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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.

DNR

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

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Steelhead Fishing

Pere Marquette Fishing Report
Pere Marquette Spring Steelhead

The Pere Marquette fishing report for the week of March 22nd, has us into Spring officially. As the season is moving along, so is our view of the world. Some interesting times, to say the least. At Mangled Fly we are going to try to update the reports on a more frequent bases than our once a week norm, to give anglers staying at home something to take their minds off of “the world” for a few minutes and think about the rivers and fish we enjoy to fish and chase. First and foremost be safe out there! Second, as we have some extra time on our hands, if you want to see anything different (videos, articles, blogs) drop us a line. Over the next few weeks, with cancellations happening we hope to get some new media and content published. We are looking for ideas.

Fishing Report

The fishing report for the Pere Marquette river is first of all its in great shape! The water level is slightly up and the color is perfect! This week it was on the drop, but after rain and more snow melting the Pere Marquette jumped back up. Online water data for depth and temp that we use can be found in the link.

Steelhead have really hit the gravel areas hard, as spawning is occurring in all the known sections. Not many new chrome fish, but plenty of holdover winter fish. Did hit a bright chrome fish yesterday (Saturday) in a mid river moving slot that lite us up pretty good. Early morning before the sun gets to high been hitting moving spots with really bright egg patterns, on the first cast this bright hen hit like a fall run chrome torpedo. We didn’t land that one.

With plenty of spawning going on already, we did hit our first drop back as well this week, in a classic drop back spot. Always fun to fish for drop backs, as these fish love a variety of tactics and especially minnow patterns. Dead drifting fry patterns (bigger than normal as dropbacks are not picky) can lead to success. This fly was more tied euro jig or jig style. On the new Firehole 523 size #6  that I picked up. Using a 7/32 5.5 Tungsten Bead (white) and tying up a simple fry pattern with grizzly marabou and an ice dub hot spot. One of the flies that I hope to get filmed, as more jig style hooks are coming out. The Firehole has been really nice, barbless but nice and strong. The 5.5 bead is heavy, really heavy so fishes well in fast deep water. Perfect for under a float in spring water types.

Coronavirus Pandemic

With the global outbreak of the coronavirus everyone has concerns and no one wants to be deliberately exposed to this virus. With that being said we are continuing to run our business based on a daily assessment of the outbreak. If things begin to get out of hand and you have dates booked with us we will be in touch with you personally on how to proceed. If you have travelled to or from any hot spots and are waiting on a test result, please let us know ahead of time and please refrain from traveling here until you get your test results confirmed. If you are feeling sick or “off” and/or have some genuine concerns regarding your upcoming trips please feel free to reach out to us and we can discuss other options. Now with that being said we want everyone to be safe, be healthy, and to make smart decisions based on your own health and for the greater community. Please continue to stay safe out there.

Booking Spring Steelhead & Trout Trips

Drop us an email if your thinking about fishing this Spring or early Summer post virus season, or use the Contact Page to request a day. Also feel free to text us at 231-631-5701 for open availability. Spring Steelhead should peak here soon, but still have openings and with streamer success on Upper Manistee already we will be breaking out the streamer rods on the PM too.

Jon Ray

Changing Floats based on Water Type

Changing Floats based on Water Type

I can still remember the day when the light bulb turned on and I finally understood the need to change my float to match the water type I was fishing. Changing floats based on water type isn’t something you hear much about. Actually it’s a simple change that can make a big difference, especially in the spring, when steelhead themselves are changing the water types they utilize.

Fishing Story

Let’s start with a real world scenario, or as I like to commonly refer to it, my lightbulb moment. It was December and I just spent the past 60 days fishing for steelhead on the lower Manistee River, the section closest to Lake Michigan. Most of those days were spent primarily fishing floats in the lower end of the river. I had my confidence rig all setup and ready to go and for whatever reason I decided to change it up and shift the guide trip towards Tippy Dam.

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Fall Steelhead

Fall Steelhead 2019 Update

Fall steelhead 2019 update. The Manistee River continues to fish pretty well for fall steelhead. The last few days fish numbers have slowed down as we haven’t received a push of fish in a few days, but with a good number of steelhead in the upper sections opportunity still prevails. While pressure remains high with other boats and anglers you have to have a good presentation to get the job done.

The egg bite has been the main tactic but the streamer rods have started to make it into the rotation as well. Craig had a exciting morning yesterday that I want to expand upon in the next blog. Working with a new single hand set up that I want to go into more details about. Craig as seen above in the picture gallery landed a nice Coho on a ESL (egg sucking leech) and wait to you hear about our other encounter. For those interested in the streamer / Swing bite, Steelhead have set up in the runs where we like them. At least I’ve been finding them in that type of water with the egg presentation. So I believe that the time is right to start hunting the fall steelhead run with both eggs and streamers.

Wish everyone the best of luck this fall, more updates coming. Hope to get to the single hand line combo blog this week as well

Jon Ray

brown trout

Finished Huron Drifter

Here is a link below to the Finished Huron Drifter on their Facebook page,  if you followed along in the building process post. A don’t be worried I’ll be taking many more water pics with this craft in the coming months.  Happy with how she turned out, thank you Jason and Tracy for all your hard work.  Any questions about this boat give Tracy a call, let them know I sent ya, you will be well taken care of.

Jon Ray

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 .

 

 

steelhead mangled fly

Steelhead Mangling a Fly

One of the original sculpin patterns that Kevin Fenestra showed me so many years now getting Mangled up by a nice Manistee River Steelhead.

Big Manistee River meat eater. #mangledfly #sonargetdown #korkerslife #seewhatsoutthere #hedronflashabou

A photo posted by Mangledfly (@mangledfly) on

salmon fry

Fishing Salmon Fry

Each year, in February and March, salmon fry pop out of the gravel and quicky grow to be an inch in length.   They feed on anything, including the remnants of their ancestors.    As this process begins, they become a food source for everything else in our rivers, including all manner of fish, birds, etc.    Steelhead feed heavily on salmon fry, and there are things about these fry that make them vulnerable to a predator like a steelhead.

Often times, water is high in the spring.     When water levels become high, the fry are pushed to the edges of the river.   Any run that holds steelhead near the edge of the river in these conditions will be a great place to look for a steelhead on a fry pattern.

Notice from the picture above the prominence of the eye in the salmon fry.   Your fly must exhibit this trait if it is going to be effective.   This is especially true if you are fishing the fry pattern as a nymph.   The slow nymphing presentation will make the fish picky about whether the fly has this one prominent feature.

Fry patterns can also be morphed into good swung fly patterns.   Because they are prone to be towards the surface of the river,  a small swung fly that is the shape of the fry, but not necessarily the same color, works great throughout the spring.    A small black and copper leech, for example, the size and shape of a fry, is deadly during the spring.       Often times it pays to swing small and colorful flies in the spring.

This is a typical night of tying for me at this time of the year; fry patterns in one form or another are always on the menu.   You can tie the thorax of these patterns any color, but pink always seems to work the best.      Typically, some of the holographic colors of flash work well on sunny days, as they make the fly twinkle in the current.

As the salmon fry head downriver and grow to a larger size, the process is repeated as steelhead and sucker fry emerge later in the spring.   These are on the menu of steelhead, brown trout, and every other predator too.

Thanks for reading this post!   Get out on the river and enjoy spring-like fishing conditions!

Kevin Feenstra

Catch and Release – Pic of Day

Manistee River Steelhead