic of the Day – New Steelhead Swing Colors

New Swing Colors

Hard to believe after this many years that it took me this long to find love with the color purple on the swing fly program. But 2019 I finally did it. Have to thank Brett Howard for pushing me over the edge. This color combination has been in the Great Lakes Steelhead swing game for many years, but I just didn’t seem to ever gravitate to it. Well now that I have had success I find my self tying it more often. If your looking to expand you color scheme in your fly box here is a quick fly recipe.

Once the season slows down have goals of expanding this section of the Mangled Fly Blog, more details more videos and better fly patterns that need to be shared. Good luck this fall and hope this color can make it into your box.

  • I use cotter pins with medium weight dumbbell eyes
  • Hook is a size 1 Mosquito by Owner, this year using braid 50# to attach
  • Barred Rabbit or Marabou in Purple
  • Also experimenting with a sparkle brush as an underbody currently (purple)
  • Flash is Grape , as much as you like. I don’t count strands
  • Ice dub head ( defiantly chartreuse as the finishing color, but pink and orange have both worked as the core color)

Mangled Fly Sale

Not everything but most everything is on Sale right now. We are clearing out the inventory to make room for new stuff coming soon. Fingers crossed before Christmas for some new items so make sure to come back and check out the new swag. But in the mean time get some great deals on the older models. Any questions let us know via the contact page or reach out to us on Messenger via Facebook or drop us a DM in Instagram.

Thanks again for checking out the site.

Pics and Videos of the Day – Jumping Steelhead

Jumping Manistee River Steelhead

Todays post is a few hightlights from the past few days on Mangled Fly’s social media accounts if you haven’t followed us go check out the feed we have been updating a couple times a week on Instagram and our Facebook page. Video above was shot this week on my iPhone as we got an up close look at a steelhead from the Big Manistee River. These fish this year have been strong and full of power and giving us plenty of acrobatic displays. Enjoy the video

Big Colored Bucks

Jeff Topp again with an impressive colored up buck. We refer to male steelhead as bucks for those that don’t know. Males will color up the most and display some really intense red coloration the longer they are in the river. This male has been around since the beginning of the run we would guess. Awesome looking fish, and great work Jeff Topp.

Michigan Fall Steelhead

Pic of the Day – Jeff Topp Steelhead

Check out this great fish from Guide Jeff Topp’s boat. Client is Steve B. with a Big Manistee River steelhead

Fall Steelhead

Fall Steelhead 2019 Update

Fall steelhead 2019 update. The Manistee River continues to fish pretty well for fall steelhead. The last few days fish numbers have slowed down as we haven’t received a push of fish in a few days, but with a good number of steelhead in the upper sections opportunity still prevails. While pressure remains high with other boats and anglers you have to have a good presentation to get the job done.

The egg bite has been the main tactic but the streamer rods have started to make it into the rotation as well. Craig had a exciting morning yesterday that I want to expand upon in the next blog. Working with a new single hand set up that I want to go into more details about. Craig as seen above in the picture gallery landed a nice Coho on a ESL (egg sucking leech) and wait to you hear about our other encounter. For those interested in the streamer / Swing bite, Steelhead have set up in the runs where we like them. At least I’ve been finding them in that type of water with the egg presentation. So I believe that the time is right to start hunting the fall steelhead run with both eggs and streamers.

Wish everyone the best of luck this fall, more updates coming. Hope to get to the single hand line combo blog this week as well

Jon Ray