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Manistee River below Tippy Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Fishing Salmon below Tippy Dam

Manistee River below Tippy Dam

Hello fishing friends,


I have just returned from Anglers Alibi in Alaska. What an amazing summer it was! It was a year of the rainbow trout. Our salmon fishing was a bunch of fun as always. The rainbow fishing was as good as I have seen in a long time! Great numbers of fish and some monsters had been caught.

Now back to the Manistee River below Tippy Dam. The Manistee River looks real nice. The Salmon fishing has been fair to medium. Good amounts of salmon are entering the river. More fish entering the drainage everyday. Look for the kings holding in the deep slow pools. Slow holding water is key early season. Crank baits and steamers are great choices for this time of year. With the water cooling and the salmon getting ready to spawn the fish should start to transition to the shallower runs. Holding water in and around the gravel stretches will start to pay off as the water temps drop. 


With the fall Weather on the way it’s a great time to be outside and fishing. Trees are starting to change, eagles are flying and the salmon migration is in full swing. It’s time to feel the big pull of the king!

Fall Steelhead

But with Kings brings Fall Steelhead and the phone has started to ring with interest in our open October thru December dates. If your looking for dates give us a call or shoot an email (231-631-5701) and email . Fall is one of our busiest times, so get your date request in soon.

Jeff Topp

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing Report
Upper Manistee Trout Fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee Trout Fishing report for the middle of September has the late summer fishing transitioning hard into fall. Fishing has been pretty good overall, hoppers are still producing but small streamers have been getting some attention as the fall air is triggering movement. We had a water event at the beginning of the week and fish moved into ideal hunting spots. Currently water has dropped and clearing.

Fall Fishing

With some more seasonable weather in Northern Michigan, the water temps have been dropping into the upper 50s at night as we begin to transition into Fall fishing on the Upper Manistee River. Please use this link here for temp and flow data this fall to help you remotely monitor water levels before you even head out to the river. Understanding the water levels and being able to relate the Depth reading at the gauge to how wadable a section is, or understanding how high and dirty the water might be, is still a valuable tool that can be used when choosing the best section to fish as we move towards our fall streamer season.

Transitioning to Fall Hatches

The fall Isonychia hatch was in full effect this week. With the recent drop in water temps this bug has been hatching more consistently throughout the day and the fish were taking notice. This hatch isn’t as prolific on the Upper Manistee River as the earlier June hatches, but it can provide some good quality fishing at a time of the year where the hatches are very limited. Also had good Cahill’s this week in size 14. Look for best bugs from 12 to 5 pm, with flying ants in the evening hours.

Good cinnamon colored ants have been flying around from size 16 to micro. Not sure how small they were, but I mean small. Smaller than I want to fish and tie, fish didn’t seem to mind and we caught plenty on size 16 and 18 ants as well on those warmer less windy evenings.

Fall Streamer Fishing

This week the streamer bite was solid in the beginning of the week as fish liked that water event we had, Kean had us booked for a couple days and mangled to find a beautiful Manistee River rainbow trout, one of those fish we don’t see very often. Fish were on the hunt on insides and shallow kill spots. Or hunting spots, with water dropping focus on the deep pools.

We have been fishing a lot of floating lines and weighted streamers as of late on the Upper Manistee, but check out the New Sonar I/2/3 from SA. It has been fishing so well for smallmouth bass in the low-clear water that it will be getting a good run later this fall if low-clear water conditions persist into the late fall for trout. Check this line out at your local fly shop and put it in your arsenal this fall!

Trout Guide Trips

Looking to book a Northern Michigan Fishing trip? Please continue to check out this page as we update it, but we will be starting to spend a lot of time over the next 3-4 weeks persuing other fish species as we transition into October and our Fall Steelhead fishing on the Lower Manistee River for steelhead. You can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email. We are booking well into October & November now, with streamer trips for trout and then Fall Steelhead starting in as well.

We have a few sweatshirts back in stock , this is a great weight for the fall season and is one of the coziest sweatshirts I own. New in the Mangled Fly Swag hamper we are working on a wax canvas fall steelhead head, a new beanie, and one last trucker hat for the 2020 season, so check back to see when they are added or follow Mangled Fly socially.

Tight Lines,

Jon Ray

Chestnut Lamprey

Chestnut Lamprey

Chestnut Lamprey
Chestnut Lamprey attached to a Brown Trout

Chestnut Lamprey

The Chestnut Lamprey, Ichthyomyzon castaneus, is a Native Species commonly found in Lakes and Rivers throughout the Great Lakes region. They are considered to be an indicator species and their presence in a body of water has been closely associated with healthy clean water. There is, however, one negative component to their presence in a watershed and that is the negative impact they can have on fish populations during their parasitic phase.

The chestnut Lamprey has two primary life stages to complete its life cycle. The first life stage is the larval phase, commonly referred to as ammocoetes, in which the larval form is primarily a filter feeding organism. The larva will live in the fine and silty bottom sediments in slower backwater pools for an average of 5-7 years. When the larva reach 4-6 years of age they go through a metamorphosis and develop teeth and a sucking mouth disk characterized by the adult parasitic phase of their life cycle.

The metamorphic phase appears to take place from October through the end of January as the ammocoetes enter the second life stage as parasitic adults. As the water begins to warm up in April the larva exit their burrows and enter the parasitic feeding phase of their life cycle. The Chestnut Lamprey tends to be more active at night and during low light periods. Peak feeding periods for the adults range from May through July with some adults holding over until the following spring to spawn. The adult chestnut lamprey will continue to feed until the peak spawning season occurs from June to July. After spawning the adults will die and the cycle is repeated. (Hall, 1963)

Manistee River

In Michigan, most of our trout streams have an established population of Chestnut Lamprey, but, the Manistee River has been mentioned as having a highly abundant population in the upper portions of the watershed, especially from County Road 612 to Sharon Road. As the water temperature reaches 50 F degrees the adults begin to feed. (Hall, 1963) This temperature change coincides nicely with the obvious annual appearance of Chestnut Lamprey on the trout we catch throughout the first half of our trout season. Most of the trout in our streams will react to streamer patterns tied with a long and “leechy” appearance and lots of undulating movement in the materials.

Matching the Hatch

Chestnut Lamprey will range in size from 4-5” early in their adult development and will attain lengths of +7” at maturity. It’s not a coincidence that as the lamprey continue to become more active that the streamer fishing becomes more consistent for us, especially on the Manistee River. The trout are not only actively feeding at this time, but they are also combating the presence of an “alien intruder” that will parasitize them if they let their guard down! It is not uncommon to see some pretty exciting visuals while fishing “leechy” patterns at this time of year. Some fish will recklessly chase them out of their territory and oftentimes will strike with violent takes.

Take this information for what it is worth, but having an understanding of the natural phenomenon that occurs during this time of the year can only help you. Fly selection, fly movement, and presentation are all critical components to angling success and having one more arrow in the quiver can only be a positive. The Chestnut Lamprey life cycle is really just an example of one more hatch that you should pay close attention to as we move closer to the opening day of trout season here in Michigan.

Hall, J. 1963. An ecological study of the chestnut lamprey, Ichthyomyzon castaneus, in the Manistee River, Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

Pic of the Day – Big Steelhead

Manistee River Steelhead

Well so far the Steelhead run of 2019 is very similar to 2018, they are big again. If you remember one of my posts from last year I have the same feeling for this year. The elusive 20 pound steelhead is going to make it’s entrance at some point. Yesterday we had a 15-16 pound steelhead give us everything we could handle with an extremely long run, where the backing knot sure was tested for a longer period in time than I’m comfortable with as a guide. That amount of line out of the rod on the Manistee River with all it’s log jams is never a good thing.

Jim my client did everything he could to just hold onto this beauty. After landing the steelhead everyone was in awe and a simple picture in the net is all Jim wanted. We revived this beauty and off she swam to continue on her journey.

As your headed out this fall be ready for some big battles. Good luck and continue to check back as we share a few pics and stories from the fall steelhead run.

Michigan Fall Steelhead

Fall Steelhead on the Big Manistee River

Back on the Big Manistee for the Fall Steelhead season, wanted to share some quick pics of the first few days back. First impressions are we have some big fish again this year. They are strong and hard to hold onto. Without a doubt these are my favorite fish to chase during the season, the speed and power of these Great Lakes strain of steelhead is truly impressive.

Check back through out the week as I will continue to post additional images and links. Also make sure to follow Mangled Fly on Instagram as we post additional pictures and videos on our Feed and Stories.

Still have a few open dates at the end of November as well and plenty of availability in December too. Open Nov dates are 26,27,29. Contact me if your interested. As reports from my charter lake captains is this run of 2019 Fall Steelhead should be special. Have a great fall!

AP Drake

I have been lucky enough to have Ed McCoy on my team of guides for the last 10+ years and have access to his fly box on my days I need it. Now with Montana Fly Company picking up his patterns. You too can have them in your arsenal. Make sure stop by your local fly shop and ask for Ed’s patterns this Drake season. His AP Drake will be submitted soon, with it’s new updates. But I believe Orvis still carries this amazing pattern. AP stands for All Purpose. Makes it easy just match the size.

Pic of the Day – 2018 Fall Steelhead Run

The 2018 Fall Steelhead run has begun, so far size of the fish is very impressive.  Looking forward to the next 2 months.  Make sure to check out the fishing reports for the Manistee River and the Muskegon River for more pictures and updated information.  Hope to see you out there, have a great fall.

 

brown trout

May Fishing Video

Did a quick edit from this past weeks for the Hawkins YouTube Channel.  Highlights are from a good week of Dry Fly Fishing for Trout on the Upper Manistee River.

Steelhead Eye – Picture of the Day

Late Fall and Early Winter Steelhead Fishing

  • Late Fall / Early Winter steelhead fishing is off to a great start make sure to check out the Manistee River steelhead report, with strong winds and some much need precipitation this past week steelhead were on the move.  Along with the Mansitee River, another great tailwater to fish this time of year is the Muskegon River.  Both rivers offer great steelhead fishing the month of December .