Category Archives: Muskegon River Fishing Blog

Muskegon River fishing reports and fishing conditions for the Muskegon and other surrounding rivers.

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