Finally, after a pretty dry September, we ended up getting a good amount of much needed rain recently to improve fishing conditions.
The Betsie still has fish coming in and many of them are doing their spawning thing. Keep in mind that all Betsie Salmon are wild fish and not stocked so please practice catch and release to ensure future runs of fish. New fish continue to move through the river and your best approach is to get them at funnel spots. While some fish are holding in the deeper slower holes, more fish are in the small pocket water – especially around spawning gravel.
The Big Manistee got a much needed bump in water levels and has such kick-started the salmon run again. There are good numbers of fish in the system with decent numbers of fish on gravel. With the salmon come steelhead and there is a mix of adult and skipper silver bullets moving their way up towards Tippy Dam. Tandem rigged egg flies or and egg and nymph combo should get you into fish – try steelhead buggers and hex nymphs.
The big, North wind and rain earlier this week mixed water temperatures up and have sent fish up all the Lake Michigan tributaries putting the salmon run back on schedule. Look for more fish in the Boardman and Platte Rivers.
With fall comes the close of trout season on the majority of the rivers in the state. There are still a few rivers open including the upper Manistee which is fishing pretty good right now. Look for brook trout to impress you with their colors and the pre-spawn brown trout to eat something big like a streamer with the lower water temperatures and added color to the river.
This is a great time to fish Northern Michigan – whether it is for the big fish on Lake Michigan tributaries or the extended trout season rivers in solitude with the smell of fall and its colors as a pleasant backdrop. Good Luck!
Ted Kraimer is a professional guide and fly tier, owner of Current Works Guide Service, and field editor for True|North|Trout. His fishing reports will continue to appear in T|N|T and on his website.