Muskegon River Fishing Report – April 17, 2021 – Newaygo, Michigan

Muskegon River Fishing Report – April 17, 2021 – Newaygo, Michigan

A nice, fresh Muskegon river steelhead in from lake MIchigan on its annual spawning run.

The Muskegon river fishing report for April 17, 2021 in the Newaygo, Michigan area is focused on the annual spring steelhead run, upcoming trout dry fly fishing and summer Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike fishing,

We are currently in the middle of the annual spring steelhead run and will be fishing for these and resident Brown trout  and Rainbow trout, into early May.  How long the spring steelhead run lasts can be modified a bit by river conditions such as river levels and temperatures.  We have been fishing in very low and incredibly clear water since the onset of the spring run in mid March.  I have never seen the river this low and clear for this time in April, going back over 2 decades.  Click HERE for current Muskegon river water flow data.

The source of our river condition challenges has been the lack of rain and limited snow melt runoff back in February and early March.  With just 2 measurable rains over the course of that time frame, the river basin is bone dry and whatever precipitation we do get, is going into the dry and dusty landscape that surrounds the river.  Click HERE for current and forecasted weather for the Newaygo, Michigan area.

All this being said, there are steelhead in the river system and we’re pursuing them with both fly fishing and conventional tackle.  A majority of the fish coming in recently, are not “staging” for very long before setting up around spawning grounds.  Historically, we’ll see some fish hold in deeper pools and runs, as their biological clock ticks away until their body says, “time to complete our annual spawn”,   This has not been the case much at all this year, as fish simply get into the river and find spawning grounds.

There are some very nice resident Brown trout and Rainbow trout being caught close to spawning steelhead, as they’re eager to capitalize on the easy meals of high protein steelhead eggs.  We did have some trout feeding on the surface when the early stone fly hatch was happening, but that has tapered off quickly over the last handful of days.

Before we know it the month of May will be upon us and come the latter portion of the month, we will see insect hatches resume and the onset of our prime dry fly fishing arrive.  This typically goes for a number of weeks, with river temperatures playing a big role in how long we have solid hatches. 

With the end of June, comes the beginning of my 6-7 week Smallmouth Bass and Northern Pike “season”, which I will do on not only the Muskegon river around Newaygo, but possibly the upper river near the town Stanwood, as well as the Grand River in and around the greater Grand Rapids area.

Pending river and weather in July, I may also be doing some trout fishing on the Pere Marquette river for the terrestrial fishing with grass hoppers, crickets, beetles and ants.

For the time being though, we still have steelhead to pursue and will be fishing for them through the reminder of the 2021 spring run.