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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

Fly Fishing Insider Guided Podcast

Fly Fishing Insider Guided Podcast

Scientific Anglers

I am honored to be selected to be part of the Fly Fishing Insiders Guided Podcast series, this series features the Scientific Anglers Ambassador’s and Advisors . This being episode 15 in the series, the host of the show Greg Keenan and I decided to discuss Northern Michigan Smallmouth Bass.

Smallmouth Bass

Greg mentioned he had not had the opportunity to interview anyone yet as it relates to smallmouth bass. I did my best to cover the different ways that I like to target smallmouth bass in Northern Michigan. Going over a few different lines and setups. A key tip I disclose is how I use smallmouth bass to help me later in the year show me those off the radar steelhead spots. Make sure to give the podcast a listen and let me know what you think.

Podcast

Jon Ray

Bass Popper

Bass Popper

Bass Popper Pattern

Woke up this morning to a very nice text message from Bob C.  Bob was fishing Bass Poppers last night, and he wanted to share his success on the Mrs. Pakman popper pattern.   Fishing Bass on topwater, no matter if they are smallmouth or largemouth bass, is personally on of my favorite experiences with a fly rod.  The explosive takes and visual experience, that you get when a Bass takes your popper is something every fly angler needs to witness.  It truly doesn’t get any better, than Bass on topwater.

The Mrs. Pakman was a pattern that we covered in the Big Appetite Smallmouth Bass  DVD  from a couple years ago.  Kevin Feenstra and I collaborated on this Smallmouth Video, to cover all aspects of smallmouth bass fishing.  One of  the 6 patterns we covered was this simple foam based popper, it is easy to tie and highly effective.  Check it out, if you haven’t.  The Pattern is covered int he 32 nd minute of the video.  Also you can watch the video On Demand here.  Thank you for your support.

If your not into tying your own top water patterns.  But your thinking of buying a few for this summer’s Bass fishing adventure.  Two things to consider when buying a popper.  First, what is the underbody color.  The most important color is what does the bass see.  Don’t worry about the colors on top of the popper.  Some great choices to start with are yellow, white, and then go dark for an assortment like dark green or black.  Second, is the hook gap on a popper.  Make sure if your buying a Bass Popper that you buy one with a big hook gap.  No less than the width of your thumb.  Make sure the Bass Popper can hook the Bass that your targeting.

Some of the best  Bass Poppers to buy are the Boogle Bug Popper , make sure to check these Poppers out for your Bass fishing needs.  They are a little expensive for a fly, but they are truly worth it.  Very durable, come in great colors, and are perfect size for smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Happy Bass Fishing,

Jon Ray

Jumping Largemouth and Jumping Smallmouth Bass

Bass fishing really heated up over the weekend with the warm air temps, fish were fairly aggressive, still not 100% on fire, but some really nice bass can be found.  I still look for August to be prime, as water levels drop and water clears up.   Been tying patterns very similar to the ones found in the DVD, and now can also be watched VOD.   Baitfish style has been #1 but with water dropping and clearing look for the spicy crab to start to take over.

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Air Time, Mr. Smallmouth – Picture of the Day

Mr. Smallmouth getting a little air time.  Trying to continue to work on my skills of timing, smallmouth are much easier than steelhead.

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3 – Tand Fly Reel – Very Impressed

 

 

So if you know me you might find this post kind of funny.  But yes I was impressed by a fly reel here most recently.  While a lot of my teaching on how to go about fighting and handling fish here in Michigan does not require the reel.  I believe in stripping the fly line in and landing them.

But with my new arsenal of Scott Radian rods, I was finding out my old school reels where just too heavy and my balance was off.  As fly rods continue to get lighter and lighter my “coffee cans” needed an upgrade.  Now to my dilemma, with smallmouth bass season here my 907 Radian needed to be outfitted with my favorite bass line 7wt Titan Taper, but as you all know smallmouth do not require the reel for drag.  Strip them bronze back beauty’s in.  So I did not want to spend a lot of money, for a line holder.  Not going to be using a drag.  But balance is key, smallmouth require that you cast.  Longer casts on wider rivers, and banging shoreline on our reservoirs.  Don’t want a heavy setup for a long day of casting.

So my good friend and fellow endangered species hunter Russ Maddin, told me about a new company 3-tand reels.  He had just bought a few for his Scott Radians.  Well after picking up a TF 70 from TNA (The Northern Angler) for $209.  I am floored by the value that one gets with this reel.

The TF 70 is perfect for trout and smallmouth fishing.  There are a couple things that I look for in a reel.  1) How does it balance on the rod, 3-tands TF-70 is super light, well ported but still seems durable.  2) How does it spin, what do I mean by this.  Can I pick up line quickly by spinning the spool.  The answer is yes here, the reel is balanced almost like a center pin reel.  Spins like a champ.  3) Sounds funny but is it sexy.  Do I like how it looks.  While I see reels as men’s jewelry, I want my stuff to be looking good.  Answer again is yes.  4) If and when I need drag what am I working with? 3-tands and there TF-70 model?  Well the Patent Pending sealed NanoCF Drag system to begin with, what does that mean?  Smooth and Sealed basically and secondly for the money more drag than you will ever get anywhere else.

If you need a new reel check out 3-tand and contact Brian at the TNA he has them in stock.  Great reel and OMG great value.

Smallmouth DVD now On Demand

With future project just around the corner about to be released, working with Vimeo Mangled Fly and Snap T Pictures have launched a Vimeo on Demand page.  First video  on our page is the Big Appetite Small Mouth DVD that we launched a couple summers ago.  Now you can watch this DVD at anytime on your computer.  Look for this page to grow over the next couple months, as Erik and I will be releasing more videos here very shortly.  Next video to be released with be the Midnight Creeper.

Big Appetite Small Mouth DVD from Mangled Fly Media on Vimeo.

Michigan is home to many great freshwater game fish. In this DVD, Michigan guides Jon Ray and Kevin Feenstra explore some of the great waters of West Michigan for smallmouth bass. Both Jon and Kevin have a great deal of experience with these hard fighting gamefish. The complete DVD features tips and techniques, as well as detailed, step-by-step instructions for a handful of their favorite smallmouth bass flies. Basics such as equipment and knots are also covered. This DVD is produced by Erik Rambo of Snap T productions. Erik is a professional videographer, known for his work in other fly fishing films. Music done by Mike Moran check out more of his work on his website.

Moldy Chum DVD review

One of the biggest fly fishing blogs, Moldy Chum,  posts a review of Big Appetite Smallmouth bass DVD.  Click here to read the review.

To purchase a copy of the DVD check out Mangled Fly’s online shop.