Tag Archive for: Fishing Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report below Tippy Dam

Spring Steelhead

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Manistee River below Tippy Dam

The Manistee River fishing report below Tippy Dam for the middle part of March, is off to a cooler start than I would of guessed a month ago. 3″ of snow falling again this morning. Manistee River is in pretty good shape though, water is clear and has a good level to it. Our Spring Steelhead have been showing up in a slow trickle, I mean slow. No big wave, but ever since mid February we have been finding Spring Steelhead migrating up the Manistee River.

Last couple days fishing has picked up a notch so hope that continues, during the past week think we only saw a few hatchery fish, still mostly our wild strain this spring. But with big winds the last few days and river temps warm enough to trigger a spring push. Looks like this week we will learn a lot.

Currently Water Levels are on a slight rise with some much need rain that happened this week. With water temps now at 38.3 degrees, and will climb even more this week. We have started to see Spring steelhead fish behavior, meaning a it’s spawning time. With no Planted steelhead in the Covid years we need to leave spawning steelhead alone.

Below is our list of open dates, with next week giving us some warmer days and possible rain again, now is the time. Contact us or give us a call 231-631-5701 .

Also really excited for some new smallmouth water we will be expanding too. Prime Spring Smallmouth Dates are available.

Open Steelhead , Trout, or Smallmouth Bass Dates

Jon Ray – April – 7, 12, 13, 21, 25, 28 and May 4, 6-9, 11, 14 , 16-18
Ed McCoy – March – 26 and April 2, 6, 9, 12-14, 16-18, 23, 24, 27, 28
Jeff Topp – March – 29 and April – 11, 13, 14, 25, 26, 28-30

Fly Patterns for Spring Steelhead

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Spring Steelhead on the Manistee River

Fly Patterns for Spring Steelhead this week continued to change on a daily basis. I continue to struggle to find a pattern. One day it’s all egg’s then the next day small minnow patterns or Alevin patterns. Once I feel good about my Alevin selection then the next day, can’t buy a bite on them.

Spring Steelhead definitely are more finicky than fall steelhead or winter steelhead. While still the same fish, they seem to have totally different behaviors. At least that is how I feel this week about them. Some weeks of fishing just get you a little more frustrated than other weeks. No matter what I still love these fish, but fly patterns in the fall are really simple in the spring don’t we can’t be afraid to change a couple times in the same run or pool.

Booking a Trip

If you’re looking to book an Early Spring Steelhead on the Manistee River below Tippy Dam give us a call at (231-631-5701) or shoot us an email . Make sure to check out the extensive blog post by Ed McCoy on this thoughts on Didymo and the Upper Manistee. Jeff Topp has been updating the Pere Marquette report as well.

I’ll post some new items for the shop this week. New Sun-shirts are coming in and hope to have a new hat design soon for this summer. Thanks for all the support.

Happy Spring Steelhead fishing

Jon Ray

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