Smallmouth Bass fishing on the Manistee River below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Fishing Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Fishing Report

The Manistee River Fishing Report for early July has us hitting our peak smallmouth bass season. River clarity isn’t gin, but clear with a little Manistee River green. Water temps are in the high 60’s and with the bubbler keeping water temps in that range for most of the summer it keeps it from reaching un-fishable reaches. We recommend leaving the trout alone just below Tippy Dam, so they can survive this heat wave. But smallmouth bass, largemouth, bass, and pike fishing in the lower section is good now until the end of August.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass are in good numbers this season, back in April we had the opportunity to get our first glimpse at the size of run this year. Yes these fish are migratory as well. Smallmouth bass use the Big Manistee below Tippy Dam as a summer time feeding zone. Smallies usually start migrating during the spawning cycle and then hold residence thru out the summer until the King Salmon start showing up.

Besides Smallmouth Bass we have been finding largemouth bass and a good population of pike as well. Only have seen a few summer-runs and no King Salmon yet. We have just come off our prime trout season, so only have a handful of days hunting smallmouth so far. But now that hatches are done on the Upper Manistee, we will be fishing hoppers for trout or smallmouth bass during the day.

Flies and Food Source

Every year if feels like small changes occur in what is the favorite food source, but you can never go wrong with flies that imitate smaller baitfish patterns, crayfish patterns, and some sort of topwater pattern. Just like back in the day with the DVD we did on Smallmouth Bass. This year so far has been a good topwater year, with good smallmouth bass looking up. Frogging with a Titan Long has been the first rod that I’ve been pulling out of the sleeve most days. Normally I can tell pretty quick if these bass are in the mood to look up. You’re not looking to pop the frog as your looking for nice slow long strips. This is very visual as you will see Bass track your frog pattern from a pretty long distance.

Manistee River Fishing Report
Smallmouth Bass fishing below Tippy Dam

Booking a Trip

If you’re looking to book a fishing trip give us a call (231-631-5701) or shoot us an email . Not too early to start thinking about Fall Dates for Steelhead. Steelhead fishing on the Manistee River below Tippy Dam is some of the best in the state. Dates will fill up quick. In the mean time this summer we will Smallmouth bass fishing and still pursuing trout with Hopper Patterns and Ed has a night or two open for his Mousing Trips.

Tight Lines,

Jon Ray

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report for the first week of July has us transitioning our fishing to focus more on the early morning and late night programs. With another warmup and some much needed rain the past couple of days, the water conditions, have rebounded nicely after a hot Fourth of July weekend. It looks like we have a couple more days of rain this week, but the overnight temps look good for keeping water temps in check. The Hex hatch is winding down and we are looking forward to chasing trout with foam attractor patterns in the early mornings. Evenings will still provide anglers with decent spinner falls of Cahill’s, Isonychia, and the occasional Hex, but it’s time to switch gears and the morning fishing has been heating up.

Water temperatures were at dangerous levels in early June this year for catch and release trout fishing. Water temps once again were pretty warm for the Fourth of July holiday on the Upper Manistee River. We have since received some rain and water temps have recovered, but anglers will need to continue to be vigilant over the next 3 weeks and check the water temps at these gauge stations before heading out. Please 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 information.

Big Bugs

The Hex hatch is continuing to thin out and on most sections of the Upper Manistee River it is pretty much done. We had a great season overall, but the bugs were very inconsistent and we had about a week with very limited bug activity due to a cold front. Things fired back up heading into the first part of July, but the feeding windows were getting short and the fish were growing long in the tooth. The very upper sections of the Upper Manistee River will probably still give anglers a chance at a couple more Hex spinner falls, but we are moving on to the next phase of our summer program. We are beginning our transition towards other times of the day to target fishing now and the morning foam attractor sessions are beginning to heat up.

Foam Attractor Season

The early morning trips are starting to gain traction and the fish are beginning to hunt throughout the day instead of just the last couple of hours before dark. This can be a fun time of the year to fish, especially for beginners as there aren’t really any rules and the flies are user friendly. I love the medium to larger flies right now as they can elicit some violent strikes, but also understanding that as the day wanes on you may need to downsize and play with color. Fishing tight to structure this week has been key to finding some of the larger fish in the Upper Manistee River. How close? If it’s not rubbing it’s not close enough! I have had a couple reports of flying Ants in people’s yards including mine, so better have a good selection of Ants on hand as well.

The Trico hatch is probably not that far off and I would expect to see them show up this week if they haven’t already. The summer olives started about 3 weeks early this year and the fish have been on them when they are present. Smaller hoppers and Stonefly patterns are also going to be key on some of those cooler mornings. If the water gets a good shot of rain fishing a small streamer or twitching a wet skunk on a floating line can produce some exciting fishing as well. Basically we have entered the part of the season when you can try just about anything and you will find some success.


We are still seeing a few Isonychia hatching throughout day and we should continue to see some Iso activity heading into mid-July. This bug will typically hang around for quite some time post Hex so I would still have a few of the All Day Iyso size 10 and 12 stashed in a box somewhere. We have also had a few Iso spinner falls this past week and the new All Day Cherry (new for 2021) is still producing some great fish for our customers. The Iso spinner falls aren’t always long in duration, but the quality of the fish rising to this bug can be as good as any other hatch so make sure you aren’t caught unprepared.

It’s finally starting to feel a little more normal for this time of year and hopefully that trend will continue for a while. The hatches were definitely early and highly compressed, but the fishing has been good on our most recent outings. July should be a productive month as the fish are getting more active throughout the day now that we are post Hex. We should continue to see some pretty good fishing right thru the end of July if the current weather patterns continue with some scattered showers and cool night time low’s.

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 trout guide trip. We are also fishing Smallmouth Bass currently on our local rivers and reservoirs. To keep updates on the smallmouth bass report check out the Lower Manistee River page. Summer time fishing trips are more relaxed and the rivers quiet down from other anglers. From now until mid September is a great time to get out and enjoy Northern Michigan.

Tight Lines,


Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

This will be my last report for a few months. I will be leaving for Alaska in early June. Looking forward to seeing the boys at Anglers Alibi. I have been lucky enough to see a few lodges over the past 20+ years. Anglers Alibi is the most fisherman friendly and well run lodge I have been involved with. Its a small 12 guest lodge on the banks of the Alagnak river in south west Alaska.

Dry Fly

Its dry fly time!!! After doing a evening trip with flies and also a morning trip with lures I can tell you that it is for sure time to put the lures away and switch to night mode. We had good night fishing a couple days ago and turned around the next morning never moved a trout. This tends to happen every year around this time. The trout will wait until the bugs hatch. Sleeping in the log jams all day and moving into their feeding lanes for the evening hatch. A variety of bugs hatching and a buffet of insects for the trout to fill up on. We have had Sulphurs, Brown Drakes and some Caddis on the water. The trout seem to be liking them all. The caddis have been popping from mid afternoon on. Look for your mayfly hatch to start around dinner time. The best of it just before dark. Check out Ed McCoys all day boondoggle. It has been a goto for me as the weather and river temps start to warm.


If you are planning to fish lures start early. Very early. I would plan on getting out there a bit before the sunrise. I would bet the lure bite will be done by mid to late morning. The river has a fair amount of small minnows in the eddies. 2-3 inches in length. also some small stocker browns. The key to catching some nice trout on lures will be to get as close to the size of the food source. AKA match the hatch but with baits. Try to get a close as you can to the size of the minnows in the river.  Learn more about how I crank-bait fish, check out the YouTube video we did.

Future AK Trip

Mangled Fly is putting a AK Trip together for September 2022!! We are reserving the lodge for a week. This is going to be EPIC. The majority of the fishing that week will be hunting for monster rainbows. This is the time of the year when the trout are the fattest and fastest. Beads, Flesh and Mice will be the flies of choice. Mousing during the day! We are also planning on spending a day or two chasing Silver Salmon. Cohos if you are from the midwest. Silvers love the fly. And sometimes the silvers will eat topwater skating bugs. We also have spin rods ready to go for those windy days or after a few fish have worked your arms over. I am super excited to show our mangled fly friends the neighborhood I have spent my summers in for the past 25 years. Check out link to our future AK Trip

If your looking to book trips with this fall, contact Jon Ray via our contact page or give him a call.  I will be difficult to reach most days, Jon has my schedule.

Jeff Topp