Manistee River Trout Report
Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report for the last week of August has the hatches fizzling out. Our summer programs are now transitioning into fall. The Hopper fishing is your best dry fly option at this point. The night fishing has been fairly productive this year during the dark phases of the moon. Hopper/Streamer trips for trout, and chasing smallmouth bass, are all on deck.
The water temperatures dropped significantly over the weekend and are starting the day in the low to mid 50’s. It looks like warmer weather is coming again this week, but we should be fine moving forward as I don’t expect water temps to be an issue at this point.
We have received some much needed rain since the last report. However, it still hasn’t done much for our flows. The river is still very low and clear at this time. I would take a heavy dose of precipitation to help freshen up the fishing and trigger the streamer bite.
Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing
The Hopper fishing has been decent, but the low clear water has provided some challenges. At this current flow and clarity you need to fish your flies way out front and tight to the structure. The fishing is primarily a volume game at this point, but you can find some larger fish closer to the cover. The Hopper fishing can be a fun way to fish during late summer and early fall as the fish tend to hit recklessly.
Most of our hatches are done, but we still have Cahills, Summer Olives, and Trico’s in the mix. The evenings have some shorter windows of activity with a decent flurry of rising fish around dusk. Look for the better rise and dry fly opportunity to transition later in the day. The cooler mornings are shifting the feeding activity later into the day. As we move through this next week we should start to see some fall Isonychia. This is the last big hatch we will see for the season.
I have been exclusiviely fishing under the cover of darkness for the past few weeks. The first moon phase was early this year and it provided quality over quantity of fish for our customers. Overall I would rate the night fishing as challenging this year in the low water. The conditions at times were perfect, but yet the fish didn’t always cooperate. It was a season of grinding, keeping your mind in the game, and taking advantage of your opportunities. Some exceptional fish fell prey to the McCoy’s Amphibious Assault this year. However, the McCoy’s Mouse was getting the job done over the past couple of weeks.
The moon is now getting into its brighter waxing phase, but I am looking forward to the last few dark nights of my season. Make sure to check out the new mouse and frog patterns available at Montana Fly Company. They have been a staple in my box for several seasons. Both patterns have provided personal best trout for our customers.
Upcoming Fall Streamer Season
As we transition into Fall Streamer Season, the hunt for larger fish will shift towards baitfish. As the trout enter the pre-spawn migration, they will hit the feed bag prior to the fall spawn. The better fishing can be during or after rain events. As water temps drop into the lower to mid 50’s the bite will fire up.
September and early October can be a good time to go. As the fish begin to spawn the streamer fishing will lose its effectiveness. At this time the fish need a break until they are done with their fall spawn. Sometime around the second week of November the fish will wrap up the spawn and the second round of streamer fishing will ensue. The post spawn bite can provide some good fishing especially on cloudy/wet weather days.
Didymo on the Upper Manistee continues to be a problem with a high level of concern. I would consider the whole Upper Manistee River System to be contaminated with this Diatom. There was new Didymo growth above CCC bridge and it has been documented as far upstream as Yellow Trees Landing. The Didymo mats in sections below CCC are still breaking down and to my knowledge there isn’t any blooming like we saw in the 2022 season. Didymo is considered a very resilient invasive species so you need to educate yourself on safe cleaning techniques. River Users will need to clean their gear or anything that touches the water. Didymo can easily be spread between watersheds and can be detrimental to our trout streams.
I would consider the ENTIRE RIVER TO BE CONTAMINATED and treat it as such. Clean, Drain, Dry your gear before entering another Body of Water. Currently, there are no effective methods to eradicate didymo once it is established in a river. To prevent spreading Didymo and other aquatic invasive species to new locations, it is critical for users to thoroughly Clean, Drain and Dry waders, equipment, and boats upon leaving a waterway.
- Clean by removing mud and debris from all surfaces.
- Use a 10% Solution of Dishwashing Soap with hot water for 10 minutes (Example 1 gallon of water is 12.8 oz of Dawn Soap). Then it must dry for 48 hours (mandatory if your fishing different water systems).
Trout Guide Trip
If you’re looking to book a Trout Guide Trip you can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email. We currently have limited availability, so if your looking to book a trout trip I would encourage you to do so soon. September brings with it a mixed bag of opportunities, we will soon be transitioning full time to the Lower Manistee for our Annual Fall Steellhead run. So make sure to follow along on our social pages and our online fishing report page.