Pere Marquette River Facts and Information

Flow Data

Pere Marquette River Fly Fishing

The Pere Marquette River is one of the finest trout, steelhead, and salmon fisheries in the Great Lakes region.  It is a tributary of Lake Michigan and is located Michigan's western shoreline.  The river is known as the birthplace of Brown trout in the United States, being the first place German browns were planted in the United States. This river is a superb trout fishery that can produce resident trout over 20” on a regular basis.  Acrobatic steelhead enter the river from Lake Michigan in early fall (October) and provide excellent fly fishing throughout the winter, until they're joined by the main steelhead run in March and April.  Salmon enter the river in late summer (August) and provide good angling through mid-fall, until the cycle renews and steelhead enter in October again to feed on salmon roe. Quality hatches of mayflies, caddis, and stoneflies exist in this river, which provide tremendous dry fly angling for the river’s resident trout. The Pere Marquette River is known for many great hatches, the most famous being Grey Drakes and Hex’s!


The Little South and Middle Branch meet to form the main Pere Marquette in Marlborough near James Road.  A couple of miles below this junction, the Baldwin River flows in on the north side of the river while the Big South Branch flows in many miles downstream on the south side of the river.  Kinney and Waldon creeks are a couple of other tributaries that feed the Pere Marquette and contribute to its great water quality.


Trout angling is excellent on the Middle Branch and upper main stream of the Pere Marquette.  The Middle Branch is small averaging approximately 25 feet in width.  Sand, gravel, and silt make up much of the bottom of the river.  A few boulders, fallen trees, and a lot of sharp bends help to create seams and holding water for the trout. In the main Stream area or “Flies Only” There are impressive resident browns that reach twenty inches and above in this area.  The water in this section is some of the best that the Midwest has to offer, though during peak seasons can become very crowded.


The upper Pere Marquette has a special regulations area approximately 8 miles long that is designated artificial flies only, catch-and-release.  This area extends from M-37 to Gleason’s Landing.  Check the special regulations for details on this section and others located on the Pere Marquette. 


Gleason’s Landing to the mouth is a long and extremely productive section of river.  Here the river has very deep pools, strong runs and riffles which hold steelhead and large resident trout very well.  Drifting a black stonefly nymph or egg pattern behind a fallen tree or in deep run here could produce a fifteen pound steelhead or a twenty four inch resident brown!  The potential of this river is enormous.  Below Gleason’s Landing, the river gains more volume and depth.  The river’s speed increases and wading becomes even more difficult.  Most anglers float fish this section of river. 


Access sites to the river are fairly easy to find and pretty evenly spread out downstream from Baldwin.  The upper river and especially the upper regulations "flies only" area, have several access points.  M-37, Ledge hole, Green Cottage, Clay Banks and Gleason’s Landing are the access sites within the "flies only".   Route 10 north of Baldwin and other side roads will lead you to the river and other access points, as well as bridge and access spots around Branch, and Wahalla, Michigan.  Farther down stream, areas such as Indian Bridge, Custer, and Scottville provide good access to the lower river. 


Hatches are exceptional and bring up some very sizable trout through the spring and summer from Wahalla bridge area upstream to the M-37 Bridge in Baldwin.  Late May through early July is usually the peak of the dry fly fishing.  Mayflies on the river include Hedricksons, Sulphurs, Blue-winged Olives, Gray Drakes, Brown Drakes, and Hexagenia Limbata (“Michigan Caddis,” one of the largest mayflies) along with a few other less significant ones.  Stoneflies include a variety of species with Little Black Stones being most popular especially as nymphs for steelhead.  Caddis are abundant and include a variety of species as well.  Large brown trout can be found gorging themselves on any of these insects.  The”Hex” hatch is one of the most popular for big fish especially in the lower river below Wahalla bridge, at dusk and going into night.  Terrestrials are also an important part of the summertime fishing. Streamer fishing the undercut banks and expansive log structures always moves fish, and is just another great option the Pere Marquette offers.


Steelhead can be caught on a variety of different flies.  Nymphs are usually the most popular and productive from egg patterns to little black stones.  Hares ears, zug bugs, and other generic nymphs will work as well.  Wet and spey flies in various colors and patterns are also very effective when conditions allow.  Never leave home without some woolly buggers in your box too.  Steelhead flies are tied in a multitude of colors, some of which include black and brown to shades of pink and chartreuse.


The Pere Marquette is a dynamic fishery for trout, steelhead, and salmon.  The size of the fish this river holds is outstanding.  Many anglers come to this river each season to try for either its first class trout fishing during the spring and summer or its steelhead fishing during the fall, winter, and early spring. Although the wade fishing and access are good on the Pere Marquette, the use of a guide will always provide a safe, educational experience, and put you on the best fishing the river has to offer at that time of the year. 


Click here for Flow Data  for the Pere Marquette river

·           Pere Marquette River Information - by Fly Anglers Online

·              Pere Marquette River Map

·           Pere Marquette River Hatch Chart - by Pere Marquette River Lodge

·           Pere Marquette River Levels - near Scottville, MI

·           Pere Marquette River and Michigan Fishing Reports - by the Steelhead Site

State of Michigan River Maps




Pere Marquette River Fly Fishing Guide Services:

Support Groups

·           Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited

·           Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Association

·           The Internet Salmon Society

·           Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council

·           The Steelhead Site

·           Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited


Weather Information

·           Weather Channel forecast for Ludington, MI  

·           Weather Channel monthly temperatures in Ludington, MI

·           NOAA detailed weather statistics past 24 hours - Ludington, MI

Travel Info

·           Hotels in Manistee, MI - by our affiliate Expedia  

·           Hotels in Cadillac, MI - by our affiliate Expedia  

·           Air Travel to Manistee, MI   - by our affiliate Expedia  

·           Air Travel to Cadillac, MI - by our affiliate Expedia



·           Pere Marquette Steelhead Action Kicks Off - by ESPN Outdoors









Special Regulations, Pere Marquette

Pere marquette - From M-37 downstream to Gleason's Landing:

  • Type 7 - All year. No-kill, catch and release only.** Artificial flies only. 0 (zero) daily possesion limit.
  • **Trout may not be possessed on type 7 streams regardless of where caught.
    Mason county: Pere Marquette River within 300 feet above and below lamprey barrier (T18N, R16W, Sec. 21):
  • Closed to fishing all year
    Pere marquette - From Indian Bridge (Reek Rd.) downstream to Old U.S. 31: Type 3
  • Open season - All year
  • Possesion season - All year.
  • Tackle - All
  • Daily Harevst Limit - 5/3* * 5 fish, with no more than 3 fish 15 inches or larger, and no more than 1 atlantic salmon.
    All grayling must be released immediately.
  • Brook Trout 15", Brown Trout 15", Rainbow Trout 15", Splake 15", Lake Trout 24", Coho, Chinook, & Pink Salmon 10", Atlantic Salmon 15"
    Pere Marquette River- From Gleason's Landing downstream to Indian Bridge (Reek Rd.): Type 4
  • Open season - All year
  • Possession Season - Last Saturday In April - September
  • Tackle - All
  • Daily Harvest Limit - 5/3* * 5 fish, with no more than 3 fish 15 inches or larger, and no more than 1 atlantic salmon.
    All grayling must be released immediately.
  • Brook Trout 8", Brown Trout 10", Rainbow Trout 10", Splake 10", Lake Trout 24", Coho, Chinook, & Pink Salmon 10", Atlantic Salmon 15"

    Note: All stretches of water not listed are Type 1 Regulations

  • Open Season - Last Saturday In April - September 30th
  • Possession Season - Last Saturday In April - September 30th
  • Tackle - All
  • Daily Harvest limit - 5/3* * 5 fish, with no more than 3 fish 15 inches or larger, and no more than 1 atlantic salmon.
    All grayling must be released immediately.
  • Brook Trout - 8" Lower Peninsula 7" Upper Peninsula
  • Brown Trout - 8" Lower Peninsula 7" Upper Peninsula
  • Rainbow Trout - 10"
  • Splake - 8"
  • Lake Trout - 24"
  • Coho, Chinook, & Pink Salmon -10"
  • Atlantic Salmon - 15"


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