Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Steelhead Fishing Report on the Manistee River

Fishing Report

The Manistee River Steelhead Report for the last week of November has the Manistee River fishing as it should for late fall. Water levels and temperatures are about normal for this time of year. North winds are starting to blow and getting weather forecasts with snow in it. Basically meaning this is steelhead weather. Seems each week we get a nice 50 degree day still, but have a feeling those days are numbered.

Water flows are currently at a good level, but a little rain and a few clouds would be great for keeping the fish from staying buried in the wood all day. The Big Manistee is running at 1900 cfs with water temps holding in the low 40’s now. The Manistee River had even flows for most of the week, with a 3 degree drop in temperature. This weeks forecast looks steelheadish for sure with snow and rain in the forecast mid week.

Fall Steelhead

Fall Steelhead continues to be hard work. One day you find them deep and buried in the wood, and then on other days we have been finding them holding or moving in the shallower tail outs, honestly its been hard to find a consistent pattern. New fish again showed up but staying on top of them was hard, they have redistributed themselves throughout the system over the past week. Have been impressed how far fish are moving during the day in this water temp, you can be on fish one day and the next they are two boat launches up stream. But Fall Steelhead will do that, you can pretty much count on them to be migratory in nature. Curious fish that like to know what is around the next bend.

Swinging Flies

Still been throwing heavily weighted swinging flies and 15 feet of T-14 on a Skagit Intermediate Lines, to get the best results. Did have opportunities in the shallow runs, so have the T-12 packed and the light rod setup. Black based patterns made a big impression this past week, with UV Burnt Orange heads, but always like the Purple or Blue this time of year. Especially with more snow in the forecast . Want more ideas for tying swinging flies for steelhead make sure to pick up Kevin Feenstra’s New Book. Once I get my hands on it I’ll go into more depth, but I can promise you without actually seeing it that you will not be disappointed.

Booking a Guide Trip

If your looking to book a guide trip give us a call or shoot an email (231-631-5701) and email . Fall is one of our busiest times, we are booking Late November and Early December currently seeing some good reports about warmer than normal temps. Some of the best fishing of the year can be the next few weeks, as less anglers are around. Make sure to check back to this report and see how we are doing.

Jon Ray

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report
Upper Manistee River streamer fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report for the middle of November has the post spawn streamer bite picking up. The Brown Trout are finishing up their spawning rituals and are beginning to fatten up before the upcoming winter. Streamer fishing for trout was pretty good this week and we had lots of action especially with a much needed weather change as some clouds and rain moved into the area. The fish were active for us throughout most of the day and provided some pretty awesome visuals as the water was still low and clear before the heavy overnight rains. The long range forecast is looking promising for more productive outings moving forward as more seasonable weather is returning to our area.

Water Monitoring Stations

With some unusually hot weather finally moving out and more seasonable weather returning to Northern Michigan, water temps should drop back into the 40’s again rather quickly. The initial temperature drop may impact the Trout’s enthusiasm, but as things begin to stabilize look for the fish start getting active again. With some recent overnight rains water is on the rise and understanding how the river conditions can impact your fishing success and how temperature dictates fish activity are two variable to pay attention to moving forward.

With two water monitoring stations now located on the Upper Manistee River you should add this link here for temp and flow data near the CCC Bridge and you should also book mark the new USGS site at M72 to follow trends in water conditions when planning your next fishing adventure. As guides we use this information daily in aiding our decision making process when planning for our days on the water. Conditions dictate success and understanding what the conditions are before you arrive can help you make smarter choices regarding where and how you fish a certain piece of water.

This new site is going to be a very valuable tool for the longterm. Now that real time data is available at both water monitoring stations, anglers will be able to develop a better understanding of water levels as they relate to depth and how wadable a section of river is to the walk and wade angler for example. When you begin to understand what the actual cfs reading looks like from a conditions standpoint, you will also be able to visualize how high and dirty a piece of water might be. This is an important association to develop when trying to choose the best sections to fish as we move forward from our fall to winter streamer seasons.

Fall Streamer Fishing

The fall streamer fishing was pretty good this week as more seasonable weather has moved back into our region. Some recent rains have the river on the rise, but even in the low clear water before the rains the fish were very receptive to a stripped streamer. Catching a rise in stream flows is always a good bet when looking for good streamer conditions, but even stable flows in low clear water can produce some good fishing opportunities, especially during the late fall and winter times. Post spawn trout are often eager to chase and eat, so if you aren’t moving fish change your fly colors and sizes until you find something they want.

Our best flies have been small to medium sized streamers in the low and clear water. The best fly colors as of late have been the standard black, white, yellow, and even some odd ball brighter colors. Strip tempo and fly depth has been important and dictated by water temp, so if water temps are dropping go deeper and slower. If you can see the fish coming watch how they respond to your fly presentation as this can tell you a lot about the mood the fish are in. Lazy follows are usually due to presentation, vary your fly size and stripping speeds until you can get the winning combination for the day.

Transitioning to Winter Streamer Fishing

The longterm forecast shows a mild cooling trend that is predicted to extend into December. If this continues to hold true then the transition to winter streamer fishing for trout should remain pretty productive until we enter the true deep freeze of winter. This is a great time of year to hunt our larger fish with streamers, fishing pressure is lighter and the fish are typically in a peak feeding window as winter is closing in. Looking for little warmups and overcast conditions can improve your chances, but we have had good fishing during the winter months even on sunny days. The solitude of trout fishing is hard to beat, but if you are looking for something else to do in between deer hunts or steelhead outings it can be a fun alternative to the norm.

We will fish a lot of floating lines and weighted streamers in the late fall and winter while streamer fishing on the Upper Manistee. In the deeper sections we still like to fish heavier sink tips, but for low-clear conditions make sure you check out the New Sonar I/2/3 from SA. It has been fishing well for trout in the low-clear water and it will continue getting a good run later this winter if these same water conditions persist for trout. Check this line out at your local fly shop and put it in your arsenal this fall!

Trout Guide Trips

We continue to spend most our time on the Lower Manistee River for steelhead but with the latest long term forecast. Late November and December chasing trout with streamers should be good. You can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email.

New hats, zip-up sweatshirts, and new beanies (to be added to the site this week), so check out the latest new gear in the shop section of the website. Also if your looking for a holiday gift idea you can purchase your gift certificate for the 2021 season for now as well shoot us an email and we will send you the link.

Tight Lines,


Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Trout Fishing

Pere Marquette Fishing Report
Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Fishing Report

Pere Marquette River Fishing Report for the first week in November as the Pere Marquette river is looking good! I was very surprised to see so many salmon still spawning. I knew that the salmon run was late but didnt think that the salmon would still be spawning this late into the fall. With that said we found that the steelhead and brown trout were no longer keying in on the salmons eggs. We found the majority of our fish in the wood. Slow deeper runs with lumber in them seemed to be the go.

Fall Steelhead

The browns and steelhead both looked very fat and healthy. After the fall egg drop and the dying salmon the entire river felt very happy and healthy. The bead egg bite was tough. Sorted through lots of colors and sizes with very little response. This should change as the water temps drop. At that point we decided to change methods and go lure fishing.

Minnow Bite

The fish wanted a minnow. A big meal. We spent the last half of the day moving and catching some nice fish. What a blast!! With the river conditions low and clear a quiet approach staying well away from the area you are targeting is a must. The river is clean, clear and very wadeable. This weekend’s weather report looks great for spending some time on the river. Take advantage: you never know when winter will decide to show up. Also, We have a few open dates for December fishing. Low angler pressure makes December a perfect time for a float. Be safe out there and good luck!!

Booking Trout Trips

Drop us an email if your thinking about booking a steelhead fishing trip on the Pere Marquette or Lower Manistee River. You can also give us a call at (231-631-5701) and we will get you on the water! We still have a few openings in November and December can be just as good if your looking to get out on the water. Also not too early to think about Gift Certificates for your favorite anglers for holiday gifts.

Jeff Topp