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Rainbow Trout Fishing in Michigan – Fly Fishing Michigan Trout

Brown Trout Michigan FishingRainbow Trout in Michigan

Steelhead are a member of the Salmon Family and are very beautiful fish.  Just like their cousins, Steelhead can grow very large in size.  A thirty inch rain
bow or above is common, but they can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh in as Steelhead are native to North America, but they have become so popular that and well known for their amazing fighting that other countries have introduced them to their waters.  If you have ever had a Steelhead on, you will know doubt know why they have become such an obsession amongst fisherman.   Besides being outstanding fighters, rainbow trout are also one of the best tasting trout you will ever taste.   Once you taste a rainbow trout that has been baked, grilled or deep fried, you will know will be hooked on the flavor.much as 27 pounds.   Granted that size is rare, but large numbers of Steelhead of all sizes are being caught on the Muskegon River, near Newaygo Michigan.   If you want to catch large Steelhead then you should definitely consider trying your luck on the Grand, Muskegon, Pere Marquette, or Big Manistee Rivers.  They are often called Steelhead because of their intense chrome like colors.   A SteelheaSteelhead Fishing in Michigan.d typically has a faint pi
nt streak down its body, a white streak down their belly, and black spots on their backs and fins.   Steelhead is a great name for this amazing fish as they truly are as pretty as a rainbow itself.

Steelhead eat insects, eggs, other small fish.   It is always a challenge to know what a Steelhead will hit on any particular day.  This is exactly why your odds of catching a huge Steelhead go up significantly if you are willing to hire a guide.  Our guides at Betts Guide Service make careful observations of insect hatches and other activities on the Muskegon, Grand, Pere Marquette, Big Manistee, and the Ausable Rivers.  Those observations of what is working on any given day, week, or month add up to you being able to catch more Steelhead!   If Salmon are in the river, rainbow trout love to eat salmon eggs.  We have perfected the art of painting beads our own custom beads that look almost identical to real salmon eggs.  It has taken us years of testing different colors to know what works best.  As a result, our clients catch more large Steelhead on the Muskegon River and other rivers in Michigan day after day.

People often ask us is it really worth the cost of hiring a guide to fish a river like the Muskegon just to catch some Steelhead?   Without a doubt the answer to that question is yes.  Here are just a few reasons why it is more affordable than you might think to hire a guide for the day.  First, you do not have to spend thousands of dollars buying fly rods or spinning gear that is suited to land a world class trophy rainbow trout.  We provide you with all the equipment, a very stable jet boat, and the lures necessary to catch monster Steelhead.  We know the runs in the river that hold the largest fish.   You gain the advantage of our years of experience fishing a particular river.   Most people we take on these exciting float trips are amazed at how many 5 to 20 pound rainbow trout we help them catch.  Our clients continually express their appreciation at just how easy we made it for them to catch the trophy sized Steelhead.   When you consider the cost of gas and hotel accommodations and the danger associated with wading a fast moving river like the Muskegon, the safety of being in an 18 foot wide Jet boat alone, is worth the cost of the trip.  While we do not promise you will catch a specific amount of fish, it is not uncommon to catch your limit of big Steelhead on any given day.  We regularly see 7 to 15 nice Steelhead being landed on the Mighty Muskegon River near the town of Newaygo.Steelhead Fly Fishing in west Michigan near Grand Rapids, MI.

If you live in Grand Rapids or are visiting the area, you really should consider taking a float trip down the Grand River or Muskegon to catch Steelhead.   When you look back on a great day of catching rainbow you will know doubt realize that price of hiring a guide was worth every penny.  Holding one of these amazing Steelhead in your hands and feeling the amazing battle they provide is going to provide you with an adventure that keep fisherman up nights dreaming of their next trip.   Of all the fish that we catch, Steelhead are truly the best fighters of them all.   A rainbow trout when hooked will often jump out of the water and thrash about and put on the most amazing show of strength and determination you will ever encounter.  What better way of spending a day out in the beauty of nature can you dream up?   So, why wait? Call Betts Guide Service today and schedule a fishing trip. Fly Fishing Steelhead during the Spring.

We make scheduling a fishing trip easy.  For you convenience you can book your trip on-line.  Simply click this link and pick the day you want to go fishing.  Book your rainbow trout fishing trip securely using a credit card or PayPal.  We do not store your credit card information.  PayPal has invested millions of dollars to protect your information and that is why we use them exclusively.   You can also mail in a check to hold a date on our schedule.  For more information about the booking process visit our scheduling page.

Steelhead Fishing:

If you were to ask any serious serious fisherman to recall one of their best fishing memories, it would no doubt be of the time they had hooked a great rainbow trout, often referred to as a Steelhead.  Here is one such great memory as described by author Mike Bleech in his article entitled: Great Lakes Steelhead Fishing – There’s No Better Time Than December.

“During a fight with a big steelhead time becomes irrelevant. I do not know how long this one lasted. The fish made only one long, low jump in the midst of its first run. Had it jumped more, certainly the fight would not have lasted Muskegon River Steelhead Fishing. so long. What that jump did accomplish however was reveal the steelhead’s size which made every moment of the struggle more stimulating.

I thought the fight was nearing the end when I started to work the fish toward me. Just as I caught a glimpse of it the water exploded as the huge fish swung its broad tail. The fight was nowhere near its conclusion.

During one of its line-sizzling runs my reel, an English-made Hardy reel, which was a gift several years earlier, just died. I think it got so hot that the spool warped. From that point I had to manage the fish by stripping line. And it seemed like I was going to win when the hook came out on a tight line. The battle had lasted too long.

My immediate reaction was to slump my shoulders in grief. That lasted only briefly. Visions of the magnificent steelhead were making it a great memory less than a minute after the encounter ended. An image of a long, silver fish with a wide iridescent stripe of pink and purple was already burned deep into my mind. It had given me everything I could ever hope for a steelhead to give. Had I worked it into shallow water there was no one around to take a photo. I had no tripod to set up a timed photo, and I would not have taken the chance of killing the fish to do it anyway.”  Read the full article

Muskegon River Steelhead Reports

image Steelhead fishing has heated up this morning. Don displays a gorgeous chromer from the lower river. Floats and spawn has been the ticket.
Steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River has been greatly approved over the last few weeks. This year class of fishing has been amazingly large with many steelhead over 15lbs. It’s great to see such beautiful and healthy steelhead!

More steelhead today on the Muskegon River. Floats and spawn was the flavor of the day. Fishing behind spawning salmon locations seemed to work the best.
My man Justin with his first Michigan Fall Steelhead. This kid has float fishing dialed in!

Steelhead fishing has been excellent on the Muskegon River. Floats and spawn has been fishing well. Salmon are beginning to thin out making for great trout fishing!!


Andrew with a giant from today!!  Lots of steelhead in the river.  Fishing was very good today!   


Muskegon River Fall Steelhead – Great Lakes Fall Steelhead Action

DSC_0290.jpgAs the nights begin to get cold, and the leaves start to fall, the prince of fish enters the river.  Fall Steelhead is the focus of our adventures!  These noble fish enter Michigan rivers during the later fall months of October, November, and December.  Fall steelhead are top notch fighters and readily take well presented flies or a drifted spawn sack.
Spring-Steelhead-Muskegon-RiverThese great leapers prefer a big faster water than Chinook salmon but are often times found feeding behind spawning female salmon.  Glo -bugs or a spawn sack under a float usually does the trick.  Once hooked, Steelhead are among some of the most aggressive fighters there is!    They jump, jump, and jump some more!   They offer anglers some great fishing opportunities during the fall and winter months.      The best tackle for these great fish are light spinning tackle spooled with 8lb main line, and a 6lb fluorocarbon leader.  Steelhead are line shy so stealth is the key.  Best fly patterns are nuke eggs, glo bugs,  or clown eggs during the fall months.

Early Season King Salmon on the Manistee and Pere Marquette Rivers

Early Season King Salmon on the Manistee RiverEarly Season King Salmon: Best Location: Little Manistee River near Stronach. Lower Pere Marquette River, Manistee River near Insta-Launch, White River Near Whitehall.Tackle: Med-Heavy Bait casting or Spinning Gear. 30lb PowerPro Braided line, Deep Junior Thunder sticks – Fire tiger. Little Cleo casting spoons. Style: Cast Thunder sticks, shad raps, or Cleo spoons across current allowing lure to move along freely in a slow and steady retrieve.

Skamania Steelhead on the Muskegon and Manistee Rivers

Skamania-Steelhead-Muskegon-RiverSkamania Steelhead. Best Location, Big Manistee River below the Tippy Dam. Available both above and below the coffer dam at Tippy Dam. Tackle: 10′ med. action Spinning rods. 20 lb power Powerpro braid. Style: Slip style drift rig with 8 lb flourocarbon leader. Offering/ bait: Softshell crayfish, chartreuse wobble-glo, blue /silver Cleo spoons, large egg suckle leach fly patterns.Note: Skamania steelhead are an aggressive strain of steelhead that love live bait offerings, both crayfish and night crawlers.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing on the Muskegon River

Alaska-jeff2Smallmouth Bass are related to sunfish species and are extremely active during hot weather, especially during late summer. Smallmouth are an excellent choice for young people or anglers that would just like to have a blast fishing! Tackle: 6 weight fly rod with topwater flies and streamers, light to Medium Baitcasting or spinning reels with 20lb PowerPro braid, or 8 -10lb monofiliment line. Smallies love topwater! Popper flies, buzzbaits, spinners and soft plastics are all great choices for Smallmouth! If you find them, usually they will bite. 

Style: There are hundreds of water to fish Smallmouth, popping surface lures creates heart stopping, explosive strikes!! Sometimes are more subtle aproach is needed such as jigging soft plastics along the bottom or casting crank baits to cover water.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing: is going very well in this great summer weather. Good numbers of smallies are feeding heavily on crayfish and small baitfish minnows. The higher water level is making for some great smallmouth fishing as well. The best fishing with streamers for smallies is usually once the sun gets over the trees throughout the mid-day into the evenings. Afternoons have been the best Fishing for both trout and smallmouth.

July-August: Smallmouth Bass fishing will be been fantastic! The hot and humid weather has the smallies fired up, feeding heavily on crayfish and streamer patterns. Smallie fishing could be the best in the midsections of the Muskegon River, floating Pine to Thornapple has been very productive.

Fly Fishing: Sink-tip fly lines and brightly colored streamers are fishing well. Casting crayfish flies patterns near the banks or any logs and structure has also been producing many nice smallies. Clouser minnows, Smallmouth candy, and Circus Peanuts have produced the most fish for me. Mojo flies offer a great selection of summertime smallmouth bass patterns for fly fishing the Muskegon River.

Smallmouth Bass: Best Location: Any multitude of West Michigan lakes or rivers, some of the best being the Thornapple River, Flatt River, Grand River, Muskegon, Manistee, and Ausable River.

Muskegon River Daily Fishing Reports

Muskegon River Hatches for Trout Fly Fishing

Big-Brown-Trout-Muskegon-RiverFor those of you interested in trophy brown trout fishing, we are extremely excited about the upcoming Gray Drake spinner fall! If you look back through the fishing report, you’ll see we have landed some giant resident brown trout throughout the winter and early spring. All of these big second year trout will be in the shallows feeding on Gray Drake mayflies. Dry fly fishing the Gray Drake spinners  is an angler’s best opportunity by far, to land a trophy brown trout. Sight fishing to these big browns is an adrenaline rush! You’re hunting trophy browns!

Rainbow-Trout-Muskegon-RiverMay & June are the the time for Dry fly fishing with the Gray Drake Spinners. (Gray Drakes are a mid-sized may fly with smoke clear wings, a thin variegated body, and a white ring around the eyes.) Most spinner falls occur just be for dark.

Drakes also always spinner fall on a riffle or fast current. Muskegon’s most overlooked hatch, typically found in the middle to lower sections of the river. Thornapple – Henning Park.

Dry fly trout fishing the Grey Drake  in late May. Without question, my favorite time of the year for trophy brown trout on the Muskegon River! Sight fishing giant pig browns feeding in the evenings on the surface. It’s one of the only times of the year that browns are less wary during daylight hours. These trout gorge on Gray Drakes and nymphs preparing to emerge.

Muskegon River Hatches: March Browns, Caddis, Quill Gordons, Black quills, and Sulphers. Gray Drakes coming soon! We still have good numbers of steelhead in the system on shallow gravel redds. Key locations are holding fish. Chinook Salmon fry are everywhere against the banks. Resident Trout are feeding on fry and parr big time – Making for some fantastic Streamer fishing during the next several weeks.

Coming up in late May, early June, we have the Gray Drake spinner fall offering some of the best dry fly fishing there is in the mid west! 

Brown-Trout-Sucker-SpawnSucker spawn is for kids! It’s great opportunity to introduce your son or daughter into fly fishing. Trout fishing during the sucker’s spawn has constant fish landing action with the small 8″ – 12″ trout. They’re also sure to hook into a couple big trout! They’re great for kids to learn the fundamentals of fly fishing and have a great time on the water. This technique is very easy to learn. Half days are also perfect for this technique.

Muskegon River Trout Fishing Report 

Spring Steelhead on the Muskegon River

Spring-Steelhead-Muskegon-RiverAs the days get longer and old man winter loses his grip, our thoughts drift towards Spring Steelhead on the Muskegon River.  These treasured fish ascend west Michigan rivers in great numbers during March and April.  With enthusiasm, anglers take to the rivers and streams in search of these silver leapers!

The best techniques for spring steelhead seem  to be fishing spawn or jigs tipped with waxworms, drifted under a float. Strikes are subtle but electric once hooked!  Steelhead make dashing runs with powerful jumps.  Wading anglers must chase these fish on foot in order to land them.

Fly Fisherman also have great success with steelhead by drifting small egg patterns and nymphs near nesting or spawning steelhead.  Often times,  large dominate male   attack flies to chase them away for females.  Larch March and April, anglers may see lightened areas of gravel with fish spawning on top of rock shoals, these areas are called Redds, or spawning gravel.  These areas are a hot spot for fish activity.   Drift flies like stone flies or hex nymphs are very effective for these spawning steelhead.   Flies may be purchased at       Dark flies with brightly colored egg patterns seem to work best.

Early-Spring-Steelhead-Muskegon-RiverAnother favorite technique is to cast spinners along the shoreline for moving steelhead.  These fish often follow the lures and make for heart pounding strikes!      Often times, anglers may hire a fishing guide to help them learn the skills needed to land many steelhead.  Fishing guides have all of the proper gear and tackle, making for a fun day on the water.  The Muskegon River has many fishing guides, one of the best is Chad Betts.  He has guided for many years, catching many Steelhead.    Michigan Fly Fishing

Now is a great time of year to try something new and different,  get outside and do some steelhead fishing on a river near you!

Muskegon River Daily Fishing Reports 

Late-Winter and Early-Spring Steelhead Fishing on the Muskegon River

Early-Spring-Steelhead-Muskegon-RiverIn the up coming weeks, we should start seeing a fair amount of brighter, chrome spring fish. I guided down low, Bridgeton down, last week and there were good numbers of chromers to be had. I know there are good numbers of fish in the lower section of the Muskegon River. Water levels were up this morning, also with warmer temps. Day light is getting longer, Spring Steelhead fishing should start in earnest in the next week or so. There also seems to be a fair number of stone fly nymphs. The activity of Michigan Winter Stone flies usually my cue to start fishing hard down lower for bright chromers closer to Muskegon Lake.

Ice-Man-Rainbow-FryMuskegon River Steelhead and Salmon fry – During the late winter months, early Spring, Chinook salmon fry and lake run brown trout fry begin to hatch out of the gravel into the “Fry” or “Alevin” stage.  Red Horse Suckers also produce many fry and tiny minnows.  Large lake -Run Brown Trout feed on them heavily throughout the winter months and early Spring.

Early-Spring-Steelhead-Muskegon-River-2These young fish are the perfect food source for larger steelhead and trout during this time of year. Egg patterns with a pronounced “blood dot” or bright red dot mimic the fry at this time. Also patterns such as the “Ice Man Minnow” or other fry or parr patterns also work well. Steelhead and trout during winter are now relying less on salmon eggs and focusing more on case caddis, stone flies, scuds, sowbugs, other macro invertebrates. Stone flies and fry patterns begin to really work well at this time of year when temperatures are cold and food is limited.

Muskegon River Daily Fishing Reports 

Fall and Winter Steelhead Fishing on the Muskegon River

Winter-Steelhead-Muskegon-RiverStep on board for one of the best Fall / Winter Steelhead runs in over a decade! If you ever wanted to learn to steelhead fish, now is the time! Steelhead fishing has been very good over the past week making this December one of the best migrations in over a decade. Both the numbers of steelhead and the average size have been larger that years past. This trend should offer tremendous fishing opportunities through December and the winter months. The long-range weather looks to have our run of above normal temperatures ending and seasonal conditions becoming the norm. Steelhead fishing forecast looks excellent!  

Winter-Chrome-Steelhead-Muskegon-RiverUnlike the Grand River, White River, and Pere Marquette Rivers, the Muskegon is a tailwater fishery, this means the Muskegon River never freezes! This allows us to guide anglers throughout the winter months for Steelhead and Trout. Float fishing during the Winter is a beautiful time to be on the water with good numbers of Steelhead and lots of wildlife along the rivers banks. We are also now offering Centerpin instructionals to learn Centerpin float fishing for Steelhead!

Winter-Brown-Muskegon-River Water flow and levels are normal with clarity being excellent making for some great floats and spawn fishing. Good numbers of steelhead are spread throughout the river system. Fishing should be excellent through January / February with a great number of steelhead already in the system with more to come!


Muskegon River Daily Fishing Reports