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

Spring Steelhead on the horizon!


Tony with his first Michigan Steelhead. It was cold and we had a blast! Landed a ton of fish and had a great day on the water! (2/25)


This is why we fish in 14 degree sub artic temperatures! “We came to fish!”

Big, Fat, Giant, Butter Ball Brown Trout on the Muskegon River… All Winter long!

Spencer with a beast! His first Muskegon River Steelhead that he landed – What a beast! (2/20)

Look at this gorgeous bright hen. Stealthy approach and light tippets paid off big time! (2/20)

Becky with one of my pet brown trout from the Henning Park area. Introduction to float fishing 101. We had a blast catching fish and learning a new technique. Fishing remains very good right now and can only improve with warmer weather ahead! (2/17)

Dave with a nice hen. Finding pockets of fish has been the key. floats and spawn. (2/17)

Two beautiful ladies! Just look at that chrome with a big smile! You just gotta love winter steelhead and big fish! (2/17)

Brett with a gorgeous winter steelhead from today. We had an exceptional day on the water with two great guys, Brett and Reese! Bobbers down all day!

Andrew (Possibly the luckiest angler I’ve ever met! Catches giant steelhead every time we fish together!) with a gorgeous winter – spring steelhead! (2/3)

Having fun makes fishing an adventure! Kerry with a nice cookie cutter hen steelhead. Lots of fish and activity to keep you warm. Resident trout and steelhead. (2/2)

Brett breaking the ice with this gorgeous hen. Float fishing on the Muskegon River has been outstanding!

Botta Boom – Botta Bing! Double header on the boondoggle. These guys made quick work of some chromers! (2/14)

Kyle with an absolutely stunning hen from today. Steelhead fishing has been steadily improving! Spring should be incredible with fish like this!! Bottom bouncing Pautke Borax-O-Fire spawn. (2/7)

Fishing Conditions on the Mighty Muskegon River!

(2/26) No doubt the weather lately has been throwing us for a loop here on the Mighty Mo! With that said, fishing has been really good! Warmer weather and rain has got the fish stirred up. The deck has been shuffled. I believe we will start to see winter fish beginning to move upstream.

On many days, covering water and knowing winter locations have been key. Some days waiting them out, or having the sun drop behind the trees. I’ve seen that make a huge difference on certain days!

Sometimes something different has been the key. Some guys like running plugs, Personally, I dig running jigs and wax worms. Change it up and get bit!

With longer days and warmer temperatures, we should start to migrations of spring steelhead.

Another giant step forward is the emergence of late winter stone flies. On several occasions, I have seen small black stone flies on the river’s edge and in the snow covered shoreline. These are a definite sign that spring is on the way along with bright chrome steelhead!

(2/25) The last three days of steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River has been an adventure to say the least! Launches suck with drifts and ice but with a little effort, pays big dividends! The Mighty Mo is a special tail water fishery! The Muskegon River never freezes – We can fish all winter long!

Sometimes fish crush the spawn on the first drift through the run, other times it takes twenty drifts but there is a lot of steelhead in the river system.

Andrew and Jeff experienced some phenomenal steelhead fishing today landing many steelhead and some very respectable trout. These guys put in a full day and fished hard. End result was a great day on the water and double digits brought to the net. Many quality Steelhead landed today.

Our focus today was fishing the slowest moving water we could find. Slow, straight current seemed to be the key. Slowing drifts and keeping the offering close to the bottom. Longer to see it, longer to eat it!

Spring is on the way! In less than a month, We’re going to have chromers entering the river big time! Longer day light naturally brings steelhead into the river no matter what the water temperatures. These fish have the need to spawn and dig gravel.

We’re looking at one of the best fishing springs in over a decade! A much larger year class of Steelhead with fish an average of three pounds or more. The first chance since the 90’s to land an honest 20 pound trophy steelhead. It’s game on for big spring steelhead on the Muskegon River.
“Home of the Chrome!”

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!

Michigan Fall Steelhead Reports – Muskegon River


Mike with a big buck. Fishing has been consistently good. (12/11)


April with a beast!


Matt’s beautiful brown trout. (12/7)

Brian’s big steelhead. (12/6)

Here are three photos on how to use the USGS Stream flow data. 1) is stream flow – 2150 cfs. Decent wading. moderate flow. Perfect for Steelhead – Trout fishing.

Ed with one of several chrome bullets! Chromers! (12/12)

EApril’s nice buck! (12/7)

Justin’s super colorful buck. (12/8)


Eric with a Beauty!


Temperature. Available in fahrenheight and Celsius. today 36.5 – Perfect for Steelhead.

Tom with a bright hen. New fish entering the river, just a little later this year. (12/12)

Justin with a huge Brown Trout. (12/8)

John with a bullet chrome! (12/7)

James first Steelhead. (12/7)


Turbidity – There are no marks or numbers because the water is super gin clear (no suspended particles)


“Half past chrome” on the Mighty Muskegon River. Peter displays a nice chrome buck. New fish entering the river! It looks like we’re going to have a great winter! (12/5)

Peter with a bullet hen. More bright fish to come! (12/5)

Water levels have dropped over the last couple of days making for spectacular steelhead fishing! Fishing should be great through December. (12/1)

Higher water levels last week has made for some great fishing this week. Water levels and conditions are perfect for late fall & winter steelhead on the Muskegon River.

Fly fishing small egg patterns, beads, and natural nymph patterns have been producing very nice trout and steelhead. Brown trout are also spawning right now, in the upper sections of the river.

Steelhead fishing has been good on the Muskegon River. High water levels last week has made for some good fishing now that water levels are now perfect. Both fly fishing and floats and spawn are both fishing well. (12/5)

For all who ask, When is the best time for trophy Brown Trout? Right now during the December Brown Trout spawning period. Jeremy with a trophy Brown, one a four he landed today. (12/1)

Steelhead fishing has been very good over the past few days. There are a decent amount of steelhead throughout the entire river sections. The lower sections are producing much brighter, chrome steelhead, that are just coming in from the lake. The uppers sections have had an excellent numbers of resident trout a mix of chrome and darker steelhead. Conditions are perfect for great fishing.

Water levels and temperature are both perfect for fall steelhead. Water temp is 48 degrees, making for some outrageous strikes, and good jumping fish! New fish entering the river daily. We’re off to a great start for Michigan Fall Steelhead. Get out on the water and make some memories! (231) 519-7348

Molly had an awesome day on the water. She landed three gorgeous steelhead, and a plethora of Muskegon River trout. Fishing has been good. (11/17)


Ed Sr. landed a beautiful chrome bullet. Fishing in the lower river has been great for Fall Steelhead. Float fishing for chromers. (11/16)


John and crew display a gorgeous buck from the upper Muskegon River. Steelhead fishing has been improving! It’s about to get great! (11/8)


Gary and Ty with a nice buck. Yes, Ty finally let Gary catch a fish… And it was a nice one! (11/7)

Cody and Gayland with a trophy Fall Steelhead from the Muskegon River. Float fishing has been great! (11/3)

Cody with a super chrome buck Steelhead. Fishing has been awesome! (11/3)

Brian with one of many steelhead from today. Starting to seeing more and more fresh fish! More on the way. (11/3)

Center pin float fishing has been great!! Low and clear makes for exceptional steelhead fishing on the Mighty Muskegon River.

Molly with a very respectable buck steelhead. Float fishing is easy to learn, and offers constant action, bites, and plenty of fish. (11/17)


John actually had a chance to land several nice steelhead today. A perfect day with quality Daddy – Daughter time well spent. (11/17)


Ty – He’s the man! This kid knows how to catch steelhead! He puts the “Smack down!” on big fish!! (11/8)


Ty with another chrome bullet. It’s pretty common for Ty to out fish everyone in my boat! # Rail Fest! (11/8)

Cody with a bright chromer Steelhead. Having a great time fishing with these guys! (11/3)

Nathan with a giant Lake Trout from the Muskegon River. We should start seeing a few more of these.

Jerry with another bullet chromer Steelhead. New fish showing up every day now! (11/3)

Trout fishing has also been excellent! The upper Muskegon offers great trout fishing along with steelhead. (11/2)

Come join us for some outstanding float fishing.

We offer Fly Fishing, Center pin float fishing, Spinning and conventional tackle for steelhead and trout on the Muskegon and Big Manistee Rivers.

Fishing should remain strong well into December.

Chad Betts (231) 519-734

Over the past several days steelhead fishing has been greatly improved with new fish moving into the river system each day. Unlike the salmon migration earlier this season, Steelhead seem to be right on task, with a decent number throughout the system.

Water levels are normal for this time of year. Jet boat fishing and wading are both options at this time. Some rain would help fishing a bit to shuffle the deck a bit. Steelhead seem to be moving through the system with the current river levels.

The Upper section, Croton Dam to Thornapple also has some excellent trout fishing and salmon fishing. I know it’s late but there are still fishable numbers of Kings in all of the shallow gravel areas.

Trout fishing has also beein outstanding in the upper sections. As salmon become older and more ragged trout put on the feed bag eating eggs and nymphs behind later spawning salmon.

Fishing should remain excellent for the next several weeks, through mid to late December.


Will with a gorgeous Fall Steelhead. Steelhead has been improving daily. Steelhead all the way through the system. Should be an incredible fall for sure! (10/27)

Decent numbers of Steelhead through out the river system. Middle to lower sections have been fishing the best. Floats and spawn have been getting it done lately. Free style fly fishing has also been great, side drifting beads on an indicator has been working well. Covering a lot of water has been the key.

Water levels have been low and ultra clear, making for phenomenal trout fishing in the upper sections. Salmon fishing also remains quite strong with plentiful pods on Chinook in the upper river. Clean fish can still be had. Sight fishing has been really good. Wading is also another good option as the Muskegon has been running consistently around 1500 – 1600 cfs. We should begin to see a lot more steelhead during the upcoming week.

We are now offering a “North & South” feature on guided trips. You can spend a day with our guides on the Big Manistee River, fishing Steelhead, and the next day, fishing the Might Mo. We now have guides on both rivers and are booking trips for either river. Muskegon or Manistee. (231) 519-7348

Travis with a great Brown Trout. Check out that color! Trout fishing has also been incredible right now! (10/27)

Fall Steelhead with Fall colors. What a great combination. This time of year is a wonderful mix of Fall Chinook Salmon, resident Muskegon River Trout, and a handful of chrome Fall Steelhead. This is the time of year that anglers live for! (10/20)

Fishing in general has been absolutely fantastic! There are tons of Chinook Salmon in the Muskegon and Big Manistee River now. Everything in nature has been several weeks late this Fall. The salmon have been no exception. Salmon fishing should continue strong through the end of October.

Steelhead fishing has been off to a slow start but starting to get rolling. We started landing “Skippers” over the last week. (Smaller Steelhead – ” Skippers” are 15″ – 24″ and are usually the precursor to the main run) During true Steelhead guide trips, we have been landing 1 – 4 adult, larger Steelhead. Look for a decent push in the lower sections later in the week, with new fish entering the river daily. Hopefully we start seeing some big fish this week. Steelhead are phenominal fighters and very aggressive this time of year!! Fists of fury on any tackle, especially on center pin gear, or fly tackle. Know as, “The crown jewel of sport fish.”

Our focus this week has been on salmon fishing and resident trout. We’re just getting started on Steelhead as the numbers are increasing. Water levels are up and gin clear making for easy, great salmon fishing! Sight fishing for salmon has been relatively easy.

We’ve been sticking to the tried and true dental floss fly fishing for salmon, using a small nuke egg and brown or black pheasant tail nymph. This has been working great for double digit hook ups and lots of big fish brought to the net The next several weeks should offer exceptional fishing. (231) 519-7348

Nick with a very nice and healthy King Salmon from the Muskegon River. Everything has been late to arrive this Fall season. The Muskegon River and the Big Manistee River are both loaded with fresh salmon. (10/22)


Better later than never. The Muskegon River is loaded right now with fresh Chinook Salmon. It’s not too late to squeeze in a guided trip for salmon. There are lots around to play with. (10/22)

Dave with a gorgeous Muskegon River Steelhead. Fall colors, excellent fishing, and great weather. Come make some memories with your family on a guided fishing adventure. (231) 519-7348

We’re finally back home on the Mighty Muskegon River. After possibly the worst salmon fishing that I have ever experience on the Manistee River, We’re all happy to be home.

Water levels and conditions are darn near perfect! It didn’t take us long today to find some chrome. Dave displays a nice buck from this morning.

I was pleasantly surprised that the Muskegon River has MUCH more salmon this year than the Pere Marquette or Big Manistee. Our trout were also in excellent condition.

Salmon have been spawning in all the usual locations. Chinook have been spending the most time in the gravel shoals. Many others can be found in deep pools and holding areas. Thunder sticking is a viable option again for another week or so. I’m just getting back home and settled in. More photos and detailed fishing reports will follow in the next two days.

We have the following open dates available for both salmon and Steelhead on the Muskegon River. Manistee River dates are also available.

We have the following open dates available for both salmon and Steelhead on the Muskegon River. Manistee River dates are also available.

October 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. 31.

November 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 23.24, 26, 27, 28.

Text or email to reserve your Fall Steelhead date today! (231) 519-7348

MUSKEGON RIVER TROUT – HATCH SEASON!!


Trout fishing remains excellent on the Mighty Muskegon River. Big spinner falls of Gray Drake, Isonychia Bicolor, and the ever present Cinnamon Caddis emergence, every evening from 7pm until dark. Hatches draw out big brown trout like this guy pictured above. Michigan offers wonderful evening hatch trout fishing on the Muskegon River. “Work during the day, fish in the evening!” (231) 519-7348

Evening “Hatch Masters” Trout specials going on now! $250 for an afternoon – evening of great Gray Drake, and Caddis hatches, entomology lessons, casting, and all around great trout fishing.

Work all day, then hit the river for an evening hatch! June evening hatch trout trips on the Muskegon & Manistee Rivers. Morning Half days also available. Text – (231) 519-7348

Trout fishing has been outstanding over the last several days!! Great sucker spawn nymphing followed by some very good dry fly hatches in the evening. Heavy Gray Drake Spinner falls with BIG trout rising!

Excellent trout fishing right now on the Mighty Muskegon River. Jessica displays a very respectable brown trout from today. Stripping small streamers against that bank has paid big dividends. (6/16)

Fat and healthy Michigan Trout. Bruce with one of several very nice trout. Isonychia nymphs on a sink tip fly line, working well. It’s great to see good trout now. (6/16)

Time to think about booking your Fall King Salmon fishing trip on the lower Pere Marquette. Casting crankbaits for big chrome kings on light spinning tackle! These monsters crush Thundersticks with fists of fury – Awesome power and great table fare. Kings are a riot on the lower rivers of the Manistee and Pere Marquette. $395 per 2 anglers.


Was the perfect storm last night! High humidity, no wind, and tons of Gray Drakes on the water. Don with a pig brown from yesterday evening after the rains. Massive clouds of drake spinners on the water! (6/12)

With the sucker spawn over, it’s hatch time now!! Check out this beastly brown that Dave caught on a Gray Drake spinner. Big hatches and dry fly fishing this month! (Caddis, Gray Drake, Isonychia Bicolor ) (6/10)


Ok. I finally give. Mercy! This is the last Steelhead of the 2014 season. 6/10 is a new personal record. What an awesome spring steelhead season!! Special thanks goes out to all the clients that spent the day on my boat! Hopefully ya’ll had a great time on the water and caught lots of chrome! We look forward to October 20th when fall bullets enter the river!! (6/10)

Spot and stalk – Trout Nymphing to trophy brown trout. Steve landed this stunning brown this morning while drifting nymphs for trout. Trout Fishing on the Manistee, Muskegon, and Pere Marquette has been phenomenal lately. Lots of healthy fat Michigan trout. (6/6)

Andy with a beast of a brown trout taken on a tiny nymph while fly fishing behind spawning gravel. Trout fishing has been great over the past several days. Water levels are perfect for fishing. (6/6)

Madelyn with a gorgeous fat brown from today. Its safe to say that our trout are not starving!! Fat Michigan Brown Trout for sure! Nymphing and small fry patterns fishing well. (6/3)

Stomach contents of an 18″ Muskegon River Brown Trout that I landed this evening. Four yellow eggs are Red Horse Sucker spawn. The alvin are actually freshly hatched Steelhead fry that are just now emerging from the gravel. Large Trout prey heavily on these things in early June. Notice the lack of insects in the stomach contents? These are “High octane” food sources, and are easy to catch. (5/31)

Mike and Bryant joined me for an evening “Hatch Master’s Evening trout session.” These guys we pleasantly surprised landing a pile of big steelhead, several large brown trout, and a bunch of smaller trout. Overall, it was a fantastic evening on the water with lots of fly fishing action. (6/5)

I know, every day, I say, I’m finished will steelhead but, one can not merely just pass up a redd with over a dozen fish on it. Logically, we just had to fish ’em! Mike and Bryant hooked and landed a bunch of steelhead on sucker spawn egg flies, and steelhead fry patterns. Fishing was very good with no other boats on the water. (5/28)

Early June is the time of year for BIG Trout! Michigan offers some exceptional, and mostly over looked, great trout fishing. Whether it’s nymphing behind suckers, stripping streamers, or dry fly fishing the drakes, Michigan has lots of big trout. (5/27)

As we say good bye to possibly one of the most epic steelhead migrations that I have ever experience, sheer numbers of steelhead that we had, with incredible size! Trust me MR. Chrome Dome, You will be missed! 2014 will go down in the history books as one of the most phenomenal steelhead years ever, we should be so lucky as to ever have such a great year class of steelhead…

From here on out, it’s all about trout, sucker spawn that is, yellow gold! Nothing draws my attention more than big old brown trout sitting behind a big ball of Red Horse doing the nasty! That’s right! Resident rainbows and brown alike love sitting down wind of spawning suckers. A somgasporg of eggs, fry, nymphs and whatever else suckers dig out of the gravel. Nymphing behind suckers has become my obsession for big trout! It’s just about the only time of the year, I dig out my good camera and go fun fishing!!

For the next two weeks I’ll be on the Muskegon and the Big Manistee River hunting big brown trout with a nymphing rod in hand. I’ll do my best to keep you posted as to how things are going. Without a doubt, early June is my favorite time to trout fish before the more noticeable hatches begin.

It’s almost June and Matt and Tom are enjoying a Steelhead double of two chromers! How do we tell clients that fishing is awesome right now with little or no angling pressure! Double digit hook ups on great fish during nice weather. This rarely happens in steelhead fishing in Michigan. (5/23)


Matt fights a leaping chromer! These fish are bad ass fighters this time of year!! Lots of fish with great jumps and drag ripping runs! I love May Steelhead!


Did someone say Brown Trout? May also offers a chance at some trophy Muskegon River Brown Trout. Our Muskegon River trout are Ginormous! These egg feeders have a much higher average size for hold over browns and rainbows! These fish put on the feed bag year around! Chubby Trout! (5/23)


We had a wonderful day fishing steelhead with Holly and her father, Paul. They’re from Kentucky and were in search of large Brown trout. Well, they were about 10 days too early for big trout but wow did we get in to some great steelhead fishing!! (5/21)

Fishing this week has been nothing less than excellent!! I guided both a full day and a half day today and we hooked up over 25 steelhead in the course of 13 hours of fishing, two trips. We did both techniques, both float fishing on spinning gear, and fly fishing. Both styles were very effective!

It’s a far cry from fishing in February or March to hook a handful of fish while freezing your butt off! It feels great to have some outstanding steelhead fishing with air temperatures in the low 70’s! Steelhead are healthy and are in great condition for this time of year and have been fantastic fighters! Spawning fish on gravel, drop back steelhead, and many smaller chrome May hens. Most people think its about over but this year, it’s actually some of the best fishing we’ve had all year due to the long winter and very cold river water temperatures! Come take advantage of special guide trip rates from now until June first!

Send us a text for open dates and fishing trip specials… (231) 519-7348

We had a fantastic afternoon of steelhead fishing! Armond has been a professional fly tyer for nearly 50 years and the results paid off big time! We had some really good fly fishing today. I can’t believe these are May Steelhead! (5/21)

It didn’t take Holly long to get into a bunch of really nice steelhead. Check out this buck she landed just as it started to rain. Lots and lots of May steelhead! (5/21)

Banner day on the Muskegon River! Holly and Paul were beatin’ checks on big chrome steelhead! Whoo Hoo! May steelhead are a blast on the fly rod! (5/21)

Joni and Tim put on a clinic this afternoon. We were the last boat on the water this evening and we hooked fish like crazy!! When is the last time you saw a bruiser chrome buck in mid May? Yeah! Fishing is that good right now! Water temps are cold with lots of steelhead and perfect river levels. (5/20)


Jim and Sure with a double from today. Both two very nice fish. Every day we’ve found pockets out really nice fish. Keeping my clients on fish ALL day long! Both morning trips and afternoon trips fishing well. (5/15)

Joni, Joni, Joni! What more to say… This girl can fish! Yes Ma’am! Another chrome please! Thank you! Fly fishing is really fun when your hitting banner days on the Muskegon with lots of fish! (5/15)

Grant showing off his fly fishing skills. We had a very enjoyable day on the water, learning new tricks, great conversation, a low impact day relaxing, and bringing a lot of fish to the net! (5/14)


Tom Jr and his Grandfather had a wonderful afternoon on the river today. No other anglers and plenty of fish to go around. Steelhead fishing has been great, today was no exception. Check this fat and healthy buck! (513)


Q with his very first steelhead. what a great Grandpa and Grandson trip. We had lots of fun and excitement with lots of fish landed with comfortable weather, quite a change from most of this spring. (5/12)

Keith and his grandson, Q, were a little hesitant about spending the money for a half day trip. They were pleasantly surprised and were rewarded with constant fish on and with lots of actions and great memories. I was happy to introduce another young angler into steelhead fishing! What a great afternoon on the water. (5/11)

Jim with one of many steelhead from today. For all the days in February when we work so hard to get fish in the net, It feels great to catch double digits in a t-shirt and very comfortable weather. Give us a call for steelhead dates – We are running special pricing from now until June 1st.

With water temperatures still very cold, bright chrome hens continue to be very common. No doubt we will be catching steelhead well into June this year. Kyle with a nice bright hen. (5/12)

Fishing has been outstanding over the last few days! Things have been way behind schedule due to the cold winter that we had. We’re finally experiencing some great steelhead fishing, lots of action and lots of fish! Myself with the largest steelhead that I have ever landed! 22 lbs on the boga. Beast of a buck. (5/9)

It was the day of days for big fish! We had some awesome action all day today. Heavy rain and wind made it an adventure. We enjoyed the weather and had a great day of fishing together. Jess was my third client from 1996. (5/9)

Its been many years since I have fished with Jess. Great friends and some great stories from over 16 years of steelhead fishing together. We had an epic day of fly fishing for steelhead! (5/9)

Phil displays one of many bright and energetic steelhead landed in the last few days. Water temperatures are in the high 40’s making for some phenomenal steelhead fishing on gravel! Sight fishing is now the name of the game with average hook-ups being in the 20’s or more! The bite is definitely on for spawning steelhead and “Drop back Steelhead” Cooler temperatures should keep us fishing well into early June! (5/8)

Phil and Bob landed a pile of fish during the last several days. Small salmon fry patterns and stone flies continue to do well. Caddis flies have also done exceptionally well. Were looking forward to more outstanding fly fishing in the weeks to come! (5/7)

Dane from Finley, Ohio with his first Steelhead. (Guided by Alyssa.) Ron and Dane had an awesome afternoon of catching steelhead. Best flies of the day were fry patterns and small nuke eggs. Sight fishing has been a blast!! (5/6)

We were very pleasantly surprised today at how good steelhead fishing turned out today! We spent the day fly fishing and just landed a ton of steelhead including this beautiful hen. Egg patterns, caddis, and fry patterns are working well. It’s a very late steelhead migration this year, we should easily have steelhead in this river until early June. (5/5)

Joe displays a gorgeous hen from today. We spent the day float fishing on or near gravel and we landed a pile of bright Steelhead. Bobber and spawn put well over a dozen steelhead in the net. Double digit Steelhead. Fish of all stages, pre spawn hens, bright males, and drop back hens. An old school technique that pays off big time on a busy weekend when all the “Prime Gravel” spots are taken, (5/4)

Drop – Back Steelhead holding in the pocket water behind spawning fishing. These fish hammer a well presented bead drifted behind the redds. Grad a bite to eat before heading back to the lake. Bridgett put on a clinic fishing a pocket between three boats and popped a bunch of fish weaving in and out of boats in the “Gaza Strip” (5/4)

Alyssa with a chrome mint silver bullet hen landed one of “Alyssa Beads” these things rock! She air brushes beads to make exact egg replicas. They’re beautiful and Steelhead obviously can’t tell the difference between her beads and the real thing!! They eat ’em like its the real deal!

Joe with a hefty fish from the morning bite. Fly Fishing has also been producing lots of fish. It’s all about the perfect glide on the gravel. Gettin’ it done on stone flies and hex nymphs! Nice buck Joe!


Dustin with a healthy buck! This thing was all over, jumping and running all over the place! We overheard another boat refer to their steelhead being “Foul mouthed” We laughed at the thought of foul mouthed steelhead jumping out and cussing at anglers! A good time was had for sure! (5/1)

Dave with a super tight hen, its hard to believe it’s May first with hens this tight and fishing so good right now. Fly fishing has been astounding over the past week or so. Lots of steelhead entering the river preparing to spawn. (5/1)

John Curley landed a beast of a chrome hen. Bright fish are not the norm usually in late April but this year, they are plentiful to say the least! I love being able to catch and release such a regal fish!! We’re Very excited about the next three weeks and great fishing headed our way!! (5/1)

Alyssa helped us all eat humble pie as she layed the smack down on a pile of steelhead today while fly fishing the Muskegon River!! (5/1)

Carl landed some gorgeous steelhead including this chrome bullet hen!! Chrome steelhead are not usually the norm in late April but they sure are this year! Nice work putting this beauty in the net!

Sam’s first steelhead!! One of the greatest joys of being a fishing guide is having the chance to help young people land their first steelhead. The smile says it best! (4/27)


Alyssa helped colleen land this gorgeous hen. Only 14 but, Colleen is a very experienced fly girl, and has landed many great fish with me over the years!! (Thanks DJ for a great afternoon trip!) (4/27)

It seems that with the awful winter that we had, everything in nature seems to be two weeks behind schedule, steelhead are no exception. This weekend was the first time so far that I started to see many chrome bullet hens landed and piles and piles of steelhead beginning to dig gravel in earnest. There was a spot near Pine st. on Saturday that I counted over a dozen females spawning in the same area at one time. Having that many hens in one area like that is mind blowing for me!! It’s been over a decade since I’ve seen such a late push of fish.

I absolutely feel comfortable guiding clients to big numbers of steelhead well into the first week of June. There’s been quite a few years with big late runs of Steelhead, this year with definitely be one of them. Water temps are still in the low to mid 40’s which is usually unheard of. All of this bodes well for great fishing well into late spring. For all of the clients that rescheduled because of the cold spring, good call because you’ll be into a lot of fish, in comfortable weather and great conditions.

We are excited because water levels, temperatures, and clarity are now perfect for steelhead! Its the perfect storm to bring everything together for some great fishing. The best part of the whole deal is, 90% of the hens we’ve been landing are tight or just barely starting to spawn. That’s some great news! After such a harsh winter, things are several weeks behind schedule, we should have great steelhead fishing well into late May!!

Fishing Steelhead while the weather is still warm. Lots of chrome fish still to come!!

Afternoon trips have also been fishing well for those who work during the day but would like a chance to fish in the afternoon. These trips are available most days are run from 3:30 pm – 8pm. Fishing can be great with much less angler pressure later in the day. Cost is $250 for 2 anglers. We look forward to fishing with you!!

Water levels have been steadily dropping on the Muskegon River. Fishing has all been outstanding with 20 plus hook ups per day being the norm right now. I fished with Paul and Colby for the past 6 days and we landed over 100 steelhead on their outing. We were fly fishing and fished several local rivers. Most of our steelhead were landed on clown eggs, fry patterns, and black stone flies. A few were landed on brightly colored caddis. The best steelhead fishing of the year is upon us and should last well into the next several weeks.

Ed and his daughter, Anna, with her very first steelhead. We proud as a guide service, to promote, and do our best to get kids on the water and into fish! “Hooked for life” is the wat we see it! (4/27)


Abbie with her first Steelhead. There was a million steelhead in the river and everyone was having a blast! Fish were everywhere this weekend and getting these kids into piles of fish was easy, landing them was another story. (4/27)


Afternoon trips have seemed to be landing the most fish lately. Afternoon trips are a great way to relax after a day at work. This time of year, weather is perfect for an afternoon fish. (4/26)

I have to say, I had a blast fishing with these guys on Saturday. We has a lot of fun cracking on each other and giving bs. We did mange to land 11 steelhead in a half day trip. There are piles of fish right now!!


TJ landed this colorful buck today on the fly rod. Fishing has been phenomenal over the past week. We have just been hammering on the steelhead. Water levels continue to drop making for exceptional fishing. Afternoon half days are fishing well. (4/24)

Check this kid out! What a beast of a buck!! Fly fishing the Billy Pate and TFO fly rod, TJ kicked his butt and put this guy in the net! Booh Ya! (4/24)


Allen landed this plump hen today. There was a great bite today. We had fish on all day. Big, bright flies have been the key to gettin’ bit on the Mighty Mo. (4/24 ) Morning trip.


Check out this shiny nice hen! Gravel fishing has been very good. Consistently producing lots of fish. (4/24)

Ed and Alyssa had a fantastic afternoon landing piles of fish today!! Steelhead fishing has been incredible the past several days. This is just the beginning of exceptional fishing. May should be amazing! (4/23)

Banner day on the Mighty Muskegon River. Water temperatures, Levels, and Clarity are all perfect for great fishing. Water temperatures are still relatively cold so we should have outstanding fishing well into late May! Fishing right now is really good! (4/23)

Finally, the Muskegon River is open for business and great Steelhead fishing!! Whoo Hoo! I’m excited to be back home and catching some chrome! After a brief hiatus fishing some other rivers up north, It feels great to home! I haven’t had much of a chance to look around to check the launches but I know the Croton launch, Pine st, and Thornapple all seem to be open. Henning Park should be as well. We also have openings for this week, mon, tues, and wed. If your interested in getting your fish fix!! Kodie and Alyssa are available to guide! It looks like some phenomenal fishing lies ahead. Great weather and Chrome fish!!