Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Trout Fishing

Pere Marquette Fishing Report
Pere Marquette trout fishing

Fishing Report

Pere Marquette River Fishing Report for the first week in August is the river is in great shape for trout fishing. The dry fly game is still holding on and Foam Hopper Patterns have been pretty consistent throughout the day. The water is cool, low and clear, and the fish are hungry and sporting that cold water attitude. We had a fun couple of days plying the Pere Marquette for trout this week and the river didn’t disappoint.

Hopper Time

The Pere Marquette River is flowing pretty low and clear which suits the late summer Hopper Game perfectly! Fishing the past few days on the Pere Marquette River was very productive using various hopper variations. The low clear water this time of year offers some pretty awesome visuals as the fish rise up to the fly. At times throughout the day more movement on the fly was key and during other periods of our float the fish wanted it presented with a dead drift. We had fish eat several patterns, but the most productive flies for us were smaller Chubby Chernobyl patterns in several color schemes.

Although we did not choose to fish the Hopper dropper setup, running a small dropper under a foam Hopper this time of year can pick up a fish or two during the slower times. There were a few Light Cahill spinners and a few White Millers in the evening that had the steelhead Smolts up and feeding, but it was mostly the smaller trout taking advantage. The foam bite still had the bigger trout’s attention at dusk.

Streamer Fishing

If you are looking to capitalize on the streamer fishing right now it would be best to hit the water pretty early as the nights have been cooler and the river is currently running cold! Smaller streamers like the sparkle minnow or wet skunk would be your best bet at this point. The water is in great shape and with the nicer weather the Canoe and Kayak activity is pretty high, but just give it 10 minutes and the fish will move back into their feeding stations.

Booking Trout Trips

Drop us an email if your thinking about booking a trout fishing trip on the Pere Marquette or Upper Manistee. You can also give us a call at (231-631-5701) and we will get you on the water! Summer is slowly slipping away, but we still have a solid month left of some pretty fun angling opportuities before the colder North air begins to win the battle. The Pere Marquette is a great terrestrial stream and can provide some pretty good fishing opportunities during the mid and late summer.

Ed

Manistee River below Tippy Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River below Tippy Dam
Smallmouth Bass Fishing below Tippy Dam

Summer Smallmouth Bass

The Manistee River below Tippy Dam fishing report for early August, has been all about the warm-water species still. With Smallmouth Bass being the main focus. Smallmouth Bass are currently present in okay numbers, with actually more Largemouth Bass than I can remember present. Water levels are good as levels and temps are about normal for this time of year. But make sure to monitor the water levels at the USGS Site. Especially if your looking for an early King run. Haven’t seen more than a few milling around, as Lake Michigan did flip on Aug 3rd, so cold water was at the pier heads.

Top Water for Smallmouth

We have only spent a few days below Tippy this summer as the trout fishing on the Upper Manistee as kept us busy. But with a few trips under our belt, the smallmouth numbers this year did feel off, but one way that has been producing the best is top water. Both with an aggressive type topwater presentation and with a dead drift.

What is the difference between the two? Its the style of popper that usually makes the difference. An aggressive style in my mind deals with the pop or chug you give the popper. Pulling fish up to your fly with a chug, no better popper for that than the boogle bug , now this year I have notice not chugging is working better. Now you can still dead drift your boogle bug but dead drifit dragonflies or over sized hoppers has been pulling up a few good ones.

Kings and Bass

So I mentioned the lake flipping and early Kings should be showing up soon, as we transition into August smallmouth fishing can get tougher on the lower Manistee. As more anglers will start showing up throwing cranks, bass also seemed to get turned off by the early King. So I’ll start traveling to other sections to find some of the better smallmouth fishing now. With smallmouth in the Hodenpyl section turning on we have plenty of water to go hunt.

Fall Steelhead

But with Kings brings Fall Steelhead and the phone has started to ring with interest in our open October thru December dates. If your looking for dates give us a call or shoot an email (231-631-5701) and email . Fall is one of our busiest times, so get your date request in soon.

Have a few XL Summer fishing shirts left, and just placed an order for the fall hoody restock, so tune if for that show up here. Thanks for checking out the report, stay safe and see you on the water.

Tight Lines,

Jon Ray

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report
Brook Trout on the Upper Manistee River

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing report for the first week of August has the late summer programs coming into form! The hopper fishing and the mousing has been pretty good over the past week with some real quality fishing across both arenas. Fishing has been rebounding nicely with the seasonal forecast and the steady nightly cool downs have kept the water temps right in the happy zone for our trout. The daytime hopper bite has been pretty good with lots of action on most days and some bigger fish starting to take notice as of late. The night fishing has been giving our guests plenty of opportunities for the most part and the later part of the previous New Moon phase gave us a couple of real trophy fish and a few epic nights to say the least. The late season trout fishing is rounding into true form as we turn the page into August.

Summer Trout Fishing

With some more seasonable weather in Northern Michigan, the water temps have been more what we would expect for the this time of year. Just keep in mind on the hot days/evenings you should still temp the water before fishing/launching in a section and please do not fish in those sections this week that go over 70 during the heat of the day. Give those fish a break until the hot weather moves on. The Data Station was back on-line this week as we made some minor changes and tweaks to the charging apparatus for the monitoring station. 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.

The late summer trout fishing can provide some fun and exciting fly angling opportunities as the fish tend to crush the foam flies we are fishing. If you are a fly tier don’t be afraid to get crazy, sometimes something different is just the ticket at this time of year. A little movement and skating your fly here and there is also a good way to elicit strikes right now. Overall the terrestrial fishing has been pretty good this week, if the bite slows down try downsizing your fly size. Smaller ant and beetle patterns have also picked up the slack during the slower periods of day.

The Trico hatch is in full swing and we have had some pretty good spinner dumps this week in the early to late morning time frames. Some days the fish are feeding as far as you can see and you would think it was raining as they rise up slowly and sip these tiny little bugs. The cloudy wet days are still getting some decent summer Olive activity, but the Trico’s are definitely the most abundant insect available right now. The evenings have been giving us a mixed bag of Isonychia spinners, Light Cahill spinners, and Caddis.

The night fishing was pretty good during the first New Moon phase and we had some really good nights and a couple that were just a grind. Things really fired up during the waxing phase of the last moon cycle and we had a few nights that were just short of epic and several trophy fish found the net to make a few lucky anglers smile for days. We have one more New Moon phase heading our way later this month. One more chance to capitalize on some of the largest fish we will see this season, one more chance to target some fish we have located, and one more chance to dial in some new patterns. The night fishing can be challenging, but if you are up for the challenge the rewards can be large!

Late Summer Hatches

The Trico hatch is full swing on the Upper Manistee. These tiny little bugs are both a blessing and a curse as you probe the morning hours on our local trout streams. The Trico hatch offers anglers a chance at some of the most technical dry fly fishing we have in Northern Michigan. You won’t commonly have big fish opportunities during this hatch, but that is not the point. If you want to work on honing in your dry fly technique this hatch will offer you exactly that. There is nothing more humbling than having a 7 inch Brook trout deny your offering and thumb his fins at you just because your presentation wasn’t perfect. There are still some Summer Olives in the morning as well, but the Trico’s have been them most abundant insect as of late. Evening hatches have been a bit of a mixed bag with some “popcorn’ Caddis, Light Cahill’s, and Isonychia scattered in the mix. Fish have been feeding hard right at dusk and then about as quickly as it starts….. its over!

It’s been a good season so far and we are continuing to enjoy the typically relaxed late season, pitching off the wall patterns and enjoying everything the Upper Manistee River has to offer!

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 August and September now, with hopper and mousing trips. Ed only has 3 nights left open for mousing and the daytime calendar is filling up fast so don’t hesitate to call for availability. Smallmouth Bass is another option with some of the best fishing in August. Check out the podcast that Jon Ray was apart of if you want to learn more about Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass. 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.

Just got in a limited run of summer fishing shirts as well, these sun shirts have been popular with the guides check them out, if we don’t have your size or color drop us a line, we will let you know if we have more on the way.

Tight Lines,

Ed

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.

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.