Manistee River Steelhead Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

First week of December and the PM looks good!

The Pere Marquette is low and clear. Floating today we could see the bottom in most of the steelhead holding water. That being said the fish are there. I was surprised at the number of fish holding in some very skinny water.

Winter Steelhead

Winter Steelhead Fishing Pere Marquette

We have been seeing a mix of early fall steelhead and a fair amount of fresh run winter steelhead.. That with a handful of nice brown trout makes for a great day of fishing.

With the air and river temps dropping it has been a indicator game. Using yarn, beads and a few stone flys under a float has been the most productive method. Long leaders are a must when the river is as clear as it is now. Winter flows are here to stay.

Look for the fish in the slower, woody runs. Straight flow seemed to be the key. Most of the fish we found are in the deepest parts of the runs around and in the wood.

With the river being low and clear its a great time to get out and do some wading. If you plan to wade take your time and bring a extra layer with you just incase of a trip and fall. No one needs a frost bite before Christmas.

It is a great time to be out on the river. Get out there and enjoy what northern Michigan has to offer.

Booking a Trip

Booking a trip is easy shoot us a text, or call us, (231-631-5701) or use the contact page.  

Now is the time to get out and enjoy the spring weather.

Tight lines!

Capt. Jeff

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report has us entering the last month of the year and we are beginning the transition into our winter programs. With our primary focus on the Big Manistee Below Tippy Dam, and winter fishing the Pere Marquette River. We find ourselves spending less time on the Upper Manistee River trout fishing. But when the occasion pops up it’s always a treat. Access can be limited this time of year so play with caution. Not many ramps are cleared of ice and snow so be careful.

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Winter trout fishing on the Upper Manistee River means streamer fishing. With Brown Trout have finished spawning so this can be a good time of year to target some bigger trout. Not too often do you see the small guys chase this time of year. Primarily you will see the adults out looking for those bigger meals. As was the case the other day, not many chasers but the fish we did get was a really nice post spawn hen that was eager to crush our streamer.

Look for fish to be sitting in slow woody spots. Using cover as a hiding spot to ambush prey, but also to conserve energy during the winter. These spots are not always the deep spots either, normally some of the best spots are only a couple feet deep.

Also fly size isn’t normally our biggest patterns, more the 3-5″ stuff. Color that matches the bottom color or water hue are normally best. Look for sculpins, leeches, and small baitfish to be your best bet.

New Trout Flies

McCoys Iyso Dun Grey
Natural Iyso

We have new Trout Flies that we will be selling this year. Ed McCoy has released new patterns and over the coming months we will be getting stock so make sure to check back or sign up for our Newsletter to get the updates when they arrive. The new McCoy Iyso Dun Grey is currently available and this is sure to be a winner this June during the Iyso hatch. Get yours while they are still in stock. This are sure to sell out.


Didymo on the Upper Manistee continues to be a problem as new sections fall ill to its presence and previously affected areas are still producing viable cells. I would consider the whole Upper Manistee River System to be contaminated with this Diatom. Didymo is considered a very resilient invasive species so you need to educate yourself on safe cleaning techniques that you will need to clean your gear or anything that touches the water. It can be spread between watersheds very easily and can be detrimental to our trout streams.

The amount of Didymo that we are still seeing on our floats on the Upper Manistee below CCC Bridge is very disheartening, it is going to take some time yet so see what happens next in the lower river. The short term implications have not been very good for what a longterm bloom may do to the ecosystem and fishing. We have found Didymo now from Yellow Trees to the CCC Bridge as well. I would expect it will continue to extend its presence further upstream as we enter the fall season and leaf drop allows more sunlight penetration through the tree canopy.

I would consider the Entire River TO BE CONTAMINATED and treat it as such. Clean, Drain, Dry your gear before entering another Body of Water. Currently, there are no effective methods to eradicate didymo once it is established in a river. To prevent spreading Didymo and other aquatic invasive species to new locations, it is critical for users to thoroughly Clean, Drain and Dry waders, equipment, and boats upon leaving a waterway.

  • Clean by removing mud and debris from all surfaces.
  • Use a 10% Solution of Dishwashing Soap with hot water for 10 minutes (Example 1 gallon of water is 12.8 oz of Dawn Soap). Then it must dry for 48 hours (mandatory if your fishing different water systems).

Trout Guide Trip

If your looking to book a 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 Winter trout trip. Have you seen the new Brown Trout T-shirt yet? Still have a few sizes remaining. Also make sure to check a few of the new colors we have in the Low Profile Trucker Hat and also the Full Size Trucker.

Jon Ray


Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Fishing Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

The Manistee River below Tippy Dam fishing report for the middle of November Has Water Levels remaining in a pretty constant flow. We are now only at 1610 CFS with water temps dropping into the low forties and creeping into the 30’s. The main river system from top to bottom is looking good. Steelhead have spread out through the whole main river. The outlook for the coming weeks looks strong, as mild weather is headed our way and should make fishing pretty good. Guide boats are available first part of December, contact us or give us a call 231-631-5701

Fall Steelhead Fishing

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Steelhead fishing on the Manistee River

Fall Steelhead are settling in and not moving so much any more. Winter program has started. Egg patterns still seem to be the best bet especially on the bright sunny days, but the Swing bite is holding even though it has gotten tougher. As fish are moving into slower bodies of water.

The float game is getting a little more technical now, as fish are feeling that temp drop. It’s float changing season, make sure to dial in your shot string as well. The bite has slowed, so that means you need to slow down as well.

The bug bite has picked up as well as a much of caddis are moving and as is the case normally this time of year big stoneflies are chewing on the leaf drop. Basically any stick, leaf or debris you catch you will see cased caddis on them.

Swinging Flies

This week the black flies were best, but saw blue and purple gaining traction. As is the case with the first snow of the year. Also starting to down size the flies, and make them sink quicker. Saw fish really go deep the last few days, not that I need more T-14 to reach them. But flies that get deep quick. So more synthetic materials and just a little bit smaller in size.

New Swag

New Swag in stock, we have a new Beanie in 2 different colors and brought back a fan fav the swing fly wax cotton canvas hat . Both in stock now and ready for the winter steelhead season. Makes a great holiday gift as well.

Booking a Trip

If you’re looking to book a Winter Steelhead or Trout Fishing Trip give us a call at (231-631-5701) or shoot us an email . The Manistee River below Tippy Dam is one of the best sections in Michigan for Winter Steelhead, we have a dates open. Also from what we saw last season December – February can be some of the best steelhead fishing of the year. Nothing beats the Fall Steelhead, but definitely don’t overlook winter. We are seeing chrome fish pushing now, we way less trafic.

Tight Lines,

Jon Ray