Fishing continues to be good on local rivers as the crowds decrease and the salmon numbers fall. Anglers looking for steelhead will find them throughout the region but be prepared to catch a lot of fallen leaves between fish when it’s windy or raining. Water temps remain relatively stable but are falling as we approach November.
The Lower Manistee continues to fish well. Salmon numbers are dwindling, but there are still fish around, mostly on gravel doing their spawning thing. Look for the steelhead to be on the egg bite when fishing below the gravel beds in the darker deeper water and runs. With all of the leaves in the river, consider fishing a large, bright egg pattern with a smaller, more natural egg under it. Those fishing near the dam are finding the steelhead to be eating a mix of flies – eggs and some smaller nymphs including caddis and pheasant tails. Successful eggs patterns vary, but smaller patterns are better at “Matching the Hatch” with the water becoming clear. To read more about egg flies, how to choose and tie them – click here.
The Betsie still has salmon at all stages in the river system. Most fish are on gravel jockeying for position and fighting for their chance to spawn. Some better looking fish are still moving through as are some Cohos and a few Steelhead. Look for this week’s forecast rain to bring in more of all three species. Crowds are down and there is more water to fish for those looking for chrome. Eggs, eggs and eggs are your best bet for steelhead fishing, where eggs, egg sucking leeches, stones and caddis are fooling salmon.
The Platte, too, has salmon – both Chinook/Kings and Silvers/Cohos in the lower end. The low, clear water of this river demands a good presentation for your best success. Use your polarized glasses and look for fish tucked along bank edges for additional opportunities rather than the obvious fish and holes. The Boardman is giving up salmon too right here in town along with some skipper and a few adult Steelhead.
My attention lately has been on the chrome steelhead of the local rivers and not on the Upper Manistee in pursuit of the big brown trout. The fish should be spawning with some fish pre-spawn and some post spawn in the mix. This can be a great time to score that nocturnal loving trophy that is rarely seen in daylight as they are bulking up for a long, sedentary winter. Fish a variety of streamers and cover lots of water. The terrestrial bite this time of year can be great when a warmer night accompanies a mild day after.
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.