Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Spring Steelhead Fishing

The Manistee River Steelhead report for the week of March 23rd. The Manistee River this past week has been holding steady around 2400 cfs. The river has been dropping steadily over the past few days and will probably remain slightly elevated as we warm up again and the snowmelt in the headwaters hits the stream. Water temps have also been on the rise and are now staying around 39.5 degrees. With the increased flows and water temperature, we have been seeing some fresh fish arriving daily over this past week, but not a substantial push by any means.

Coronavirus Pandemic and Guide Trips

With the global outbreak of the coronavirus now hitting close to home for every American, Michigan and several other states have issued a “shelter in place” order to try and ease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order in Michigan has mandated that all “non-essential Businesses” must cease all operations from March 24th to April 13th. This is subject to change based on how things proceed from this point moving forward. We at Mangled FLY hope everyone continues to do their part to prevent the transmission of this disease and we hope everyone continues to remain safe and healthy thru these trying times. We will resume our guiding services when the order is lifted by the state. We will try and update the fishing conditions as best as we can, so please be patient on awaiting new reports during these trying times. Also make sure to check out the Pere Marquette and Upper Manistee reports if you haven’t yet.


The State of Michigan has been encouraging people to continue to recreate outdoors using CDC approved social distancing practices. The Michigan DNR has been promoting the use of its outdoor resources and has encouraged people to engage in fishing, hunting, and general outdoor activities across the state. Yesterday the MDNR announced it would suspend all fees for the state parks, there will be no fees for people to enjoy the outdoor recreational opportunities here in Michigan throughout the outbreak. So with that being said enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer, but please continue to stay safe out there.

Fishing Report

The Manistee River Steelhead report as of late has some good steelhead fishing as of late. There is a mix bag of fish beginning to spawn and some newer fish arriving daily. The flows and clarity have improved dramaitcly since the last report as most of the recent runoff has moved through the system. With water temps quickly approaching 40 degrees it feels like the spring run is beginning to pick up in pace after a slight pause in the action with the recent cold fronts. The weather forecast for this upcoming week looks perfect with most days in the 40’s and even some 50’s and more rain heading into the weekend. This should keep the fish happy and continue to send our spring fish home.

The best flies right now have been brighter egg patterns in Chartreuse, Chartreuse and Orange, and Orange on the cloudy days and a little more pale on the sunny days. Salmon fry, hex, stones, and green caddis patterns are all providing opportunities especially when the fishing pressure has been high. Look for the green caddis nymph to continue to shine in the dropping flows this week and as we warm up the stonefly activity should return as well. As water continues to drop and clear, fishing with the smaller balsa floats and loafer style floats while utilizing a finesse approach, will once again provide some opportunities as we move forward in what should be a low water season this year.

Spring Steelhead

Spring Steelhead bookings have been put on hold at this moment due to the recent Governors executive order. Feel free to contact us regarding any future bookings and if you have a special someone who you know is itching to hit the water we are seeing a request for Gift Certificates towards future trips, (231-631-5701) and email requests are welcomed!

The next 3-4 weeks will be trying times as we navigate through the great unknowns, but we will get through this and we will be looking forward to fishing with everyone in the near future. Take care, stay healthy, and get outside and enjoy nature. This is a perfect time to disconnect from the the TV and Social Media and enjoy some self reflection, family time, and fly tying. We look forward to more positive times and getting back on the water shortly.

Tight Lines,

Ed McCoy