The Manistee River is in full winter fishing mode. We received a nice coat of snow last week and the river corridor is looking beautiful! Water temps have stabilized over the past few weeks and are sticking around 37 degrees. Over the past several weeks we have had a few nice bumps in water levels which seemed to have pushed a few new fish into the system. Water levels have dropped since our last water level bump. Visibility remains great and water coloration is “mana-green.” Without significant rain in the forecast, water levels may drop and clarity will likely increase. However, there seems to be a fair number of fall holdover fish and most of them have moved into traditional winter water. This time of year revolves around “right place, right time mentality” when fishing. Good fishing opportunities exist, but picking the right day is key. We would love to show you a gorgeous winter day on the river and chase some winter steel!
Winter Steelhead Fishing
As the river conditions maintain winter patterns, fishing opportunities are still very present. This week we had to work hard to find players and cover serious ground. Depth and speed were crucial for locating willing participants. Best flies were, you guessed it, egg patterns. Our colors ranged from bright orange to chartreuse and pink. Have confidence in your fly choice, some days it’s worth running a tandem rig for prospecting. Running a hex nymph or stonefly nymph with a “hot spot” can be worthwhile to show them something different, especially in clearer water.
Winter Spey Fishing
Swinging in the winter takes on an additional relaxation component. It becomes an even slower paced approach to the “cast, swing, step” program. You can really take in the beautiful surroundings as your fly is hunting subsurface. It’s more along the line of cast, swing, wait, wait, wait, wait some more, small step. Our hang downs increase, water type selection is altered, flies are heavily weighted and sometimes downsized. Getting steelhead to go on the swing is always a special experience however getting one during the winter really becomes an experience to savor. We love swinging and we are always happy to introduce anglers to this technique. For die hard spey anglers, here is your chance to sneak one more spey trip in before the new year!
Winter Steelhead Special
We are now offering our winter steelhead special – one half day chasing steelhead for $325 in addition to our full day trips. We head out during the warmest part of the day, bring a thermos of coffee and start the chase! Both dead drifting and swinging can produce is these conditions.
BOOKING A GUIDE TRIP
Give Cherie a call 231-228-7135 for booking information on Guide Trips and to get a streamer or salmon trip in the books. The USED GEAR page has some new gear added, check it out. Also follow us on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter for additional photos, videos, and links to more fishing related articles