Michigan Spring Steelhead Fishing How To Techniques


Choosing the correct river for Michigan Spring Steelhead can pay big dividends. Croton Dam Steelhead

Late Febuary and March offer some of the best Fishing the Michigan has to offer, before the crowds arrive.

As for being a fishing guide in Western Michigan for nearly 25 years, there are always several reoccurring questions that I often get from clients that are interested in Michigan Spring Steelhead fishing. Probably the most resounding question I get the most often is, What is the best river to fish, and when?
That is a That is a very legitimate question for sure!

Typically, the rule of thumb is to fish from South (Michigan) to North. As a general rule, the rivers in the southern portion of the Michigan warm first, getting the first migrations of Spring Steelhead. Generally the St. Joseph and the Grand River kick off our Michigan Spring Steelhead. This is most often associated with water temperature. Most Steelhead migrations begin around 36 – 38 degrees. Active spawning begins near 42 degrees.

Based on water temperatures, the White River in Hesperia, Rogue River in Rockford, and the Pere Marquette River located in Baldwin, are going strong by late February and early March. I have often witnessed steelhead spawning in these rivers on valentines day if we’ve had a couple warm, sunny days. These rivers are smaller and warm more quickly than the larger rivers, offering early Spring Steelhead fishing.

Spring offers some of the best steelhead fishing in Michigan. Its short but sweet!

Warm sunny days are the best! Ashley with a gorgeous Spring Steelhead in Michigan Muskegon River.

The second set of rivers is a big more complicated, the Big Manistee River, and the Muskegon River located in Newaygo, are a bit more difficult to pin down. Because these rivers are tail water fisheries, the reservoir that holds the water generally has a thick layer of ice on the back water. The ice keeps these rivers much colder than others. Basically, ice cubes in your glass of water keep it cold until the ice melts. These rivers predominately get a big push of steelhead in later march, with peak being later April. The Big Manistee River and the Muskegon River usually have a fishable number of Steelhead until mid to late May, often until Memorial Day.

The third section of Michigan Spring Steelhead rivers are your most Northern rivers, Betsie river, Platt, Borgman River, Elk Rapids, and the St. Mary’s Rapids. These rivers always have later runs of steelhead. The water is clear and cold. The St. Mary’s Rapids has Steelhead well into June. Peak times are just after Memorial Day.

There are no hard, fast rules on choosing what river will be best for Michigan Spring Steelhead Fishing, however, these tips may certainly improve your odds. Paying attention to Spring run off, and water temperatures are your best bet but this list of rivers should also help.

Here are a couple links for Fishing Reports for Michigan Spring Steelhead fishing as well.

Muskegon River Steelhead Fishing Reports

Muskegon River Trout – Smallmouth Bass – Salmon


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Beat the Heat with Giant Muskegon River Smallmouth. Hot days means the action is heating up for Big river Smallmouth Bass. Light Spinning Tackle or Fly Fishing.

Mark with a gorgeous rainbow trout from the upper Muskegon River. Excellent Caddis hatches and nice trout. Rainbows doing well on small soft hackle flies.

Michigan King Salmon have started to show up in the few rivers so far. Salmon this year are HUGE compared to the last few years. Larger sized like 2013. Should be an excellent year for big Salmon on the Manistee and Pere Marquette Rivers.

John displays another beautiful Rainbow Trout taken on a Caddis dry fly. Trout Fishing is outstanding during June and July. ($250 – $350 – 2 people)

Dry fly fishing has been excellent in the evenings on the Muskegon River. We are experiencing three really good hatches right now. Gray Drakes spinner falls, Isonychia emergers and adult dries, and of coarse, our favorite, Cinnamon Caddis Super Hatches! The Muskegon River is known throughout the Mid West for our ledgenday caddis emergence that happen each evening. Lots and lots of resident trout rise to our caddis.

We are offering evening hatch trips every afternoon from 4:30pm – 10pm. Evening “Hatch Master” Specials are $250 for 2 anglers. Includes all Gear, Tackle, and Flies. We offer easy to learn casting techniques, innovative fly patterns, and teach basic aquatic insect hatch information to our guests on these trips. Hatch trips are a fun way to learn about fly fishing, brush up on techniques, and enjoy a great evening of catching quality trout on dry flies. Call or Text for available evenings. (231) 519-7348

Muskegon River Trout Fishing & Sucker Spawn


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Hatch fishing has been excellent on the Muskegon River. Great hatches of Gray Drake, Sulphers, and Isonychia Bicolor. Fantastic dry fly fishing. (6/2)

Nymphing by day – Prolific hatches by night. Trophy Brown Trout on the Muskegon River. Mega Trout! (6/1)

Trout fishing on the Muskegon River has been exceptionally good for the past two weeks. Incredible Gray Drake and Isonychia spinner falls. Dry fly fishing at its finest!! Don’t get put off by the whole fly fishing thing, we offer casting instructions, simple casting techniques, and easy fishing methods for catching lots of nice trout during the summer months. Casting small crank baits is also available and easy, available way to catch nice trout. The Muskegon River offers great trout fishing year around!

Send and email or Text >> (231) 519-7348

Linda & Chuck with one of many very respectable Trout from today. Summer will offer excellent trout fishing. (5/26)

Miles with a gorgeous trophy Brown Trout landed on the Muskegon River – Sucker fry pattern. (5/14)

John with a stunning Muskegon River Brown Trout taken on a small bead head nymph. (5/26)

Toby with an absolute BEAST of a Brown Trout. Our person best resident river trout. 27″ Trophy Brown Trout. (5/14)

Sucker Spawn Trout fishing has been phenominal – One of the best in years! Lots of really nice resident Trout. Dry fly fishing (Gray Drakes, Isonychia) has also been great. Hatches in both mornings and evening. Fishing should continue to be excellent through early July for Muskegon River Trout.

Spring is here and it’s finally Trout season on the Muskegon River. Trout season is our favorite time of the year! Warm weather, birds chirping, and outstanding fishing opportunities! Muskegon River Sucker spawn is with out a doubt, our most productive time of year for trophy trout. Large wary Brown Trout feed during the day when Red Horse, and White Suckers begin to spawn. Eggs are at a premium this time of year, and Trout go crazy for this food source! 30 – 50 Trout per day are common during the Michigan Sucker Spawn, usually several trophy trout (20 inches or above) are also landed each day.

We use free style nymphing techniques when fishing the Sucker spawn. 9′ – 5 weight fly rods are our weapons of choice, spooled with running line. This technique is incredibly simple to learn. It’s a great technique for introducing children or novice anglers to fly fishing. Usually anglers can cast free style nymphing within 15 or 20 minutes, making 30 foot casts is easy and incredibly productive landing MANY nice trout!

We offer both full and half days, morning or evening. We love to fish Sucker spawn so we can guide you anytime, our schedules are flexible. Full Day trips (8 hrs) are $350 for two anglers. Half days (4.5 hrs) are also available for $250 for 2 anglers. ALL gear, tackle, and flies are also included in all fishing trips.

Please send us a text (231) 519-7348 or reserve a date online – Rates Tab listed above.

Salmon Season in full swing – Steelhead coming soon!


Fishing behind spawning salmon has been fantastic for trout.

Salmon Update II – The Muskegon River, Pere Marquette, and Big Manistee now each have good numbers of salmon. Everything seems to be several weeks behind schedule with above normal Fall temperatures. Salmon is center stage and prime time right now and should go into early November with bright fish showing up periodically.

Fall Steelhead, and Lake Run Brown Trout have also been showing on occasion. “By catch” , often showing up on guide trips. The Manistee especially, has been showing signs of a decent migratory brown trout fishery. The new Sturgeon River strain of browns should certainly be exciting!

Fall Steelhead of coarse, have been showing up behind spawning kings anywhere deep gravel is to be had. No numbers yet but, some are being caught each day now. Middle to lower sections of both the Manistee and Muskegon Rivers. Resident trout fishing has also been excellent over the last 10 days.
( Big Shout out to the DNR – Planted our first fall planting of 10,000 runt brown trout. Every bit helps! )

Salmon Update: Big rains last night on the Big Manistee & surrounding rivers! Cold nights and rising water levels are bringing in the salmon big time. Salmon have been waiting in the big lake for cooler temperatures.

Today: We had much better fishing for salmon today. Fly fishing for Kings has now taken center stage with lots of big fish finally showing up! Cold nights and rain making for the big push of Kings in the Pere Marquette River, (Custer – Scottville) and Big Manistee River (Wellston) now has lots of salmon on the move with spawning on the gravel now in full swing. We also landed a gorgeous Fall Steelhead today on an egg pattern. Trout fishing is also excellent for Brown Trout. If you want a memorable guided fishing trip, now is the time to fish! (231) 519-7348

Salmon Update II – The Muskegon River, Pere Marquette, and Big Manistee now each have good numbers of salmon. Everything seems to be several weeks behind schedule with above normal Fall temperatures. Salmon is center stage and prime time right now and should go into early November with bright fish showing up periodically.

Fall Steelhead, and Lake Run Brown Trout have also been showing on occasion. “By catch” if you will but, often showing up on guide trips. The Manistee especially has been showing signs of a decent migratory brown trout fishery. The new Sturgeon River strain of browns should certainly be exciting!

Fall Steelhead of coarse have been showing up behind spawning kings anywhere deep gravel is to be had. No numbers yet but, some are being caught each day now. Middle to lower sections of both the Manistee and Muskegon Rivers. Resident trout fishing has also been excellent over the last 10 days.

( Big Shout out to the DNR – Planted our first fall planting of 10,000 runt brown trout. Every bit helps! )

Salmon Update: Big rains last night on the Big Manistee & surrounding rivers! Cold nights and rising water levels are bringing in the salmon big time. Salmon have been waiting in the big lake for cooler temperatures.

Today: We had much better fishing for salmon today. Fly fishing for Kings has now taken center stage with lots of big fish finally showing up! Cold nights and rain making for the big push of Kings in the Pere Marquette River, (Custer – Scottville) and Big Manistee River (Wellston) now has lots of salmon on the move with spawning on the gravel now in full swing. We also landed a gorgeous Fall Steelhead today on an egg pattern. Trout fishing is also excellent for Brown Trout. If you want a memorable guided fishing trip, now is the time to fish! (231) 519-7348

Things are running way behind so far this fall. October should offer the best salmon fishing. Salmon season is however, in full swing, new fish entering the river daily! October is going to be incredible!

Salmon season is now in full swing with catchable numbers of Chinook Salmon available in the Pere Marquette & Big Manistee River. Cold nights and some rainfall has greatly improved the migrations over the past week with new fish entering the river daily.

We are now catching fish consistently everyday. A mixed batch of bright Kings and some starting to show the carmel phase of coming into the river. Some larger pods have been showing up as well.

Best techniques have been throwing crankbaits, (Thundersticks) early in the morning. Drifting skein under a float has been very productive, especially on sunny days. Early salmon bite very well with the right offerings.

Our available dates are limited, October dates are available and should be excellent with things being so late. Afternoon guided trips are available almost every day, and are also fishing well.

(3:30pm – 7:30pm) $250 for two anglers.

Afternoon’s are fishing well.

Due to everything being late this fall, October should offer exceptional late season salmon. Last Fall, October dates hooked the most fish per day by far. Chinook salmon run well into late October – November, for great fishing!