Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Pere Marquette River
This river starts in the Pere Marquette National Forest in
Central Western Michigan, and flows for about thirty
miles into Lake Michigan. It's a great trout, steelhead
and salmon stream. Fly fishing the Pere Marquette River
successfully depends mostly on location and timing.
The brown trout are plentiful and grow large. Salmon
enter the Pere Marquette River in the early Fall.
Steelhead enter the river from Lake Michigan in the Fall
and provide fishing through the winter months and into
the early part of Spring.
It's Little South and Middle Branch converge near
Marlborough to form the main branch of the Pere
Marquette. The Baldwin River, the Big South Branch,
Walden and Kinney creeks also contribute their water to
the river farther downstream. The Pere Marquette River
is the first stream in the United States where German
Brown Trout were stocked.
The upper main stem of the river, the Middle Branch and
the Little South Branch are fine small stream fisheries.
They probably only average just over twenty feet or so.
Browns up to twenty inches can be caught in this section
of the river.
The Middle Branch is very small, averaging only about
twenty feet in width. It's mostly a fine pebble and sand
bottom with some areas of soft bottom. There are a few
large rocks and quite a bit of fallen trees, logs, etc.
There's plenty of cover for its brown trout.
The larger part of the Pere Marquette River begins at
Gleason's Landing located a few miles downstream. The
stream is much larger and deeper in this section. Most
of it can be waded but many prefer to fish it from a drift
boat. Fly fishing the Pere Marquette River is good either
The river is spring fed and maintains a good water
chemistry for trout and aquatic insects. All of its tributary
streams are spring fed. As you will see in the hatches
section, there are a large number of hatches that occur
on the river.
The upper Pere Marquette River has a special
regulation "Catch and Release" section of water that's
about eight miles long. You can only use artificial flies
and all fish must be released. The C and R section runs
from Michigan #37 to Gleason's Landing. Special
Regulations are always subject to changes, so make
sure you check them before fishing. This section of the
river is very popular. It holds a lot of trout and steelhead
when they are in the river. The river in this area is easy
to wade in its upper part but deep on its lower end.
From Gleason's Landing all the way to the mouth of the
Pere Marquette River, a distance of about twenty miles,
the water is deep and moves along well. Deep runs and
pools are common. There's a few long riffles. Wading is
difficult in this area even where it is shallow enough to
wade. Floating the river in a drift boat is the best way to
fish this section. It is an excellent habitat for large brown
trout and steelhead.
The Pere Marquette is one of the countries best trout,
steelhead, and salmon streams. The variety of fish it has
makes it possible to fly fish year-round.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Pere Marquette River
The techniques and strategies you use first depends on
the species of fish you are trying to catch and the time
of year and area of water you are fishing.
There are three basic fish groups that you can catch
from the Pere Marquette. They are the salmon,
steelhead and trout. Each of these there categories of
fish require different methods of fishing. Catching a
thirty pound Chinook salmon is quite different from
catching a trout on a trico mayfly imitation.
The Chinook Salmon enter the river in late August to
early September. These are large fish averaging from
fifteen to twenty-five pounds. Many run over thirty
pounds. They are caught several ways. Drifting nymphs
and swinging spey flies are two of the most popular
methods used. They can also be caught on streamers.
This activity last until the middle of October.
|Type of Stream
(Wild trout/hatchery and wild raised
steelhead and salmon)
Western Central Michigan
Trout and Steelhead season varies
Yes, sections of C & R. See current
Fair to Good
State of Michigan
National Weather Service Link
Stream Flow Data:
Real Time USGS Data (Scottville)
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
For Steelhead and Salmon
7, 8 , 9 or 10 weight for appropriate type
rod, sinking, sinking tip and floating
10#, 12# in 9 to 15 feet lengths
10# and 12#
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly 7, 8, 9 and 10 ft. single hand
For 7 to 10 weight lines
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
KISS Strike Indicators, Lanyards, etc.
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Springtime is the best time for the hatches
and dry fly fishing for trout. Steelhead enter
the river in early March and fishing can be
good during April and May.
Salmon enter the river in late summer. Night
fishing the big drake hatches for trout is
Winter steelhead move out of the lake and into
the river to spawn in late February and early
March. They migrate upstream to their
spawning areas and eat stonefly and caddisfly
larvae along the way. They spawn in March,
April and May. During this time, anglers can
sight fish for them. This can be some very
exciting fishing.In the early fall, wild steelhead
enter the river again from Lake Michigan and
feed on the salmon roe. This starts the
steelhead migration cycle all over again.
There's an eight mile long, artificial flies only,
catch and release special regulation area in
the upper section of the river from highway
M-37 downstream to Gleason's Landing. Even
though this is one of the more crowded
sections during the prime trout season, it has
enough trout to provide plenty of action for
From Gleason's Landing to the mouth of the
lake, a distance of about twenty miles, the river
is much deeper with strong runs and riffles and
long, deep pools that hold both trout and
steelhead. Wading is possible in some areas
but many prefer to fish this section from a drift
boat. Rainbow Rapids downstream to the
Wahalla area is a good section for both large
brown trout and steelhead, when they are in
the river. There are many places you can
access the stream in this long section of the
Fly Fishing Guide, continued:
The large brown trout are often caught
using streamers fishing undercut banks,
deep pools, piles of logs and tree tops.
During the late spring and early summer,
there are a tremendous number of
salmon fry in the river. The large browns
feed on them and is one reason they
grow to such a large size.
Just about any day of the year you can
find a place and a fly fishing technique
that will catch steelhead, salmon or trout
on this great river. It is one of the best fly
fishing destinations in Michigan.
Hatches and Flies for the Pere
Our information on aquatic insects is based on
our stream samples of larvae and nymphs, not
guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all the
insects in the Pere Marquette River and in all
stages of life that are applicable to fishing. If
you want to fish better, more realistic trout
flies, have a much higher degree of success,
give us a call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
Most anglers think the big Hex mayflies or the
Hendricksons are the most important mayflies
on this river, but in our opinion, the most
important insects that hatch on the Pere
Marquette River are the Blue-winged Olives.
Of course, there's more than one species and
some of them are bi-brooded. The hatch
usually starts around the first of May and last
until about the first of August.
Around the first of May, the Hendrickson hatch
usually starts. These mayflies normally hatch
for about a month in various sections of the
river. About a week later, the Blue Quills
(called Mahogany Duns and sometimes Black
Quills locally) start hatching. This hatch last
until about the end of the first week in July.
Around the middle of May, American March
Browns will also hatch in the faster water
areas of the river. The hatch last for about a
At the same time, or the middle of May, you
may also find some Sulphurs (called Pale
Evening duns locally) starting to hatch. This
hatch can last to the middle of June. Brown
Drakes start hatching about the first of June
and last for about a month. By the middle of
May, you should also find some Gray Drakes
hatching. This hatch is usually very large and
can last until the middle of June.
About the first week of May, and lasting until
the middle of July, the Great Olive Wing Dun,
or what locals sometimes call the Michigan
Caddis, begin to hatch. This is mostly an
evening event. The Slate Drake hatch last
about a month, or from around the middle of
July until the middle of August. In the faster
water sections, you will find a few Light Cahills.
They hatch for most of the months of May,
June and most of July. Trico mayflies hatch
from about the first of June until the third week
of July. They are found in the slower section of
Caddisflies are also very plentiful on this river.
There are many species but the most
important are the Cinnamon Caddis species.
They start hatching about the first of May and
can last until the end of July. Green Sedges
start coming off around the third week of April.
This hatch usually last until the end of July.
Remember, their larva, called Green Rock
Worms, are around all year available for the
trout to eat. Imitations of them work just about
anytime of the year.
The Pere Marquette River also has some
stoneflies. They are usually found in the
faster sections of the streams. Little Winter
Stoneflies hatch from January through April.
Little Brown stoneflies hatch in April and
May. They are almost black in color but are
members of the Little Brown Stonefly
family.Yellow Sallies (Little Yellow
Stoneflies) are probably the most plentiful
of the stonefly species. They start hatching
around the end of May and last until the
middle of August. Giant Black Stoneflies
are also present in this river. They usually
start hatching about the first of May and
last until the end of August. Steelhead eat
their nymphs as well as the trout.
Terrestrial insects can be important during
the summer months. Ants are plentiful
around the stream from about the end of
June all the way to mid October. Imitations
of beetles and grasshoppers will produce
trout during the months of July, August and
Midges are present year-round and
imitations of their larvae, pupae and the
adults will produce most anytime. The most
important time to fish imitations of them is
during the cold weather when few other
insects are hatching.
Streamers are very popular flies for the
Pere Marquette River. Imitations of sculpin,
baitfish, and leeches all produce. They are
very good flies for catching the larger
brown trout, especially in low light and
dingy water conditions.
As you can see, there's a lot of aquatic
insects that hatch on this great river. At
"Perfect Fly," we have specific imitations of
all of them. If you haven't already done so,
please give our flies a chance to perform
for you. They are not only are the most
realistic flies you can buy, they are the
most effective at catching trout.
You should have a large selection of small
egg flies in natural colors such as gold,
orange, Oregon cheese, peach, and cream
in hook sizes #8 and 10's. Our "Perfect Fly"
Giant Black Stonefly Nymphs in hook sizes
6 also work well. Our "Perfect Fly" Hex
(Great Olive Winged Drake) nymphs in a
hook size #6 work great. So do our Green
Sedge larvae imitations (Green Rock
Worms) in a hook size 12. Streamers also
work great for the steelhead and salmon.
Fall steelhead fishing begins. Salmon
fishing is in its prime. Great brown trout
Steelhead fishing can be good all winter
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The river is in good
shape in all sections. The water is
mostly clear and the stream levels a
little above normal. There are some
summer run steelhead being caught
in the lower river. Trout fishing is
excellent. Our customers are
catching good numbers of trout and
some are of good size. There are
lots of hatches taking place and dry
fly action is good. Keep up with the
latest information on our weekly
updated Pere Marquette River
fishing report linked above.
Map of Pere Marquette River
10/19/15 The hot news is the good brown trout fishing. They are in the pre-spawn stage and
very territorial and aggressive. There are still a few hatches taking place. Blue-winged Olives,
Little Yellow stones, and Great Autumn Brown sedges represent the bulk of them. A few
steelhead are in the river but not in the numbers they usually are at this time. This should turn
on very soon, so stay in touch.
10/26/15 A very few steelhead have come into the river but that should soon change. Brown
trout are preparing to spawn and very aggressive and territorial. Our Brown Sculpin fly is
fooling some big ones. Great Autumn Brown sedges are just past the peak of the hatch and
bring trout to the surface to eat the egg laying females.
11/02/15 The high water levels and recent rain has done little to help the trout anglers but the
steelhead guys love it. It should be bringing a lot more fish into the river. Some of the brown
trout are spawning. Blue-winged olives are the main insects to begin to focus on. It is going to
be a warm week but probably one of the last ones.
11/09/15 It has been unseasonably warm but turning a little cooler this week. There's some rain
in the forecast. Steelhead are being caught in good numbers. Our Perfect fly Crystal Veiled
Beadhead egg fly has been catching a lot of them. Stream levels are about normal at this time
and more rain in on the way tomorrow. Trout fishing is excellent right now.
11/16/15 The trout fishing has been off lately because of higher water levels. Streamers have
caught a few trout. Steelhead fishing has been very good. The higher levels have brought a lot
of fish into the lower river. Customers are catching them swinging and nymphing. Egg flies were
working on the lower water levels. There is a lot of rain and snow in the forecast this coming
11/23/15 Steelhead are still being caught in good numbers. The higher water levels of the past
week have brought a lot more fish into the river. They are using egg flies, nymphs, and
swinging Spey flies and streamers. Trout fishing is good again with the normal water levels.
Midges and Blue-winged olive nymphs are what we are recommending.
11/30/15 t is snowing and will continue to rain and snow through Wednesday. The river is
already very high and will rise some more before falling. That will slow the "catching" down for a
short time but bring more fish into the river. Steelhead were being caught in good numbers.
This should help those that like to swing flies. The water is colder but still okay.
12/08/15 The weather is turning back a little warmer this coming week. That should help raise
the water temperature in the lower river a little and a little will help a lot. The steelhead get a
little sluggish when it is in the low forties. Nymphs and eggs work best under those colder water
conditions. There is a good opportunity for those seeking trout this coming week as well.
12/21/15 They are catching some steelhead from Bowman Bridge to the upper Branch Bridge.
The water is stained and there is a lot of rain and snow coming every day for the next week.
Swinging is the most productive method right now. The weather is continuing to be
unseasonably warm and a good time to get out and fish. See the list of steelhead flies we
recommend on the fishing report.
12/22/15 The upper river is high and badly stained. From looking at the weather forecast for
the coming week, it appear that won't change much. There is snow forecast every day. The
lower river is still producing a steelhead every few hundred cast for those brave enough to try
it. It is high, cold and stained as well but swinging is still working.
01/03/16 The river has been high for a long time and that has brought a lot of fish in. The
levels are down now and anglers are just beginning to catch some steelhead. The levels are
expected to stay down within fishable levels for this coming week, so it should be good
opportunity. Swinging flies and indicator nymphing is working.
01/11/16 The stream levels are high but not too high to fish but you do have to watch them
closely. A few steelhead are being caught but for the next couple of days, it will be more of a
matter of managing the winter storm than catching fish. The water is a little stained. This should
settle down to snow and things get back to normal soon.
01/18/16 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this pas week. There are plenty of
chrome, drop backs. etc in the river but the water is running from 34 to 35 degrees. Nymphs,
fished in the deepest holes out of the main current is the key but granted, it will be slow.
01/25/16 There is a lot of steelhead in the water. Some are chrome, meaning they haven't
been in long, and some are colored up, meaning they have been around for a while. They are
scattered throughout the river. They can be caught best on nymphs fished under an indicator.
You will just have to put up with a lot of snow.
02/01/16 The forecast and fishing report almost looks identical to last week. We need a little
warmer water and the fishing would be great. It is only about 35 and that makes it tough. Fish
steelhead nymphs like our Giant Black stonefly and Green Sedge Steelhead larva in the
deepest water on the bottom.
02/08/16 There is a lot ice in the river, along the banks as well as some slush ice. The water is
just too cold for any decent opportunity for trout but steelhead are still being caught. Slow
presentations of nymphs right on the bottom out of the fast current is the best strategy.
02/15/16 The weather forecast is looking much better for the coming week. There will be some
days in the mid to high forties. That is a welcome change that should get rid of a lot of slush
ice. The levels will likely go up and swinging flies for the SH will probably be better than nymphs
02/22/16 There is a chance of snow every day from Tuesday through next Monday but it is
going to be slightly warmer, with highs in the thirties and lows in the teens. Much of the bank
snow and ice melted this past week and stained the water good. We didn't receive any reports
from anglers fishing.
03/29/16 The river is stained and high, not to mention about 35 degrees water temperature.
The only good point is the higher water is bringing new fish into the system. It is just tough to
catch them. When it warms us just little it picks us and then shuts down as soon as it turns
03/07/16 The river is in much better shape with the warmer weather. It is melting a lot of snow
and keeping the water stained in some sections. There are a lot of steelhead in the river and
conditions for catching them are very good. There is some rain forecast about every day, so
watch the levels. Right now it is perfect.
03/14/16 The stream levels remain high from melting snow and rain. There is more to come
with a chance every day this week, turning to snow, later in the week. A few steelhead are
being caught swinging but the river is up too high to fish with much success. The water in the
upper river is slowly warming up but still in the low forties due to a lot of melting snow.
03/21/16 Steelhead are in the river in good numbers. The early warm weather brought a lot of
fish in early. The fish are scattered throughout the lower river and being caught swinging and
nymphing under indicators. The upper river is stained and dropping but more rain/snow is on
the way every day for the next several.
03/28/16 It is raining now, and there is a lot more in the forecast. The lower river has a lot of
steelhead in it, if only the weather would cooperate better. The levels are high and the water
stained. It is also colder. When it drops and clears up some, steelhead fishing should pick back
04/04/16 The weather is turning cold again for a few days. The stream levels are very high but
should begin to fall. There will be more snow falling from Wednesday through next Sunday.
Steelhead were being caught with some success when the water was at a good level. Sculpin
streamers will be you best bet for trout until the water settles down some.
04/11/16 The river is almost back to a normal level for this time of the year. It is clear and there
are still plenty of steelhead scattered throughout the system. Swinging, nymphing and some
eggs are catching a few. The water is slightly warmer and that too should help. The upper river
is still cold averaging about 40 degrees. Midges and little BWOs are hatching.
04/18/16 The steelhead season is about done for the year. There are a lot less fish in the river
this week. Some will still be available to catch for the next two or three weeks, but not in the
numbers there have been. The water is warming up just a little and rain is in the forecast about
every day for this coming week.
04/25/16 We didn't change the date above last week and that's confusing. Sorry. The
steelhead are back out in the lake but brown trout are coming in and being caught. Resident
brown trout are being caught on Midges and streamers like the Brown Sculpin. The water level
is down but there i a good bit of rain on the way this week. It should warm up fast and hopefully
the water reach that magic 50 degree mark.
05/02/16 The stream is flowing a little high with some stain at this time. There is little rain in the
forecast this coming week, so the levels should get better. The water is near the point several
new hatches will begin. Right now, some very good Blue-winged olive hatches are taking place
and our customers are doing okay using the White Belly sculpin.
05/09/16 The river is a little high and slightly stained. There is rain in the forecast every day for
the next week. It is likely to remain high and stained for that reason. I don't think it will be safe to
wade in most places this coming week but otherwise, okay to fish. There are some good
hatches taking place. The warm rain will help warm the water and eventually, help the overall
05/16/16 The conditions are great right now. The stream levels are fine and there are only a
couple more days of rain with low accumulation. The water is much warmer and several hatches
are underway. Hendricksons and Red Quills are emerging big time. Steelhead fishing is winding
down with some smallmouth action. Now it the time to catch trout.
05/23/16 The stream is in very good shape. The levels are down near normal and the water
mostly clear. There is some rain in the forecast this coming week, but it should be mostly
showers. There are a lot of insects hatching and that is going to increase with new hatches
starting up thanks to the warmer weather. Right now is a very good time to be on the river
fishing for trout.
05/30/16 The river is in good shape with good stream levels and clear water. Lots of insects
are hatching and it won't be long before it is bug heaven. The water is warming up fast. Brown
drakes, slate Drakes and Gray drakes are hatching and soon to be, the Great Olive Wing
Duns. It is a great time to be fly fishing the river.
06/06/16 Excellent conditions exist in all sections of the river. Our customers are reporting that
they are catching lots of trout. The stream levels are fine and most sections can be waded.
There are a lot of insects hatching including some of the big drakes. Conditions are about as
good as they can get at this time of the season.
06/12/16 It doesn't get much better than this on the Pere Marquette at this time of the year.
There are a lot of hatches taking place including Sulphurs and lots of others. The dry fly action
has been good this past week and should continue to be good this coming week. The weather
is good and the stream levels are in good shape.
06/18/16 The river is in as good of condition as it gets in mid June and anglers are catching a
lot of trout. Several hatches are taking place but Sulphurs and Eastern Pale Evening duns,
often called Sulphurs, are leading the way. We had several customers ordering flies for the
river this week, some of which sent in some good reports. It is a good time to be fly fishing the
06/25/16 Great conditions exist in all sections of the big river. Anglers are sending in some very
good reports and they are coming from the headwaters to the tailwater. The weather forecast fr
the coming week looks good. There are several insects hatching and lots of the trout are being
taken on the surface. The afternoon egg laying of caddiflies and stoneflies is bringing about a
lot of the action.
07/04/16 Our customers sent in some very good reports this past week. Conditions have been
very good and should continue to be good this coming week. Stream levels are running normal.
There are a long list of hatches taking place right now. Don't expect them all to occur in the
same section of water at the same time. Late afternoon caddisfly and stonefly egg laying is
providing some hot action.
07/11/16 There is rain in the forecast every day for the next week, but mostly isolated showers
and thunderstorms. The stream levels are fine at this time. Our customers are sending in some
good reports on the numbers and sizes of trout being caught. There are still a lot of insects
hatching including the big drakes. Now is an excellent time to fish the river.
07/18/16 Everyone is excited about the Hex hatch but keep in mind, that is mostly night fishing.
Fishing after dark isn't easy. It can be tricky. Not only do you have to watch what your doing
from a safety standpoint, you have to make sure you don't disturb the water sending wakes or
spook trout near you. There are a lot of other hatches taking place that are bringing good
07/23/16 The river is in good shape with good stream levels in all sections and several hatches
taking place. Our customers sent in two very good reports this past week with good numbers
and sizes of trout caught. Light Cahills, Sulphurs, Little Yellow stoneflies and Green sedge
caddis are hatching good. The dry fly fishing has been excellent.
08/01/16 The river is in very good shape with flows just a little above normal and lots of insects
still hatching. The weather forecast and outlook for the coming week looks good. Although
terrestrials are beginning to work, I wouldn't place them in priority to any of the hatches. There
are still hatches of Sulphurs and lots of caddisflies. Fish early and late in the day.
08/08/16 Stream levels are a little low but there is rain forecast near the weekend. Use stealth
and stay hidden from the trout. Wading is easy in most places, but it is also easy to spook the
trout. Cinnamon Caddis and Tricos have started to hatch. Fish streamers in the early mornings.
Fish the egg laying caddisflies the last two or three hours of the day.
08/15/16 We received two good reports from customers fishing for trout this past week. They
fished early mornings and used our Sculpin streamers. The stream levels are up right now and
there is a lot of rain in the forecast. Fish early mornings and the last two or three hours of
daylight for the best results. There are still a lot of caddisflies hatching and terrestrials are also
08/22/16 The river is in good shape for the end of August. Stream levels are fine and the
weather cooling down a little. There are mega Trico hatches and morning spinner falls are
bringing trout up to feed. Early morning streamer fishing using our Sculpin patterns is
producing some good size brown trout for our customers. There are lots of caddisflies hatching.
Fish early and late.
08/29/16 The conditions are better, with good stream levels and cooler water and weather. The
coming week looks like it is going to be a great time to fish the river. Caddisflies are hatching in
the afternoons and depositing their eggs the last two or three hours of the day. Morning Trico
spinner falls are bringing trout to the surface to feed. Fish the hatch about the time the spinner
09/05/16 You will find King Salmon in the river up to Upper Creek. Trout fishing is continuing to
be very good. Early morning streamer fishing with our Brown sculpin is working good. There are
lots of caddisflies hatching. Morning Trico spinner falls and the following hatches will keep you
busy. Late afternoon caddis egg laying will bring trout to the surface to feed.
09/12/16 The stream levels are up but not too high. You can wade some sections if your
careful. There are more Kings (Chinook Salmon) in the lower river. Trout fishing will improve as
the water temperature should drop some more. Blue-winged olive hatches should pick up. Right
now, Sculpin streamers are a good option.
09/19/16 The river is high and it is raining as I am writing this. There is more to come this week
and it is likely to remain high. You can't wade anywhere much safely but drift boats are swinging
streamers and catching trout. There are a lot more King Salmon in the river and anglers are
catching plenty of them.
09/26/16 The weather is going to be much cooler this coming week. The water level is down to
just above normal but there is rain in the forecast everyday for the coming week, so you should
keep checking them. There are still alot of King salmon being caught. Trout fishing success has
really picked up with the good levels and cooler water temperature.
10/03/16 Salmon fishing (Kings) continues to be good. The stream levels are up but falling.
There is some more rain coming the middle of the week, but hopefully, they will be back down
some. Streamer fishing has been great for the larger brown trout. They are in the pre-spawn
stage and very aggressive. Sculpin pattens, Matuka and Brown sculpin, are working good.
Hatches are continuing to be good.
10/10/16 There are lots of King salmon in the river, most of them spawning. Trout are eating
the eggs of the salmon and sucker spawn. There are lots of Blue-winged olives hatching in the
middle and upper sections of the river and our customers are catching lots of trout. The Brown
sculpin streamer is catching some large pre-spawn brown trout.
10/17/16 The salmon are mostly turning colors and trout are gulping down the eggs. Stream
levels remain a little high but still okay in places. The water is clear. Brown trout are very active
and becoming aggressive and territorial nearing the pre-spawn stage. You will have to keep
checking the levels. There is rain forecast about every other day.
10/24/16 We are getting reports of some steelhead being caught. Stream levels have been up
some lately but they are back down to a normal level for this time of the season. Brown trout
fishing has been great They are in the pre-to-post spawn stage, aggressive and territorial.
They are taking the Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers.
10/31/16 The recent higher water levels are bringing good numbers of steelhead in the river.
The water has been very low and clear but it is high and dropping some now. There is more
rain through Wednesday, then clearing. Steelhead fishing should be hot by the end of the
week. Brown trout fishing is the middle and upper river continues to be good.
11/07/16 The river is in very good shape with good stream levels near normal. You can wade
many sections of the river. There were some very large post-brown trout caught this past week
by customers using our Sculpin streamer flies like the Brown sculpin and Olive Matuka Sculpin.
Steelhead are in the lower river taking egg flies like our Veiled Beadhead Crystal egg flies.
11/14/16 The conditions are excellent at this time of the year for trout. Stream levels allow
wading in most sections and the water remain warm with good Blue-winged olive and midge
hatching taking place. Customers caught trout on top this past week. Steelhead opportunity
has been slowed down due to lower stream levels but fish are still being caught mostly on eggs
11/21/16 The weather is finally turning colder. The water temperature in the upper and middle
river will be dropping down into the low forties or lower. Midges and Sculpin streamers will catch
trout. Steelhead are being caught in fairly good numbers on nymphs and egg flies mostly. More
rain is needed to bring more fish in and that is likely later this week.
11/28/16 The river is in good shape with the flows just a little below normal but up from last
week. There is rain in the forecast everyday for the next week, so we think that will bring more
steelhead into the river. Some are being caught but nothing to write home about. Swinging,
nymphing and egg flies are working but nymphs seem to be best.
12/05/16 The river is flowing a little high but otherwise, in good shape. A lot more steelhead are
coming into the lower river and anglers are catching them in good numbers. Swinging and
steelhead nymphs fished under indicators are working. Trout are being caught best using
cream and red midges, fished in tandem. Winter stoneflies are starting to hatch.
12/12/16 The water levels are still in good shape and there are a lot more steelhead in the
river. They are being caught in good numbers by those willing to put up with the snow. Swinging
and nymphing is working. The water is in the mid to high thirties in the lower river but colder in
the middle and upper river. Trout fishing will be very tough due to almost freezing water temps.
12/19/16 This past week was really a cold one. There is a lot of ice along the banks and slush
ice in the water in the middle and upper sections of the river. The lower river has plenty of
steelhead but they are not easy to catch. Steelhead nymphs like our Giant black stonefly and
Cinnamon Caddis larva are picking up some. Fish them near the bottom on strike indicators.
12/26/16 There were a few steelhead caught this past week in spite of continued cold weather
and water. The water temperature ranges from 33 to 35. There is slush ice in much of the
water. The fish are almost lethargic. Steelhead nymphs fished near the bottom in the deeper
runs and pools may pick up one for those willing to brave the cold weather and water.
01/02/17 We received reports that a few more steelhead were caught in spite of 34 to 35
degree water at the highest. They are using steelhead nymphs like oru Giant Black stonefly
and Cinnamon Sedge larva. keep the fly as near the bottom as possible and in the slower
water. They fish won't hold in current rather holes in the bottom out of the current.
01/09/17 The water is very cold. Most all of the river except the lower section has a lot of ice.
The lower section is just barely above freezing. Steelhead are present but tough to catch due
to the cold water. It is going to be warmer this coming week, but still with snow every day. The
water temperature should come up some in the lower river. Steelhead nymphs are you best
choice of flies at this time.
01/16/17 The lower section of the river is warmer and there's not that much ice in the water.
The levels are dropping and conditions should be much better this coming week. The upper
river is also a little warmer with not as much ice. The water temperature is as much as 36
degrees in places and Midge fishing should be good. Winter Stoneflies are hatching as well.
01/23/17 The lower river is turning out some steelhead for our customers. They are swinging
flies, nymphing and fishing eggs. There is more rain and snow expected everyday this coming
week. The lower, upper river is warm enough to catch trout on streamers like our Brown sculpin
and using midges. Fish Cream or Red midge larva and pupa in tandem. The upper fly should
be the pupa and it should be about a 12 to 16 inches above the larva.
01/30/17 So much for the nice, warm weather. The high temperature for this coming week won't
exceed the freezing level. The upper river is just too cold to fish. There is a lot of snow on the
banks and ice in the water. The lower river is still in good condition but getting colder fast. A
good number of steelhead were caught this past weekend. Steelhead nymphs and eggs both
worked good and a few were caught swinging.
02/06/17 The upper river is okay but cold, of course. The average temperature is just barely
above freezing with lots of slush ice in the water. You can catch trout on midges if you are
brave enough. Midge clusters have been reported. The upper part of the lower river continues
to turn out a few steelhead, but the water is very cold as well. Fish steelhead nymphs like our
Giant Black stonefly steelhead nymph, or Green sedge larva steelhead fly.
02/13/17 Our customers are catching good numbers of darker steelhead. They are fishing the
upper sections near Thornapple . The lower river from Newaygo down stream has more fresh
run steelhead and a few are being taken there. There were no reports from anyone fishing for
trout, but midges, creams or blood midges, or reds, should catch them. Rig the larva and pupa
02/20/17 The warmer weather and water has a lot of new silver steelhead moving into the river
and being caught. Swinging and nymphing methods are working. Customers are reporting
steelhead fishing is red hot. The upper river is getting a little warmer but the melting snow and
ice is keeping parts of it cold and dirty. Midges should work in areas of clear water.
02/27/17 Things have slowed down some, due to the high water levels. If is difficult to predict
the levels for the coming week because it is some snow and some rain and up to the dam in the
lower river. You will just have to watch the levels. Steelhead fishing has been great and should
continue when the stream levels cooperate.
03/06/17 High water levels continue to hamper the fishing. It is too high to wade anywhere, in
the tailwater for steelhead and in the upper river for trout. The good news is, the water is a little
warmer and there is less ice. The fish in the lower river are through spawning and dropping
back into the lake. Look for some new spring run steelheead soon. The water should continue
to fall after tomorrow.
03/13/17 The middle and upper river are at good stream levels and the water much clearer but
there is still a lot of ice in the water. Midges, Creams and Reds or blood midges, are hatching.
Fish the larva and pupa imitations rigged in tandem. The lower river also has some ice and the
cold water is making the steelhead a little sluggish again. We are recommend fishing steelhead
nymphs like the Green sedge lava and Giant Black Stonefly nymphs.
03/20/17 The river is in much better shape but the upper sections are still cold. The water is
about 40 degrees and needs to come up a few degrees more. We think that will happen this
week. Steelhead fishing in the lower river has been very good. Our customers reported
catching some nice fish this past week. Egg flies and steelhead nymphs fished under a strike
indicator is working good.
03/27/17 The upper river is clearing up and getting into good shape. We didn't receive any
reports from anyone fishing the upper part but you should be able to catch trout on Streamers
and Midges. Fish the Creams and Red midges with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem. The
lower river is turning out steelhead in all sections. There are few fresh fish coming in and a lot
of drop backs headed back to the lake.
04/03/17 The river is getting into very good shape in all sections. The stream levels are near
normal in all sections and the water much warmer. It won't be long before the spring hatches
are going. Steelhead fishing in the lower river has been good. The warmer water helped a lot.
You can catch trout now on midges, so you really don't have to wait on anything. Sculpin
streamers should also work good.
04/10/17 The stream levels are just a little above normal levels but there is rain in the forecast
everyday this coming week. The water is getting warmer each week and it won't be long before
Spring hatches will begin. Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Little Brown stoneflies, Little Black Caddis
and Hendricksons/Red quills will be some of them. The water temperature needs to be over 50
degrees for three or four days.
04/17/17 The water is getting in much better shape. It is mostly clear to lightly stained and still
running a little high. It is too high to wade safely right now, but fine for boats. You could fish
midges and streamers now and catch trout. The water is near the magic 50 degree mark and
soon several new hatches of stoneflies, mayflies and caddisflies will begin.
04/24/17 The stream levels are down and in much better shape. The water is warmer and
clearer and a few of the Spring hatches are taking place in the warmest part of the river.
Everything should start on our fly list in the report within a week or so. As of now, the best
sections would be the middle and lower freestone sections of the river for trout. There are still
plenty of steelhead dropbacks.
05/01/17 The river is getting inot good shape in all sections. The stream levels are down to
normal levels and can be waded in most places. The water is warmer and several hatches are
starting to take place. We received one good fishing report from a customer from yesterday.
Quill Gordons and Blue quills are hatching good but there are others.
05/08/17 Steelhead, both dropbacks and fresh fish, are being caught in the lower river. The
upper and middle rivers are running high but falling fast. It should be down low enough to wade
with caution in a day or two. There isn't any rain forecast until this weekend. Thanks to the
colder weather, the hatches have slowed down but should pick back up soon.
05/15/17 The river has really gotten into good shape during the past few days. The stream
levels are running normal and wading possible in most places. There are several hatches
taking place. The water is mostly clear in all sections. The lower river is still producing some
fresh run steelhead and some dropbacks. Conditions are good.
05/22/17 The stream levels are down in all sections of the river, and the water mostly clear.
There are a lot of insects hatching and our customers are catching a lot of trout. You can fish
about any section of the river. Wading is easy and safe in many sections. Conditions are as
good for trout right now as they can get at this time of the season.
06/29/17 We received two good reports from customers fishing the river this past week.
Conditions look good for the coming week. The stream levels are good in all sections of the
river and the water is clear. There are a lot of hatches taking place and more soon to start.
Wading is safe and easy in much of the river. Conditions are about as good as they can get.
07/05/17 The stream levels are good in all sections of the river and trout are being caught in
good numbers. There are a lot of hatches going on. Many are catching trout on the surface on
dry flies as well as streamers and nymphs. The weather report looks good for the coming week
and conditions should remain good.
07/12/17 Conditions are about as good as they get for trout at this time. The stream levels are
in good shape with wading easy and safe most places. The big drakes have started to hatch
along with lots of other aquatic insects. There is some rain in the forecast for the coming week,
but hopefully just enough to keep the stream levels up.