Manistee River Trout Report
Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report heading into the second week of September has the river on a steady drop and the temperature is starting to stabilize. We received another series of storms this past week and some seasonable weather has settled in. Fall is in the air and water temps are the coolest they have been since May. The hopper fishing is still producing some good action on the warmer days and now with some cooler temps the fall streamer program is taking off. Banging attractors and small streamers on the structure and close to the banks is producing some good fishing opportunities.
Water temperatures are pretty much in check at this point. I encourage folks to continue to monitor the stations just to form good habits and a lot can be said by watching flows and gauge heights to help in the decision making process on where to fish. Please continue to use the USGS site at 72, USGS at Sherman, and the Monitoring Station at 4 Mile Access to give you the best up to date water temperature and flow information. The last few storms have disrupted the live feed at the 4 mile access station so continue to check back and pay attention to the date and time stamp below the graph for up to date conditions.
Fall Dry Fly Fishing
The terrestrial fishing in September can still be a fun and productive way to fish at times, but there are other options available again. The fall Isonychia has been showing up with the latest temp drop and soon the fall olives will join the mix. Currently the eveings have been filled with White Miller’s and a random Ant hatch here and there. Timing the Ant hatch is always a welcomed encounter and fish will get very selective at times so pay attention to the size and color you see on the water.
Best attractor patterns have been crickets, stonefly, and hopper patterns in Olive, Tan, Pink, and Black. The best sizes have been anywhere from size 10 hoppers to size 14 Ants. Moving and twitching the fly when the fish were moody also helped to garner more strikes. If you aren’t getting bit you need to switch up the color and fly size until you find what they want.
This can be a fun time of the year to fish. There aren’t really any rules and the flies are very user friendly. I love the medium to larger flies right now as they can elicit some violent strikes, but also understand that as the day wanes on you will need to downsize and play with color. Fishing tight to structure has been key to finding some of the larger fish in the Upper Manistee River this year. How close? If it’s not rubbing it’s not close enough! The daytime visuals this time of year in the clear soft flows make it exciting for both the angler and the guide. Some fish will just lose their mind and crush it while others will do the slow approach and just suck it down like a Mayfly.
Fall Streamer Fishing
Fishing small streamers and twitch bugs have been a good way to tackle the high water times so far this season. Fishing the shallow mid river structure in heavy flows can produce some solid fish. Changing up your presentation, fly color, and size until you find the winning combination is the name of the game. If 2021 has one common theme so far, it is a lack of consistency. If it’s not working change! Fly selection has been all over the board, but small streamers in Black, olive and white, white, and yellow are finding a few. Don’t be afraid to throw some very simple patterns in the clear fall waters. Classic wet skunks, and feather winged streamers can produce fish at times when nothing else seems to be working.
The recent bump in flows had the fish fired up for the streamer again. As we continue through September and into October the cloudy and low light periods should give anglers some better shots at some quality fish. The fall isn’t typically a large streamer phenomenon unless the water gets really dirty, but stick to that 3″-5″ size range for the best results. The river finally looks good and is well primed heading into the fall as all the recent rains have maintained some higher sustained flows than we saw in the early summer months. It should be a fun fall of fishing heading our way.
The Night Fishing was pretty solid during the last moon phase. Despite the colder nights and higher water the fish were pretty active. Fishing was good overall and waking flies are always a hoot to fish as the trout tend to wake you up when they violently strike out at your fly. It was a pretty solid run with lots of great fish caught and some pretty cool nights with Coyote’s and Barred Owls entertaining us with their late night serenades. It’s always a bitter sweet end to another mousing season, but the river gave us some really nice fish and some lasting memories.
It’s been a great season so far with lots of great trips and great stories shared. This past season has been a lot of fun trying new flies, some working like anticipated, and some were just a great idea. So far 2021 has been presenting lots of “learning moments” as the weather has been anything but consistent and it seems to be having a bigger impact on the overall fishing. With that being said I’m looking forward to closing out another great trout season as we enter the fall season. Looking ahead there is still a lot of great trout fishing left. I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead, terrestrials, fall Isonychia, fall streamers, etc. One last hoorah before we close the books on yet another productive trout season.
Trout Guide Trip
You can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email if your looking to book a fall trout trip we still have a few dates open. Fall is coming quick so its time to get your fishing trips booked and get out and enjoy Northern Michigan in all of its fall beauty. The fall is a busy time and availability is always hard to find. We have some openings available, but they will go fast so don’t miss out. Make sure to check out our new Fall Sweatshirt to keep you warm as well.