Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Steelhead Report

Manistee River Below Tippy Dam

Manistee River Steelhead Report
Manistee River Steelhead Report

Fishing Report

The Manistee River Steelhead Report for the final week of October, has us on the full throttle of Fall Steelhead. Water is at a good level even with all the rain from late last week. The Big Manistee is running at 2770 cfs with water temps in the high 40’s. We continue down a temp slide not making the fishing easy, but with fresh fish entering the river system one can’t complain.

Fall Steelhead

The Fall Steelhead of 2020 has gotten off to a good start, with some really big fish around that have been testing our anglers skill sets. With water temps on the slide the past 10 days if you look at the graph, you will see these are now the temps where fish really stop moving and start hunkering down for the season. Allowing the streamer bite to pick up. With less focus on the egg bite, now you can pick up fish with other tactics.

We have had some good swing trips too start off the streamer bite season, with Ed McCoy guiding Terry to an impressive Lake Trout (picture on the Instagram stories this week). Early morning very flashy patterns with copper tones have been best, but later in the day more natural sculpin patterns are working better. Look for fish to be resting outside the main current, so work those soft seams.

Water levels jumped up the last few days, so besides eggs make sure to pack your big stones, caddis, and mop patterns. With this water volume you can get away with some bigger items to get steelhead attention. Chartreuse caddis or mop patterns can be a perfect way to get into a few extra fish that have seen all the egg patterns already this year.

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 . Fall is one of our busiest times, we are booked until the middle part of November currently. November is a great time of year for swinging a fly on the Manistee River, or running a float in the deep holes. We will offer full and half day winter trips starting in December, just let us know what works best for you.

New Hats & Sweatshirt

Jon Ray

Pere Marquette Fishing Report

Pere Marquette Trout Fishing

Pere Marquette Fishing Report
Pere Marquette Fall Brown Trout Fishing

Fishing Report

Pere Marquette River Fishing Report for the first week in October is the river is in great shape for salmon, trout, and the first arrivals of steelhead fishing. The Salmon migration is in full swing. We spent the better part of the day watching kings swim up river to their spawning grounds. Pods of 2 to 10 fish at a time passing us bye. Although we had brown trout on our mind it was a very pretty sight. Also the salmon are a great food source  for everything that swims in the river. Not to mention the birds and critters on the banks. With the trees in full bloom it is a great time to be floating the river.

Trout Fishing

Trout fishing was pretty good. We moved trout in the log jams and deeper runs on lures for the better part of the day but our best trout bite was around the spawning kings. It seemed to me that the browns are starting to put the fall feed bags on and are lining up behind the spawning kings. The best luck we had around the gravel was to use beads and yarn flys under indicators. A solid dead drift made a big difference in the number of bites we had. As the salmon continue to spawn the trout fishing in and around those areas should get better. We also had a couple of good butt whoopin steelhead on our lines and they did just that. Whooped use big time. The steelhead fishing should ramp up as the fall moves on.

Fall Steelhead

Steelhead are egg junkies. This time of the year we usually find them in the dark water around the kings spawning gravel. The bead game is strong right now. Salmon eggs are the best food source available in the fall and they are like crack to steelhead. As the fall progresses and the King Salmon spawn slows the steelhead will move back into the deeper runs. This is my favorite time to be on the Pere Marquette from mid November and December for me is the time to be fishing for fall steelhead.

With very low angling pressure that time of the year in my opinion its the best! This time of the year fish are there and the river gives you the feeling that you are the only one out there. Floating the river in the later fall can bring great reward. We have a few openings for the later fall season. My favorite season. If you would like to float the Pere Marquette this fall please let us know. It is a very special time to be on the river.

Booking Trout Trips

Drop us an email if your thinking about booking a steelhead fishing trip on the Pere Marquette or Lower Manistee River. You can also give us a call at (231-631-5701) and we will get you on the water! We still have a few openings in November and December can be just as good if your looking to get out on the water. Make sure to check back as our fall hats should be arriving soon. Also not too early to think about Gift Certificates for your favorite anglers for holiday gifts.

Jeff Topp

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