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.