We’ve had a couple cold mornings over the past two weeks, several below freezing, and in addition to the pumpkin, my bird bath has been frozen over. But the sun has been making some spectacular appearances and shining strong but low through clear blue skies. And we’re at about peak fall color right now with some really vibrant oranges and reds this year. We don’t expect these vibrant colors to last long, so get up here now if you want to see them and if you want to get in on a nice mixed bag of salmon and steelhead fishing.
More and more king salmon are moving up on the gravels to spawn in both the Manistee and Pere Marquette Rivers. There are still great numbers of fish staging in the holes on the Manistee as well, but numbers on the Pere Marquette are on the low side.
We’ve been fishing the Manistee up and down from Bear Creek and up from the mouth mostly. There were gobs of fresh fish still moving in from the lake on Sunday. Most of the good holes in the middle river are absolutely stuffed, particularly those below tributaries. While we have picked up a few bright fish, most are pretty dark. There are spawning salmon from Tippy dam on down through all the gravel bars into the lower river and folks fishing egg patterns behind the salmon are doing quite well on steelhead. We have yet to target them specifically, but that will be changing soon as the Thunderstick/crank bait bite starts to slow down.
We expect the Thunderstick bite to hold on for another week or so, but it’s been tougher and tougher to pick up fish in the late morning and afternoon. It has been important to be on the water well before first light casting cranks in good water. Not only does this help you secure a good hole, but the fish are much more aggressive in the dark and as the first light just starts to get on the water. We’ve been meeting clients at 5am and 5:30am. We know It’s tough to get going that early, but it really pays off.
I’ve been running some trips down on the Pere Marquette and things are somewhat disappointing there, particularly on crowded days. There are good numbers of fish around, but mostly in only the grade-A spots of the fly water and middle river. The river is running very low again and fishing pressure was high last week, but pressure should start to drop off now that hunting seasons are getting under way. Fluorocarbon leaders and tippet has been a must in the low, clear water whether fishing holes or spawning salmon on the gravels. Also, a stealthy approach has been important as the fish are quite spooky. There are also decent numbers of steelhead showing up on the Pere Marquette in addition to a couple really nice lake run browns taken here and there.
Let’s hope the salmon run on the Pere Marquette is just late and not small this year.
We’re coming into our favorite time of year: less fishing pressure, fresh chrome steelhead, and the crisp days of autumn. We still have some great days open for October and November steelhead and some great lodging packages at Crystal Mountain, by far the best value fishing and lodging packages in Michigan. Drop us a line if you have any questions or want to book a trip: matt AT wolfeoutfitters DOT com