Its feeling like November with signs of Jack Frost in the morning, a little white stuff in the air and fish that are transitioning into mixed cover. With the salmon done in the rivers, steelhead are no longer easily found directly below them. A good number of fish have moved into the local river systems this fall including the Manistee and Betsie, but with all the rain, the fish have scattered themselves throughout the systems. Look for fish to be anywhere on a given day: in structure/ wood, holes, pocket water, cross-overs and inside seams.
The past week’s fishing slowed down after a productive fall, but there are still good numbers of fish to be caught with ideal water temperatures which remains in the upper 40s. The water clarity remains stained as the river works though all the run-off and tannins from all the rain the past two weeks.
With fish less focused on eggs, we have been fishing a tandem rig – one egg pattern with nymph trailers like steelhead buggers, hex nymphs and caddis. Those who prefer to swing flies – this is the time of year to pull out that two-hander and swing a big streamer across both transitioning flats and around wood. Some leaves are still around but the leaf drop/catch has been reasonable.
The trout fishing is starting to get going as they, too, look for alternative food sources now that the all you can eat salmon egg buffet has come to an end. Streamer fishing for brown trout should remain solid for the next month or so. Small baitfish patterns like Dirty Hippy – rainbow, are a great pattern to start with, then cycle through your favorite sculpin and attractor patterns after.
Fall Steelhead – October, November and into December, these fish will bend your rod like no other – experience it.
Trout/Steelhead – The lower Manistee offers good streamer fishing for trout in late Fall for a combo of species.
Gift Certificates – With the Holiday Season near, give or ask for the gift of time on the water or a lesson.