With November now here, we are still experiencing early October-like weather with warmer temperatures and some really hot fish.
Steelhead fishing on the Manistee has been decent with some nice steelhead playing along. But they often aren’t playing nice – that is, once hooked, they are really testing our skills with their ability to put space between you and them. The fish are scattered throughout the river system – in holes, tail-outs, seams and on the rare sunny day – in woody structure.
Majority of the fish are eating egg patterns with no one pattern, size or color outperforming another – mix it up. If fishing near the dam, go small as the fish are really keying in on eating the natural eggs left by the salmon. Just a few chinook and coho salmon remain directly below Tippy, spawning in the upper mile of water. Fishing nymphs in the past ten days is proving effective with smaller nymphs used near the dam and larger patterns like ice/steelhead buggers, hex nymphs and caddis working in the lower sections. This is the time to use that two-handed rod with streamers swung on a sink-tip.
Water temps are hovering around 50 degrees which is adding to the fish’s feistiness. Water clarity is a little too good, nudging us to use lighter lines which makes landing the fish more difficult. It appears that about half of the fish in the river had been eating really well out in the lake and they have some shoulders and girth to prove it.
The trout are continuing to appease their appetite after a heavy egg diet and are chasing a streamer when not scavenging on any remaining salmon eggs. On rivers like the Upper Manistee and Au Sable system, the streamer fishing has been decent for those looking to feed a post-spawn brown trout. Mid-sized streamers like the Autumn Offender and Ted’s Brook Trout fished on sink-tips is your best approach.
Trout – Target post-spawn browns with streamers on the upper Manistee or Below Tippy Dam.
Fall Steelhead – Warm weather is making for comfortable steelhead fishing. Oxymoron, isn’t it?
Late Fall Trout – After gorging on salmon eggs, streamer fishing below Tippy Dam can be outstanding.