Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report
Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing report for the last week of May, and as we head into June, is that we are starting out this week with the Manistee River on another water drop. Some heavy rains hit the area late last week and added another 8″ to the river level. Water levels have already dropped 4-5″ and should continue to fall as the week progresses barring any more heavy rains. Make sure to check the water flow data , this site has been updated and seems to be loading much better FYI. As a walk and wade angler when you see the depth gauge near 14″ you are safe wading in all the sections upstream of Sharon Bridge Access, assuming you use common sense. Currently we are at about 17.8 on the Gauge. The water still has a heavy stain in the lower sections, with the USGS site near Sherman showing 1700 cfs, the river is still rolling pretty good downstream.

Sulphur Hatch

We are into the second week of Sulphur’s on the Upper Manistee. Most of the Light Hennies (E. invaria) have hatched and we are seeing mostly the smaller True Sulphur’s (E. dorothea). With the current cold front moving in the Sulphur’s have been hatching pretty good before dark, but not lasting long. Before the cold front we had clouds of Sulphur spinners in the riffle sections at dusk and some light spinner falls. The best thing going this week was the Great Mahoganies, Mahogany spinners have been on the water most days and providing some quality fish opportunities on the dry. Best flies for success have been #16-18 Robert’s Yellow Drakes, McCoy’s AP Drake and AP Spinner #14-12, Borcher’s Drakes #14-12. Fishing an emerger during the Sulphur Hatches has still been the most productive as the fish are not crashing the bugs, but just a light sip due to the higher flows and cooler water temps.

Matching the Hatches

As we move on into June the anticipation of our Drakes and Isonychia grows near, it won’t be long and some of the bigger Mayflies will be hatching! We are currently seeing some Great Mahoganies, Sulphur’s, Yellow Cahill’s, March Browns, Medium Brown Stones, Olive Stones, Gray Drakes, and some tiny BWOs as well. Look for the Isonychia and Brown Drakes to start in a few sections by the weeks end as another warmup is heading our way. Baetiscidae, or the “Bat Fly” as it is commonly referred to, are right on the cusp as well. The Manistee fish will get very selective when the Bat Fly spinners show up in the evenings and will let the bigger bugs go right by to gobble this bug up. Make sure to have some Chunky Borcher’s Drakes in #18-14 to put over a rising fish that won’t touch anything else you try.

Streamer Fishing

When the water was on the rise we had some good days of streamer fishing, but hitting the river the last few days on the drop you can tell the big boyz are full. Maybe not full but not starving. Chases and attacks of the fly have been softer and harder to hook up. As temps increase with warm day time highs, going early is your best chance. To also be honest the streamer rods are getting put away and it’s dry fly season. With increasing bug size and hatch densities starting to show up, it’s really time to match the hatch and hunt for heads.

Trout Guide Trips

We are guiding again, though we continue to have some restrictions. Currently we are only allowed 1 angler per boat, and we must maintain social distancing practices. We have no further information on how long this will last, but we are currently approaching this on a weekly basis. Please call us if you’re looking to book/or have a trout trip booked and we can answer any questions or concerns you may have. You can reach us at , 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email. We will have more information as we begin to move forward and things continue to change weekly. We will continue to update the information as it is passed along to us so be safe and we will see you on the water.

Tight Lines


Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Trout Fishing

Pere Marquette Fishing Report
Pere Marquette Flooding

Fishing Report

What a rain! The Pere Marquette Fishing Report went from low and clear to over the banks and dirty over night. I floated the river on Wednesday (5/20) and spent a fair amount of time rowing in the trees. The inside bends had water flowing through the trees. That being said the water is on the drop and clearing up nicely. 

With the water temps being colder than normal for this time of year the insects have been slow to start. The brown trout have been chasing small bait fish and fry. With all the minnows in the river right now the crank bait bite has been producing some nice browns,The streamer bite had been good before this last rain also. Both streamers and lures should continue to produce as the water drops. Bait fish patterns and sculpin/goby baits are the go. Concentrate on the structure, log jams and sharp drop offs. Look for this bite to slow as the water warms and the insects come alive.

Gray Drakes

Gray Drakes have started and it is almost time to get the dry fly rods out!! It looks like the weather is on the turn and the rivers is looking real good. What a great time to be out on the water. Birds, Mink, And ever a fawn on the bank last time we floated. Perfect timing with the long weekend here!. Get out and enjoy nature! 

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.

Jeff Topp

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.


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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Michigan Fall Steelhead

Fall Steelhead on the Big Manistee River

Back on the Big Manistee for the Fall Steelhead season, wanted to share some quick pics of the first few days back. First impressions are we have some big fish again this year. They are strong and hard to hold onto. Without a doubt these are my favorite fish to chase during the season, the speed and power of these Great Lakes strain of steelhead is truly impressive.

Check back through out the week as I will continue to post additional images and links. Also make sure to follow Mangled Fly on Instagram as we post additional pictures and videos on our Feed and Stories.

Still have a few open dates at the end of November as well and plenty of availability in December too. Open Nov dates are 26,27,29. Contact me if your interested. As reports from my charter lake captains is this run of 2019 Fall Steelhead should be special. Have a great fall!

Great Blue Heron

Two Great Blue Herons eating Pike

Had the opportunity to shoot two different Great Blue Herons enjoying a shore side lunch this week.  I have never seen this before a Heron eating a Pike, but in less that one week it happened on two separate occasions.

Great Blue Herons now have my attention to say the least with how they hunt and how effective they are.  They can really do a number on a fishery.  I thought they really only targeted smaller fish and smaller amphibians.  But that is not the case.

Great Blue Heron

Down the hatch it goes, another Pike meets his maker.

Great Blue Heron

Blue Heron trying to figure out how to slurp down a pike.

sculpins kevin Feenstra

Gobies–Everything Eats ‘Em

Over a decade ago, zebra mussels invaded our rivers, and left a trail of destruction in our Great Lakes and their tributaries, altering the resource.    In their wake, something that preys on these mussels also arrived, the round goby.    Round gobies are an invasive species, and as such they squeeze out native fish.   However, they have become a food source in any river attached to the Great Lakes.   In some of the bigger rivers, such as the Muskegon and Manistee, they have become a primary food source.

Fly anglers should take advantage of the presence of this bait fish!    They are most commonly a sandy tan, and can be found just about anywhere.  They are most commonly found in areas with high concentrations of the mussels (especially in proximity to dams).    You can fish them with a sink tip or with an indicator, they work well either way.

I most commonly use them for smallmouth bass and for steelhead in a sandy tan.

Don’t hesitate to try them in an inky black, as the males will carry this color through the late winter and through the summer as they breed.    They can naturally be quite large, and can grow up to 10 inches in length.   Check out how big this one is; it is being consumed by a merganser:

Like so many invasive species, gobies have worked their way into our food chain, and will probably be here indefinitely.    Even the snakes eat them!

As far as invasives go, these are useful ones.  Add some gobies to your fly box; big things love to eat them!

Thanks for looking!

Kevin Feenstra





muskegon river brown trout

Pic of the Day – Underwater Mouse Eater

Photo by Ed McCoy of a Michigan Brown Trout snacking on one of his new mouse patterns.  Thanks for sharing the pic Ed.  Nice work.