Muskegon River Fishing Report – January 1, 2020 – Newaygo, Michigan

Muskegon River Fishing Report – January 1, 2020 – Newaygo, Michigan

A WHOLE lot of shrimp patterns, waiting to be taken for a “swim” in the salt!

The Muskegon river fishing report for January 1, 2020 in the Newaygo, Michigan area in west Michigan,  is more about the weird winter weather over the last couple weeks and a river that is running well above average flows and dropping in water temperature quickly ! 

Due to the very warm weather and heavy rains over the last few days, the Muskegon river rose quickly is running nearly three times the average flows for the onset of the new year and has begun the downward slide into “winter temperatures”.  Click HERE for current Muskegon river water flow data at Croton dam.

With all this new water coming into the river, it will probably be several days before levels drop down to near normal flows, however we may not see much of a rise in water temperatures, which we saw last week but not likely to see again until spring……unless we have a sustained run of very warm temperatures over the next couple months.  Both short and long range forecasts are calling for temperatures around or below freezing over the next near 2 weeks and it appears as though most of the northern United States is done with extreme weather for a bit.  Click HERE for current and forecasted weather, for the Newaygo, Michigan area.

Once the Muskegon river drops in levels, we should see some pretty standard winter conditions for a while, which will find fish taking up comfortable positions in the river, which provide some cover, related security and nearby food source.  As river temperatures drop, fishes metabolism does as well, so fish will feed less, more less for the food they eat and in general, not be as active during this time due to the colder water temperatures.

Once we do get back into fishing, it can be done with either fly fishing or light spin tackle equipment.  Fly fishing options include light line, indicator nymphing with 5 or 6 weight fly rods, some are using longer rods in the 11′ range and in lighter weights such as 3 or 4, to do some Czech nymphing in certain runs.  Stripping and swinging streamers is also an option, but not with a lot of anticipation of moving a bunch of fish, but you never know when that big ‘ol Brown trout will come from nowhere to take a swipe at your streamer !  Stripping streamers with 6 or 7 weights and light to medium depth sinking or sink tip lines will get your streamer down, along with swinging flies for steelhead on longer, bigger rods, with appropriate sink tips attached to Skagit or Scandi heads, is a common approach.  For those looking to “go deep”, bottom bouncing with “chuck and duck” rigs will do the job, most of the time this is with 7 or 8 weight rods.  Light spin gear setups are for either bottom bouncing or floating your offering under bobbers, in very specific runs, is the best bet to chase steelhead.

As we get into the heart of winter here in west Michigan, many peoples thoughts shift from post holiday events and festivities, to mid-late winter activities, one of which is the arrival or our spring steelhead run on the Muskegon river!  This typically begins in March, with steelhead entering the Muskegon river on their annual spring spawning run and will run into early-mid May.

Best wishes to all for a great 2020 !!