The Muskegon river near Newaygo, MI is running above average flows at this time due to heavy rains that came through most of Michigan over the last few days. Most important to water level fluctuations from Newaygo down river to Muskegon itself, is how much rain fell in the north central part of the lower peninsula where the Muskegon river begins.
Our chrome lake Michigan friends -steelhead- are still being pursued and caught on a daily basis, using both fly fishing and light spin tackle gear.
For the fly fisher, options include swinging streamers with 9-12+’ long, 6-8 weight, 1 or 2 handed rods, with sinking lines of sink tips, that get flies in the middle 1/3 of the water column. Another approach would be indicator nymphing with 9-10′ long, 6-8 weight rods, fishing some of the medium depth runs and troughs, using small egg patterns and natural nymphs/larva, such as PT’s, Hares Ear, amber/tan/cream Scuds, as well as Hex’s, small Sculpin patterns and shortly, we’ll have salmon sac fry to toss into the mix as well. A third option is deep water drift fishing, a.k.a. chuck-n-duck, fishing 9-10+’ long, 7 & 8 weight rods, in the deepest runs in the river. Those swinging can get away with heavier tippet, in the 15+ # range, while chuck-n-duck rigs will have 6-10# test and indicator/float fishing setups will have the lightest tippet, in the 5-8# range.
Light spin tackle setups include bottom bouncing and float fishing. Bottom bouncing best done with 9-10′, medium action rods, with tippet being in the 6-10# range, depending on current speed and water clarity. Float fishing (bobbers) best done with longer rods in the 11-12+’ length, for fishing 7-10′ deep runs, with flies, bait or bait tipped jigs, on 6-8# test line.
I have seen some trout rising to dry flies over the past week…..YEP, December dry fly fishing !! “When” it does set up correctly based on water levels, water AND air temps and fish location, casting #18-22 Midge patterns on 3-5 weight rods, with 7 & 8 x tippet, can be a LOT of fun.
Present water temperature is in the 37 degree range.