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Upper Manistee Trout Fishing

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Manistee River Trout Report

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report has us entering the last month of the year and we are beginning the transition into our winter programs. With our primary focus on the Big Manistee Below Tippy Dam, and winter fishing the Pere Marquette River. We find ourselves spending less time on the Upper Manistee River trout fishing. But when the occasion pops up it’s always a treat. Access can be limited this time of year so play with caution. Not many ramps are cleared of ice and snow so be careful.

Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing

Winter trout fishing on the Upper Manistee River means streamer fishing. With Brown Trout have finished spawning so this can be a good time of year to target some bigger trout. Not too often do you see the small guys chase this time of year. Primarily you will see the adults out looking for those bigger meals. As was the case the other day, not many chasers but the fish we did get was a really nice post spawn hen that was eager to crush our streamer.

Look for fish to be sitting in slow woody spots. Using cover as a hiding spot to ambush prey, but also to conserve energy during the winter. These spots are not always the deep spots either, normally some of the best spots are only a couple feet deep.

Also fly size isn’t normally our biggest patterns, more the 3-5″ stuff. Color that matches the bottom color or water hue are normally best. Look for sculpins, leeches, and small baitfish to be your best bet.

New Trout Flies

McCoys Iyso Dun Grey
Natural Iyso

We have new Trout Flies that we will be selling this year. Ed McCoy has released new patterns and over the coming months we will be getting stock so make sure to check back or sign up for our Newsletter to get the updates when they arrive. The new McCoy Iyso Dun Grey is currently available and this is sure to be a winner this June during the Iyso hatch. Get yours while they are still in stock. This are sure to sell out.

Didymo

Didymo on the Upper Manistee continues to be a problem as new sections fall ill to its presence and previously affected areas are still producing viable cells. I would consider the whole Upper Manistee River System to be contaminated with this Diatom. Didymo is considered a very resilient invasive species so you need to educate yourself on safe cleaning techniques that you will need to clean your gear or anything that touches the water. It can be spread between watersheds very easily and can be detrimental to our trout streams.

The amount of Didymo that we are still seeing on our floats on the Upper Manistee below CCC Bridge is very disheartening, it is going to take some time yet so see what happens next in the lower river. The short term implications have not been very good for what a longterm bloom may do to the ecosystem and fishing. We have found Didymo now from Yellow Trees to the CCC Bridge as well. I would expect it will continue to extend its presence further upstream as we enter the fall season and leaf drop allows more sunlight penetration through the tree canopy.

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 your looking to book a Trout Guide Trip you can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email if your looking to book a Winter trout trip. Have you seen the new Brown Trout T-shirt yet? Still have a few sizes remaining. Also make sure to check a few of the new colors we have in the Low Profile Trucker Hat and also the Full Size Trucker.

Jon Ray

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New Fly Patterns for 2023 

As many of you already know, in 2019 I began selling my signature fly patterns through Montana Fly Company. This year I am excited to announce several new fly patterns that are available through Montana Fly Company in 2023! There will be two new dry flies, a Mouse, and Frog pattern to round out the new releases. The dry flies are an Isonychia Dun and Spinner variation. The Mayfly patterns have been some of my most productive searching and hatch matching patterns over the years.

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New Fly Release McCoy’s All Day Spinner

McCoy's All Day Spinner
McCoy’s All Day Spinner

McCoy’s All Day Spinner – Isonychia

I am excited to announce a new fly pattern to be released by Montana Fly Company in 2021! The McCoy’s All Day Isonychia Spinner is very durable, has a very realistic profile, can be fished all day, and is a must have pattern for our Northern Michigan streams. This fly will be available in two sizes, #10 and #12, and will complete the Isonychia lineup in a series of foam based dry flies that I released through MFC in 2019.

The All Day Isonychia Spinner is a great searching pattern and is one of my go to favorites to target rising trout during an Isonychia Spinner fall. Make sure to check with your local fly shops for availability and I expect we will have a limited quantity available here online at Mangled Fly. Read more

Ice Dub Minnow

Ice Dub Minnow

Tying Ice Dub Minnow

Our latest upload to our YouTube Channel is a super simple baitfish pattern that we call the Ice Dub Minnow. A favorite pattern to fish below Tippy Dam, but also works great below Hodenpyle Dam and in the backwaters for smallmouth bass on Tippy Pond. Of course these are only a few of our favorite spots, as it has worked really well for bluegills in the spring when they are shallow and pre-spawn.

If you honestly haven’t tried hunting big pre-spawn bluegills, and you want to test your skills this is a great activity during quarantine. No motor needed for this type of fishing. Get ready to be humbled by the big gills. Great casting practice before the big bugs start hatching on our trout rivers.

Kids Fishing

What also makes the Ice Dub Minnow so great is that you can easily teach it to kids and get them started in fly tying, but also it’s a great pattern to fish with kids, to get them a taste of fly fishing. As I mention in the video this minnow pattern really does fish well by itself, with a tiny split shot. I tend to like Sure Shot, but black bird shot will just work as well. Size No 4 or No 6, are both really small and easy to cast.

Let this fry pattern swing in the current with small twitches of the rod, and it will fish itself. Small minnows can’t swim very fast for very long, so they become easy meals for hungry trout. Fish this pattern in the shallows where small baitfish tend to hide. Good luck and Stay Safe.

Jon Ray

Dry Flies for Trout

Dry Flies for Trout

Dry Flies

As many of you already know, in 2019 I entered a new partnership with Montana Fly Company to produce and sell some of my favorite patterns. Last season I released several new Dry Flies for Trout. These new releases are patterns from my personal arsenal that I rely upon heavily for catching fish within our region. I am excited to have Montana Fly Company producing and selling my signature fly patterns as we move forward, the quality and attention to detail is second to none! Their is a limited quantity available for sale on our site, but please shop local at your nearest Fly Shop.

The flies that I currently have in production are available in two series. All of the flies are foam based Mayfly patterns that are designed to be fished all day with a touch of realism and an impressionistic silhouette that fish can’t resist. They are all mainstays in my arsenal and have been tied in multiple forms to imitate the Isonychia, Brown Drake, and Hex hatches that are found in Northern Michigan.

Here is a breakdown of all the flies that are currently available through MFC to complete your arsenal of Northern Michigan dry flies for trout . Ask your local fly shop about these patterns and pick some up today!

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McCoys Boondoggle Spinner

McCoys Boondoggle Spinner

New Fly Release

McCoys Boondoggle Spinner
McCoy’s Boondoggle Spinner – Burgundy Isonychia

Montana Fly Company New Fly Release for 2020 – McCoy’s Boondoggle Spinner – Burgundy Isonychia

I am very excited to announce a new fly pattern that will be released by Montana Fly Company in 2020! This fly will be available in two sizes and will help to fill the Isonychia spinner gap in a series of foam based dry flies that I released through MFC in 2019. The McCoys Boondoggle Spinner is very durable, has an irresistible profile, and is generally a must have pattern for the streams in Northern Michigan. Check with your local fly shops for availability, a limited quantity is available here online at Mangled Fly.

Shop Local

As with anything new it can sometimes be hard to predict demand so make sure to stock up before the supply becomes limited. If you are having difficulty finding the McCoy’s Boondoggle Spinner pattern or any of my other fly patterns locally, please drop us a line and we will do our best to help you get these dry flies in your fly box for the upcoming season.

More Flies

Look for several more fly releases with MFC in the near future as I have been expanding upon some old favorites and tinkering with some new stuff for release. Good luck with all of your angling pursuits throughout the upcoming 2020 fishing season!!

Ed McCoy

Brown Trout below Tippy

Brown Trout Eating Something

Brown Trout Eating Minnows

Been a fun fall of shooting Mother Nature dining out.  Started with the Heron and Pike images.  Now here is another image of the cycle of life.  Had the opportunity to fish below Tippy Dam for Brown Trout.  While working on a few patterns that that we will be adding to the Hawkins YouTube channel here this winter. I shot some video of the flies in action and then extracted this still image of the brown trout showing off his main meal, with my small dinner mint sized fly in his mouth.

Brown Trout below Tippy

What minnow did this Brown Trout eat?

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity

brown trout picture

Day Time Hex Eater

A new line was introduced in the past month the SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity  and have had the pleasure to test it out over the last month.  Line showed up during Hex Season, even though my go to line for Hex is the Glow Line , but I have a few days each year that allow daytime fishing of the Hex Hatch.  Turning over big dry flies into tight quarters is a must and the New Smooth Infinity was up to the task.

Location, Location, Location

During the last thee weeks the line continues to bring it’s A game to Northern Michigan. With the foam bite (hoppers, ants, and beetles) mixed in with twitching (small streamers on a floating line) these two methods are a huge part of my summer program for trout.  Having a line that can deliver dry flies to within inches of a log, but still has the energy to turn over a small weighted streamer with a tungsten cone head into a deep pool.  Is a must for me, nice to have confidence that the SA Smooth Infinity can do both without missing a beat.

Local Fly Shop

If you have ever spent much time with me in the boat, and we talk equipment you know how I feel about fly lines, it is the most important part of your equipment!  Make sure to stay on top of the latest technology and check them out at your local fly shop.  Also if you see me on the water and want to take a test cast just ask.

Amplitude Smooth Infinity from Scientific Anglers on Vimeo.

There’s a reason we call this line the Infinity: there is no end to what you’ll be able to do with it. The Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity taper is a half-size heavy freshwater line built for everything from panfish to pike. With a long rear taper and extended front taper, it’s delicate for dry flies, has enough power for streamers, and can mend line for nymph rigs with equal ability. Built with the AST Plus slickness additive, Infinity lines are 50% slicker than any other SA line, and will last, on average, eight times longer than any line from the competition.

Remember: REAL NERDS GET ALL THE FISH.

Hatch Guide

Big Eyes Means they are close

Recently learned that as mayfly nymphs grow, especially March Browns, Cahill’s, and Hex the eyes really get big right before the hatch.  A macro shot of a Hex nymph we found in the mud looking for what else is hatching.  Based on his eyes, we are not too far away.  Want to learn more about bugs in the Mid West make sure to pick up Ann Millers Book.