Joe, from SE Michigan, with a nice, chrome Muskegon river steelhead from yesterday.
The Muskegon river near Newaygo, MI is running a little below average flows for this time of early May, but still holding some steelhead as we approach the tail end of the Muskegon river spring steelhead run. Recent rains that came through the middle and upper portions of the watershed may bring levels up a bit once water makes it through the series of dams and reservoirs, but we’ll have to see how much, if any, makes it to Newaygo.
The spring steelhead run has been pretty good overall and good – very good compared to other west Michigan rivers that gets a similar run, such as the Pere Marquette and Manistee rivers, who had rather poor runs for the spring of 2015.
We are fishing just as much “dark water” around spawning grounds and deeper pools and runs for pre and post spawn fish, as we are around actual spawning grounds. Those fish looking to eat are quick to bite in those pools and runs, so we’re fishing quickly through them and covering a fair amount of water.
Both fly fishing and light spin tackle are options for choosing a technique, it’s a matter of personal preference and what’s getting more fish on the line. The methodical coverage capabilities of using fly gear for drift fishing – a.k.a. chuck-n-duck, can make that quite productive in the deeper water, where floating line and indicator rigs in pocket water around spawning grounds allows one to thoroughly cover each pocket, then move to the next. Light spin tackle rigs are primarily longer rods with bobbers, where we’re suspending our offerings above rock-boulder bottom runs, with depths of 6-10′ bring optimal.
As we begin to wrap up our 2015 spring steelhead run, thoughts will shift to fishing resident Rainbow and Brown trout, with the ever feisty Smallmouth bass not long after.
Present water temperatures in the low 50’s.