Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Manistee River Steelhead Fishing

Fishing Report

The Manistee River Steelhead Report for late January has the Manistee River running really clear. River levels are about average to a little low for this time of year, water temperatures hovering around 35 degrees. Water flows are currently at a good to low level, and running at 1740 cfs. So the game has gotten stealthy. Downsizing presentation, and changing up presentations.

Typical fishing report for this time of year, with cold water and surprising clear water it has fish in the deepest darkest parts of river. Go deep and fish where the wood is. Might cause you to tie a few more knots but that is where they have been hiding. Just as what Jeff Topp is seeing on the Pere Marquette, you need to invest in the lumber runs. Also softening up the presentation. Rag style eggs and bugs are making a difference.

Winter Steelhead

Egg Flies for Steelhead
Egg Flies for Steelhead

Steelhead on the Manistee River have entered the stage where mixing up the program pays dividends. One of the tactics that we like to work into the program is movement. To do this best you need to add weight to your flies. The bug bite has started, so doing what you do to imitate the wax worm & jigs is paying off. We like to use feathers and plastics to get the movement.

When fishing this way you will also find that you need to usually change out your float as well. I find I get the better movement on my jig or euro patterns with a slim float design. I personally like the loafer.

Something else we saw this week, is that beads are always effective but could talk steelhead into a bigger meal, so rag style egg flies bounced into the timber runs did the trick. Coaxing out a steelhead with a single large egg fly is a great way to fish the dirty runs. As the bead rig gets hung up with how the hook dangles in the rigging.

Add slight purples or blues to your egg patterns is a good idea when water is clear, really not sure why other than it works. I think the lavender tones dull out the hotter oranges and yellows. Creating a different mix of colors and pulling on the curiosity factors of steelhead.

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 . Spring steelhead is just around the corner, phone has been ringing, so if you’re looking for dates give us a call. Make sure to check back to this report and see how we are doing. We have been playing on the Upper Manistee River trout fishing as well. Make sure to follow us socially as Ed McCoy will be tying some his patterns in the next few weeks online. Both the Northern Angler and Shultz Outfitters have him on the docket.

Jon Ray

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report
Winter Steelhead fishing on the Pere Marquette

What a blessing to have this mild of a January. The Pere Marquette looks great, water levels are low but has found some stain to help with the fishing. It has been great to float the river and not freeze. Ramps look good as well, with less snow pack than normal.  So you can pretty much get in and out through out the system.

Steelhead and Brown Trout

The Steelhead and brown trout are hunkered down in the wood. Slow runs with lots of lumber seems to be the game at this time. We have had good success with streamers and lures. The bead bite has seemed to go soft. My guess would be that the fish aren’t holding in the runs that you can present an egg pattern to them.  They are loving the lumber runs.

Steelhead and Brown Trout have been liking small Minnow patterns, sculpins and other dull earth tone streamers with little to no flash. I would think that the egg bite will turn on when we get a fresh push of Steelhead. The fish are willing to chase and crush the bait on the right day. Winter fishing can be hit and miss day to day. The fish are there but some days they want to sulk.

What a beautiful time to spend a day watching nature on the Pere Marquette. If you’re out wading be safe the river has some stain to it. This can make the underwater structure hard to see. No need to take a swim in January.

Be safe and enjoy what mother nature has to offer.

Booking Trout Trips

Drop us an email if your thinking about booking a steelhead fishing trip this winter 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! Our calendars have opened up and January and February can be just as good as any month if you’re looking to get out on the water. Also not too early to think about Spring Dates.

Jeff Topp

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report
Streamer Fishing Northern Michigan

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report for the first part of 2021 is off to a pretty good start. With a mild winter so far, seems as if the fish are eager to feed. Water levels currently look good, I will not lie I would take some rain or more snow but beggars can’t be choosers. All in all trout fishing is pretty good.

Streamer Fishing

The go to tactic currently is streamer fishing, not really fishing big patterns. Normally 3-4″ in length mostly with cone heads to lead the fly deeper into the runs. Fishing both with sinking lines and floating lines with cone head type patterns has been the most productive. Does seem if you can slow the fly down you will have better success. Slowing your retrieve gets your fly deeper and leads to more opportunity and interest with the chilly water temps as well.

4 Wheel drive is a must in most areas of the river so please be careful if your brining your own boat, but with 4-6″ of snow you can get into most launches if you know the area. But with the warm up today mid 40’s snow is melting and snow that was once packed pretty good by track could lead to some interesting turn arounds with a trailer.

Water Monitoring Stations

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 with winter.

Trout Guide Trips

We continue to spend most our time on the Lower Manistee River for steelhead , and the Pere Marquette but with access to trout we are all happy to simply get out and fish. We are booking spring trips currently, you can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email.

Tight Lines,

Jon Ray