The Muskegon river between Newaygo and Muskegon is running above average flows at this time due to the heavy rains that came through most of Michigan recently and melted most all of the near 3′ of snow we received the last half of November.
Steelhead are the fish we’re targeting at this time, however lake run Brown trout and resident Brown and Rainbow trout are being caught on outings in/around the Newaygo area. The closer to Muskegon we fish, the emphasis is on steelhead and lake run Browns, as the lower river does not hold many/any, resident trout.
After a brutal week+ of January like conditions in mid-late November, we’re now closer to “average” water conditions for the end of November. Based on present long range weather forecasts, we should see the river stabilize and steelhead settle into the “winter lies”.
Fishing them with both fly and light spin tackle gear is producing fish, at times weather conditions have dictated which are used based on ease of use and productivity.
Fly fishing options include deeper water drift fishing with 9 or 10′, 7 or 8 weight rods, a.k.a. chuck-n-duck, indicator fishing with longer rods such as 11′, 7 weight switch rods and swinging streamers with sinking or sink tip lines, on 6-9 weight rods, in various lengths. Spin fishing options include float fishing with longer rods such as 11 or 12′, medium action rods, or bottom bouncing with 9-10′ rods, also in medium action.
Flies to have on hand include egg patterns (lake run Brown trout are spawning now), nymphs such as caddis, hares ear, PT’s, scuds, hex’s and small fry patterns. Streamers are a mixed bag of bright, attention getting colors, with some action to them from either the materials themselves, or those which are double jointed and have a natural “waggle” to them. Spin fishing can be done with the same offerings, as well as various types of bait and even small spinners and crank baits.
We had some TOUGH fishing up near Newaygo for many days, however the most recent rise of water has brought more fish in, so fishing should be good for December and January, as many of the fish that made it up near Newaygo, WILL winter over in the river.
Present water temperature around the 40 degree mark.