Muskegon River Fishing Report – August 30, 2014

Early run Chinook Salmon from the Pere Marquette river

Early run Chinook Salmon from the Pere Marquette river

Muskegon River

The Muskegon river near Newaygo, MI is running a bit above average flows for this time of late summer.  Overall, it has been a good “summer” season for most rivers and lakes in Michigan due to cooler than average temperatures for most of the summer and fairly consistent precipitation, aside from the few weeks in late July and early August.

Insect hatches occurring right now include #18 Green Caddis, #14 Efron, #18-22 BWO’s and still some #18-20 Trico’s.  It has been an odd summer of hatch activity on the Muskegon river, as most hatches are done or in the “tweener” phase come July and August……between June hatches and prior to late August and early September hatches, which historically occur in the upper reaches, close to Croton dam.  THIS summer however, I’ve seen bugs hatching AND random trout rising to them, 20 miles below Croton dam….yes, that’s odd.

Smallmouth bass are there to be had as well, with both topwater poppers, as well as subsurface crayfish and baitfish patterns.  Fished with 7 and 8 weight fly rods or light action spinning rods, low light is best for topwater, but they do “look up” during the day as well.  Not the best summer for Smally’s due to the cool temps, some of our better fishing was earlier in the summer, but we’ve seen some dandy’s “window shopping” our flies and lures in the last couple weeks.

Some early run Chinook salmon are in the river, but not many, give it another few weeks or the next time lake MI turns over, bringing cool water close to the shoreline and river mouth.

Present water temperature in the 71-73 degree range.

Pere Marquette River

The Pere Marquette (PM) between Ludington and Baldwin, MI is running above average flows right now due to rains that came through in recent days and if our present forecast sticks, it may stay slightly above average for a number of days. 

Most focus on the PM is directed towards the early run Chinook salmon, however trout fishing is still very viable, with either terrestrial  patterns fished during the day (hoppers/crickets/beetles/ants), nymph fishing with indicator rigs, or night time “mousin”.  As water temperatures start to drop, resident fish will begin to pick up feeding in anticipation of colder months ahead.

Salmon are spread throughout the system, but not bunched up in any given stretch right now.  We need to see another push of fish come out of lake MI and enter the river.  Pods have been staging in PM lake, some trickling in here and there, but we need a solid run of a couple thousand fish to get things rolling.  Once in, we’ll start fishing them with short spinning rods, reels spooled with braided line, as we cast-retrieve lures to fresh run “kings”.  Quite possibly the most intense fresh water fish battle one will EVER encounter….I’ve caught most all of the fresh water big game fish that are there to be had and this one takes the cake !

Present water temps in the low 60’s in the upper river, mid 60’s down low.

Manistee River

The Manistee river near Wellston, MI is running a bit above average flows for this time of late summer, but in good shape overall.  It’s a mixed bag of Smallmouth bass, resident Brown and Rainbow trout and early run Chinook and Coho salmon in the lower stretches.

Smallmouth are the fish of choice for those not looking for early salmon, while trout still reign on the upper stretches, above Tippy dam, with foam body and rubber leg creations being cast close to undercut banks and over medium depth runs with lumber for structure.

Once lake MI turns over once again and brings cooler water close to shore, it should trigger more salmon to enter the system.  That said, it has fished pretty good for early salmon in the lower river in recent days.

Present water temperature in the upper 60’s.