Grand Traverse Bay Fishing Report
June 9, 2020
Update to the story
The US Forest Service has decided to not implement the ban in 2019 but instead has agreed to let local authorities address the problem in 2019. They have reserved the right to implement it in 2020. It seems obvious that they have bowed to pressure from the merchants.
Alcohol is no longer permitted on parts of three of our favorite rivers in Northern Michigan. All are within the Huron-Manistee Forest. This new policy affects the National Wild and Scenic River sections of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine rivers.
The Huron-Manistee National Forests announced the decision recently.
“This closure order is intended to address persistent public safety issues and protect natural resources on rivers of outstanding recreational value,” said Huron-Manistee National Forests Supervisor Leslie Auriemmo.
“Our goal is to create a safer, more sustainable, and more enjoyable experience for the thousands of visitors who recreate on our National Wild and Scenic Rivers each year.”
In Norther Michigan the AuSable National Wild and Scenic River begins below Mio Pond and extends to the upper end of Alcona Pond. It makes up 23 miles of the 138-mile waterway that runs through Northern Michigan and enters Lake Huron.
The Manistee and Pine National Wild and Scenic Rivers are each 26 miles with the Manistee section running from Tippy Dam to the M-55 Bridge.
This order will remain in effect throughout the summer recreation season, which runs from May 24 to September 2.
Specifically, it will apply on and within 200 feet of the:
· AuSable River between Mio Dam Pond and 4001 Canoe Landing
· Manistee River between Tippy Dam and the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ administrative boundary (map)
· Pine River between Elm Flats and Low Bridge.
Private lands, developed campgrounds, and designated campsites within those river corridors will not be affected. Violation of the order is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for up to five years.
This will not effect the fishing, should only make the weekend experience even greater with some of the silliness now being eliminated. While we all enjoy a few cold ones from time to time, please keep this in mind this summer and save yourself a hefty fine.
Transition to Fall Fishing
August is the time that we transition to fall fishing. Towards the end of August, we start to wean ourselves off terrestrials, mousing and smallmouth and begin to think migratory fish, salmon, steelhead, and muskie. Between now and then our focus remains on resident trout and smallmouth bass.
August and September is prime time for the Pine River, Lower Michigan’s most unique river. Cold, fast and the lower peninsula’s most prolific rainbow trout fishery, the Pine River is a blast to fish. In summer the Pine fishes very well with foam hopper creations. As the water begins to cool in early fall the streamer bite can explode. Fishing smaller offerings that are heavily weighted in natural colors. If you streamer junkies are looking for one more streamer excursion before switching to migratory fish, the Pine River should be in your sights. We don’t have a lot of days available in August and September but check with Cherie to see what’s available.
Streamers for Kings
By the end of August King Salmon are in our rivers in good numbers. This is streamer time for these fresh brutes. While rarely a numbers game, the pull from a fresh king slamming your tight line offering is something you’ll never forget. Throwing streamers in low light then switching to smallmouth is a fun day on the water. If you want to give this a try make sure to have plenty of Flash Monkey’s tied up.
As we move into September Kings and Muskie take center stage. Steve and Tim generally have available days for king salmon fishing below Tippy Dam. This is a great venue for beginning anglers and kids. Lots of action sight fishing for big fish.
Garden River Salmon
If it’s salmon you are looking for the Garden River in Sault St Marie, Canada, is a special place. This is private water owned by the Garden River First Nation. I’m there usually there from around September 10th to the end of
the month. The earlier dates are perfect for children and beginners as most of the fish will be pink salmon. There will 100’s of them and they are fun to catch. We offer a two-day special, one adult and one child for $1000. The later dates are when in addition to kings, we start to hunt cohos and steelhead. These trips are three days and run $995
If muskie fishing intrigues you Jon Ray and Ed McCoy have a September venue that they fish every year. The area is in Michigan but shall remain unnamed unless you have a serious interest in capturing one of these elusive, apex predators! Contact us about open dates and more information.
Manistee River Fall Steelhead
Finally, a quick reminder, fall steelhead is the highest demand time of year at Hawkins Outfitters. Jon, Ed, Jeff and I might have a few days available, but not many. Our newest team members, Steve and Tim have days available. If interested give us a call to check availability and then get some days in the calendar.
Years ago, Kirk Deeter stated in Field and Stream Magazine that Michigan is the best state in the union to fly fish mainly due to the great fly fishing for a huge diversity of species. The transition to fall fishing is the epitome of that. Trout, smallmouth, muskie, salmon, and steelhead. So many fish, so little time!
Give Cherie a call to book any of this at 231-228-7135
The Pine River, near Cadillac, Michigan is a tributary of the Manisttee River. It joins the Manistee in Tippy Pond above Tippy dam. The rive is 53.5 miles long. Dominated by groundwater inflows, it is the coldest, fastest river in Lower Michigan. This groundwater keeps the Pine River temperatures always 69 degrees or colder.
The Pine River, like most northern Michigan Rivers, has been abused and neglected. The Pine River was dammed by an earthen dam in 1918. The dam was quickly rendered useless by the large sand load that built up behind it. Prior to the dam the river was used, to it’s great detriment, to move saw logs down stream. It’s banks were torn up creating huge erosion problems.6px;”>
The dam remained until 1997 when it was slowly removed as part of a negotiation for the relicensing of Tippy Dam by The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Dam removal was completed in 2003. Since removal of the dam the stream channel is forming again, gravel substrate is increasing in quantity and size, and fish populations are spreading in the river. Fish populations, especially brown and rainbow trout have increased by more than 250%. Read more
Red Bridge on the Manistee River will be closed this summer!
The bridge on Coates Highway crossing the Manistee is slated for replacement this coming summer. Beginning on or about April 2nd and through August the road will be completely closed while they replace the approximately 200 foot long bridge. The project is slated for completion at the end of September, 2019.
Smallmouth Bass and Trout Fishing
The water above and below the bridge is one of our favorite big smallmouth destinations in July and August. Where the bridge crosses the river is the back waters of Tippy Pond. This area has great smallmouth bass water. It’s also the take out spot for the trout water above the bridge coming down from Hodenpyl Dam near Mesick. In addition to great fishing water the river from Hodenpyl to Red Bridge is a very popular canoe and kayak destination. Along with amazing hiking along the North Country Trail.
Manistee County Road Commissioner, Mark Shodden has stated that the boat ramp will stay open during the entire construction process. He has requested that all river users be cautious when on the water near the bridge. The good news is that we will still be able to fish that water though detours will be required to get to it.
Capt. Chuck Hawkins
Atlantic Salmon in the AuSable River
Atlantic Salmon Fishing in the AuSable River
Atlantic salmon are one of the world’s most sought after and prized gamefish. Fly fishing for salmon is now a fantastic and exciting late summer/early fall angling option for Hawkins Outfitters on the Lower AuSable River. Let us help you pursue these unique and aggressive (close relative to brown trout) fish while providing another high quality angling experience on new water. If you have ever wanted to see an Atlantic Salmon chase down and crush your streamer, or swing through a nice run and have your line come tight with the thrash of a nice fish, now you can.
Located at the terminal end of the fabled AuSable River, there lies a much different AuSable than the fabled Holy Water. This section of river is just outside of the towns Oscoda and AuSable. It is fishable from Foote Dam to the mouth at Lake Huron. Foote dam was constructed in 1918 and bears the name of Consumers founder, William A. Foote. It stops all migrating species. This section of the AuSable is stunningly beautiful. It boasts large scenic overlooks, slow meandering deep outside bends and nice gravels runs. Fly anglers dream about water like this. This area along the lower river also provides primitive campgrounds, hiking trails and some walk in/wading access. Read more
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has received a request to permit the placement of an anchoring system of a temporary resistance board weir (RBW) on National Forest System lands in the Manistee River. The seasonal weir is intended to aid in the Adult Lake Sturgeon Monitoring Project being conducted by the Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians (applicant). The proposed project site is located on the Manistee Wild and Scenic River approximately one river kilometer downstream from the Rainbow Bend Access Site.
Read more by clicking this link – Resistance_Board_Weir_Scoping_Letter_Final
Please submit your written or hand-delivered comments to District Ranger Jim A. Thompson, USDA Forest Service, Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District, 412 Red Apple Road, Manistee, MI 49660, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or faxed to (231) 723-8642, or emailed to email@example.com (must be readable by Microsoft Office 2007 or Adobe Acrobat 6.0 formats). It would be most helpful if comments were received prior to January 20, 2017, although comments will be accepted at any time.
Please include the following:
- 1) name, address, telephone number, organization represented and title;
- 2) title of the project on which the comments are being submitted;
- 3) specific facts and supporting reasons regarding your comments.
In addition, an open house will be held on December 20th from 3:00 to 7:00 pm at the Days Inn Conference Room in Manistee, MI. Representatives from the applicant and the USFS will be available to discuss the project.
Comments received in response to the project will become a matter of public record. If you have questions or need additional information regarding the project, please contact Mark A. Herberger at (231) 723-2211, ext. 3109, or write to USDA Forest Service, Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District, 412 Red Apple Road, Manistee, MI 49660. Copies of the final decision will be mailed to people who have submitted comments on this proposal and to anyone who requests a copy of these documents.
- Couple New Manistee River Fishing reports have been posted the past couple days. Jon Ray and Ed McCoy have been out chasing winter steelhead. The Manistee River is fishing well, with a good mixture of chrome hens and winter double stripped bucks.
- New February Newsletter – new fly pattern for matching the salmon parr hatch this is about to occur. This little guy matches the hatch, you don’t need to always throw big to catch nice trout.
Check out the New Fishing Report Here. Water is dropping and clearing while some new fish have entered the system. The 10 day forecast is still looking to be unseasonably warm don’t miss out on the extended swing season!
Also if your looking for a few Holiday Gift Ideas, Mangled Fly has put together a Holiday Wish List. Enjoy the Holidays and Happy Shopping. Shop Local whenever possible!