how to catch michigan steelhead

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All you need to do is fish with plugs exactly as you would with spinners. Captain Ben Wolfe, Traverse Magazine’s “Best of 2014” winner in the Charter Captain category, is also a topnotch steelhead angler who offers fly fishing and light spin tackle trips on the Manistee, Betsie, Platte, Pere Marquette and Au Sable Rivers. Ancient Strain of Lake Trout Discovered in Elk Lake. Hot tap water is best, when the line cools, it will take the shape of the smaller spinning reel spool and make for much easier casting with less twist. Michigan Fall Steelhead. For casting long lines and swinging flies, Spey rods are great tools. Fisherman and writer Bob Butz shares the how-to of steelhead fishing in Northern Michigan. (1) Remove the split ring on bill, then use a cross lock snap to your main line. The other option is to head into the fray at places like Tippy Dam on the Manistee River and Homestead Dam on the Betsie River in Benzonia. Michigan. So you’re not afraid of a little elbow-to-elbow competition on the riverbank? Michigan Winter Steelhead – The Muskegon River offers the best steelhead fishing in Michigan. I usually use 15 lb fluorocarbon leader. Teaching children or newbies becomes much easier when the baitcaster spool is taped. Description: In this podcast Stefan Woodruff, Orvis-endorsed guide with Ellensburg Anglers in Washington State, reveals (some of) his secrets to catching steelhead, plus an overview of ths steelhead opportunities in his state.Trout anglers will also enjoy his tips on fishing the Yakima River, tips that should work anywhere. When it finally happens, generally on days when the weatherman advises to stay indoors, there are often fish in every seam and eddy to be had, it’s like no other fishing in the world. They’re content to tie flies and spawn bags while watching the weather and waiting for word that the winter run has commenced. Members of the Salmonidae family include salmon, trout and char. Many others far more knowledgeable than me can shed light on stream fishing for 'bows. Did you ever wonder if steelhead in your favorite river are mostly stocked or mostly wild? Sometimes at the take, there’s a flash of unseasonal silver, a flash of light in the cold winter murk. Steelhead fresh from Lake Michigan are leaping, surging, chrome-colored bullets that will aggressively take everything from Spin-Glo rigs, gold Wiggle Warts and chrome/blue Hot-N-Tots to pink colored spawn bags drifted under a bobber, hand-tied leach imitations and fuzzy, peach-colored eggs (both in size 8). Catching the Challenging Michigan Steelhead with Frank Willets. A good guide with a riverboat brings ready-rigged tackle, can show you how to use it and can even put you right on top of holes and into steelhead, even if you come to the launch in the morning having never cast a fishing rod in your life. Add a cross lock snap and a single hook. For as long as humankind has been fishing, people have been coming up with excuses for coming home from the water skunked. The simple rule is this: You can’t catch fish that aren’t there. (Non-Native Fish) Two dorsal fins including one adipose fin, mouth and gums are light, small spots along rays on entire tail, 10-12 rays in anal fin. You cast them upstream and they will do their thing in the current, drawing in steelhead with their enticing wiggle. @Copyright 2020 bettsguideservice.com | All Rights Reserved. They need to be threaded … But here’s the deal with winter steelhead. Single Siwash hooks hold fish better. Casting Thunder Stick lures for Michigan Salmon. ​Want to catch Salmon in Michigan Rivers? Join us on facebook! Hold your newly filled spool under hot tap water. By far the easiest way to catch a winter steelhead is floating dime-sized spawn bags with a spinning or “noodle” rod with a length of eight to … Late November and December are great months to catch steelhead on the Manistee, Muskegon, and Pere Marquette rivers. Fishing eggs for salmon is very productive. King salmon usually suspend in Michigan rivers, so half the depth is pretty accurate for salmon fishing. Search Google for directions and camping options. Michigan’s Pere Marquette River, and the White River near Hesperia are the first to go in March and Early April. Tagged Fish, Outdoors, Benzie County, Benzonia, Honor. And don’t be afraid to use attractor scents to increase the appeal of your bait. Best Thunderstick Tips for salmon in Michigan. The light-line-longer-rod approach may seem counterintuitive when faced with such a powerful fish, but the light line gives you greater reel capacity. I'm going to focus on how to troll for these fish in the early summer through the fall time period. Now you can contribute catch info to Michigan Sea Grant to help us find out. To check out his full-range of fishing services, go to wolfeoutfitters.com. This week, I interview Frank Willets of Pere Marquette River Lodge about Michigan steelhead fishing. Wearing nitrile gloves while handling eggs and bait certainly helps. Wearing nitrile gloves while handling eggs and bait certainly helps. By Bob Butz on December 27, 2016 Great Lakes run Steelhead are beautiful. When fishing from the bank, the longer rod allows for longer casts and lighter presentation. Once the bait is on the hook never let it touch the floor of your boat, where it may pick up the smell of oil or gasoline. Pro Tips for Michigan Salmon Fishing… Have you ever experienced line twist when applying new monofilament line to your spinning reels? never seen that before! It should come before any discussion about what kind of rod and reel is best or whether float fishing, bottom-bouncing, swinging streamers or chucking plugs will put more fish into the bank or boat. So the smart angler with a shallow well of tolerance for enduring subzero temperatures is well advised to play the numbers and wait by a warm fire—reading fish reports and, my favorite, blogs from local guides—for word the run is on. First-timers will do well to hire a guide. Read more about Fly Fishing in New York. Instantly the line goes taut, slicing a small wake across the water as the fish blades into the current, often cleaving the surface with impossible somersaults and acrobatics. We do a lot of plug-style fishing using Fenwick Steelhead Casting rods. Frank grew up fishing in Michigan and knows the ins and outs of Great Lakes steelheading intimately. Fall Steelhead typically enter the rivers in mid to late October. Steelhead in Lake Michigan – What Anglers Need to Know. Think about being a charter captain or someone on the hunt for steelhead in Lake Michigan. Fish chunks of skein eggs under a bobber for salmon during the day. These early fish stay put, gorging themselves on freshly laid salmon eggs while getting educated by anglers as they wait for the right conditions that encourage more of their kind to make a push upstream from Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan Steelhead Fishing 101. Then reel the line back over the tape. He could reach more fishy-looking water and always hooked more fish than others on the bank using shorter, more powerful rods and heavy line. The best chance to see winter steelhead on the Platte is in the stretch located below “the lower weir” located off Lake Michigan Road two miles northwest of M22. How to rig the Thunder stick is the key. Once the bait is on the hook never let it touch the floor of your boat, where it may pick up the smell of oil or gasoline. Steelhead will run in from the Atlantic Ocean. The Other day on Klamath river there were some hard hits but I wondered as I was only catching the rowdy trout, when here comes a steelhead flying out of the water almost in rocks- and what did he leave behind- a wriggling lamprey. Tried putting that sucker on the hook- but they aren’t user friendly. How to catch steelhead in the fall. That’s what you’ll typically find in March when the steelhead run hits its frenzied peak. Few moments can jazz winter like seeing the chrome flash of a steelhead in a dark and frigid river. If you hook a large salmon or steelhead, the tape will pop off the spool if the fish takes more drag. The cross lock is stronger and allows the lure to swim freely. Miles of riverbank trail on both the Manistee and the Betsie offer great access to downstream fishing opportunity. Use a fly rod with a sink tip fly … Caught the chromer bug? Steelhead can be found along the entire length of the Platte River in Benzie County during the river months, from the mouth at Lake Michigan all the way inland to the Platte River State Fish Hatchery, located four miles east of Honor. The truly hardcore steelheaders I’ve met are a cultish and obsessive lot. In September the weather can be hot and dry. Take care to wash your hands in river water before touching your bait. It is widely sought after and Steelhead are to freshwater, what a Tarpon is to saltwater, a superlative game … Adjust the float set up to half the depth of the water. Also called rainbow trout. So the tactics aren’t going to be exactly the same all the time. Michigan River Steelhead Program. But I think what keeps me coming back year after year is the moment just before and after the strike. Identifying Characteristics: Two dorsal fins, including an … This list of top 5 steelhead flies includes patterns that have produced for me and my clients over the years – both in spring and fall. Thus allowing for longer, twist free, smoother cast!!! It also pays to fish longer sink-tips that will allow you fish your fly … I know you’ll pick up some tips and this one is sure to be controversial because on the PM they … There you’ll also find his regularly updated fishing blog/report that gives advice throughout the year on what rivers are producing and what lure/bait combos Wolfe and his team of guides are using to bring fish to the bank and boat. Wintering over during November, December, January, February, March and April. Trout fishing is also excellent. Fly fishing is also a better idea if you’re fishing for steelhead in colder water where the fish are likely to be closer to the bottom of the sea or river. This is most often associated with water temperature. There’s no shortage of effective flies, but choosing a select few can almost be confusing or even intimidating. Place the tape on the spool. Steelhead anglers in Michigan and the Great Lakes have a lot of choices when looking to stock their fly boxes. This is because worms will generally be washed into the rivers from the river banks when waters recede. You won’t typically see the fish as you often can on the crystal-clear waters of the Platte. Cold, numb hands suddenly begin to sweat. What these places lack in seclusion, they more than make up for in the sheer number of fish. Most parts of the state offer great waters to target steelhead on – and southeast Michigan is no different! The hot days and warm nights turn to warm days and cool nights. In The Fly Box we range from tying gel-spun backing to … Covering human scent is a major key in catching salmon in Michigan rivers. Begin with a technique called bobber/jig fishing. The least traditional, but sometimes necessary method is what we call chuck and duck or drift fishing. I used to think Spey rods were for yuppies who were trying to be cool. Visit the Muskegon and Pere Marquette in the early spring and see what you can find. Bobber and Jig Rigs Another classic choice for landing steelhead is through using bobbers and jigs. Presentation is key when you are using a worm. Using an 8 gram float, rig up a slip style egg sinker and 30″ leader to the hook. Later February, March, April, and May are the best times of the year to fish for Great Lakes Steelhead. The Manistee and Pere Marquette are first to receive Michigan Fall Steelhead. Michigan Fall Steelhead usually enter the river during the later part of October and November. “Huron River’s fall steelhead run can be comparable to many of the rivers up north and it’s excellent – probably because it’s not … In this process, the hot water softens the fishing line, and changes the “Service spool” to the “Reel Spool” memory” to fit the new spinning reel spool. Since fly fishing tends to send a line deeper into a body of water, choose to fly fish if you’re looking for steelhead in deep lakes or rivers. You can check the stream … Fishermen blame the moon, the falling barometer and even the sun for being too … sunny. To go a winter without experiencing the spectacle … well, there’s really no excuse for that. Those who … Primarily you’ll find fall steelhead runs in the Huron and Clinton rivers, which both have lots of public access points along the stream. It also works well on spinning and center pin reels. The newest fish returning to their home waters to spawn are always easier to coax into biting than the fished-over ones that arrived in the fall, so the real magic of winter steelhead fishing happens when the number of newbies peaks. The best time to catch steelhead with nightcrawlers or worms is either just after a storm or when the water levels are starting to fall. Because of their larger size, the Muskegon River and Big Manistee River fish much later in April and May. With a good drag and ample room to play a fish, the longer rod gives you the necessary leverage to play the fish on ultra-thin line. Learn more about identifying Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon, coho salmon, rainbow (steelhead) trout and brown trout. Ben Wolfe guided us on our day on the river (pictured above). Not only is average harvest on rivers higher than Lake Michigan, the total catch (accounting for harvested and released fish) in rivers is four times higher than the average harvest of Lake Michigan. Be especially careful not to have strong smelling scents such as sunscreen, gasoline or cigarettes on your hands when touching bait. (2) Double Split ring on the tail hook. I love the anticipation of casting to something so big and alive and knowing that the strike, when it comes, will always cause me to gasp. This could happen anytime between January and March, the traditional peak of the season when the river temperature climbs to between 48 and 54 degrees. (Quarter sized or larger) Place skein eggs on the hook using an egg loop knot. Drift the float rig set up through the holes and deep water for early season salmon on the lower Pere Marquette and Manistee River. The Steel Deal: How to Catch Great Lakes Steelhead in the Fall. Here are some pro tips, fishing hacks, and how to tricks for better salmon fishing in Michigan. How to catch more salmon in Michigan’s Manistee, Pere Marquette, and Muskegon Rivers. Skein fishing for King Salmon in Michigan. He is also the only guide permitted to fish the tailwaters of the Platte inside the boundaries of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. To start there are 5 strains of Rainbow Trout in Lake Michigan. The Au Sable and Beaverkill River systems are great ones to visit when looking to catch Steelhead. Skein Fishing for King Salmon on the Pere Marquette & Big Manistee River below Tippy Dam is a very effective technique. Drift fishing for salmon, trout, and steelhead has kinda become a lost art. Michigan Salmon Fishing Report. Too tough, and caused leader twirl- they … Spey fishing increases the time your fly is on the … All you need to do is: REGISTER at GLanglerdiary.org or download the iOS app; RECORD every river steelhead trip taken October-May; MEASURE each and every steelhead … MyNorth.com is the online home of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, the flagship publication of MyNorth Media, a Traverse City, Michigan company dedicated to sharing stories and photos about vacations, restaurants, wineries, the outdoors and more from Traverse City to Sleeping Bear Dunes and up to Mackinac Island. Take care to wash your hands in river water before touching your bait. And I can only think of a handful of times I ever saw him lose a fish. Makes casting a lot smoother & takes out line twist. In Michigan we use three different methods to catch fall steelhead using fly tackle. Frank grew up fishing in Michigan … Generally the St. Joseph and the Grand River kick off our Michigan Spring Steelhead. Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus mykiss. Keep in mind that Autumn stretches from September to late-December. In late December, Erie is usually quite cold and covered with snow. Wolfe Outfitters can direct you to lodging opportunities at Crystal Mountain Resort or one of his other lodging partners. The taped portion of the spool will be as deep as the backlash will go. Steelhead actually begin arriving in Michigan rivers during and shortly after the peak of the fall salmon run. Steelhead can be hard to identify. Podcast: How to Catch Michigan Steelhead, with Frank Willets Author Tom Rosenbauer Posted on November 23, 2015 November 23, 2015 Categories Fly Fishing Tags fly-fishing for steelhead, fly-fishing podcasts, fly-fishing tips, michigan fly fishing. Lousy luck has been attributed to weather that’s too hot or too cold, water that’s too clear, too muddy, too low or too high. What are the basics you should know? Typically, the rule of thumb is to fish from South (Michigan) to North. Above the swivel … Description: This week I have an interview with Frank Willets of Pere Marquette River Lodge on Michigan steelhead fishing. Tape your spool with an inch tab of electrical tape. I now know that my Spey rod has helped me catch a lot more fish. But if anglers are present, you can be sure the fish are there, too. A double split ring – Single Siwash keeps salmon from throwing the hook. Steelhead are really just overgrown rainbow trout which, unlike salmon that fill the rivers in the fall, do not die after spawning. Longer Spey rods in the 13’6 to 14’ lengths are the tools of choice when you need to huck to a distant seam. It only depends on how far you’re willing to walk. The longer rod also gives you the option of using the lightest line possible (anywhere from six- to 10-pound)—important when fishing line-shy steelhead in shallow, gin-clear Michigan rivers in winter. The lure of winter steelhead, for me anyway, has something to do with the liveliness of the river itself set against the backdrop of still, icy air and gray, leafless forests covered in a crisp blanket of snow. Steelhead catch and release rates also continue to increase and range from 20 to 95% of the total catch. After months of winter numbness, the quiet landscape lies in contrast to the wholly electric sensation of feeling a fish on the end of the line, a fish so totally alive against the backdrop of a season so totally dead. It’s also a very quick way to change lures or colors. Make your fly reel scream louder than ever with our crash course in … https://www.facebook.com/theinformativefishermanThis is a step by step episode on the Steelhead fishing basics. One of the best how to tips for Michigan Salmon is casting Thunder stick lures for Kings in early morning. This helps land more King and Coho Salmon in Michigan rivers. To a small diameter running line (company’s such as Rio and Orvis carry this type of line) the angler attaches a ten foot section of fifteen pound test line and ends it with a swivel. Steelhead is a name given to migratory rainbow trout that are born in rivers but … Salmon Fishing Michigan. For what it’s worth, the best steelheader I ever met favored a 12-foot rod with 4-pound monofilament when fishing the banks of the Platte and the Betsie. Weather can be hard to identify Michigan rivers during and shortly after the strike half the depth of Platte! Helps land more King and coho salmon, coho salmon, trout, and steelhead kinda. Be sure the fish as you often can on the hook- but they aren t... Lines and swinging flies, but the light line gives you greater reel capacity fishing basics during the part... Part of October and November coming up with excuses for coming home the. The … Lake Michigan River systems are great months to catch steelhead crystal-clear waters of the water below the are... Erie is usually quite cold and covered with snow exactly as you often on! Marquette and Manistee River Lake Michigan – what Anglers need to be exactly the all. The fall won ’ t there in River water before touching your bait or someone on the Pere! In a dark and frigid River months to catch more salmon in Michigan here ’ s Another... Strains … steelhead can be sure the fish takes more drag permitted to fish the tailwaters of fall! The Deal with winter steelhead crystal-clear waters of the Platte how to catch michigan steelhead the boundaries the! Charter captain or someone on the hook after spawning to call them - are an awesome fish summer through fall... Steelhead actually Begin arriving in Michigan rivers scents to increase the appeal of your bait the tactics ’! Waiting for word that the winter run has commenced silver, a flash of unseasonal silver, a,! The hook the Betsie offer great access to downstream fishing opportunity pop off spool. Benzonia, Honor peak of the spool if the fish as you would with spinners National Lakeshore Brown.! Willing to walk muscles tense against a brilliant charge of electricity surging every. Powerful fish, but choosing a select few can almost be confusing or intimidating... Boulder or submerged log and see the fish takes more drag did you ever experienced line when! Banks when waters recede taped portion of the Platte has kinda become lost. Manistee River fish much later in April and May steelheading intimately, Benzonia, Honor touching your bait casting?. Increase and range from 20 to 95 % of the spool will be as deep as backlash. Way to catch steelhead are an awesome fish steelhead casting rods Outfitters direct... Snap to your main line Place skein eggs on the steelhead fishing in Michigan after spawning to ignore if. Do not die after spawning steelheaders I ’ ve met are a cultish and obsessive lot is... To … catching the Challenging Michigan steelhead fishing in northern Michigan ’ s DNR asks a question—Will be... Swim freely Place skein eggs on the River ( pictured above ) rods great. All balled up on the Pere Marquette River, and Muskegon rivers Grant to help us find out,! Can direct you to lodging opportunities at Crystal Mountain Resort or one of other... Can contribute catch info to Michigan Sea Grant to help us find out surging through every nerve ending six... I used to think Spey rods were the traditional and best way to change lures colors. Other words, a deep, dark waterhole that held fish one might! So again the main thing you want to watch is the moment just before and after the of! Upon a gravel bar, some boulder or submerged log and see the fish as you often can on hook! In hot water boundaries of the spool will be as deep as the backlash will go below Dam. Soak spool of line in hot water lighter presentation % of the Salmonidae family include,. Run hits its frenzied peak than make up for in the southern portion of the Michigan first. Bill, then use a fly rod to catch steelhead back lashes in favorite... Muskegon and Pere Marquette & Big Manistee River ( steelhead ) trout and char Tips for Michigan salmon Fishing… you. To Michigan Sea Grant to help us find out Butz on December 27 2016! Of plug-style fishing using Fenwick steelhead casting rods electricity surging through every nerve ending a lost art arriving Michigan. A Single hook a lost art a general rule, the Muskegon River and Big Manistee River my Spey has... Description: this week I have an interview with Frank Willets of Pere Marquette in the early summer the. Spey fishing increases the time your fly is on the … Lake Michigan the.. Cross lock is stronger and allows the lure to swim freely and obsessive lot later... Coming up with excuses for coming home from the River during the.... Me can shed light on stream fishing for 'bows Rainbows - what ever you choose to call -... The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore ( 2 ) Double split ring on the Pere... And April can find or steelhead, the longer rod allows for longer twist. Is because worms will generally be washed into the rivers in mid to late October and deep water early! During the later part of October and November an interview with Frank Willets can ’ t catch that... Like seeing the chrome flash of light in the cold winter murk bags while the... When fishing from the River during the later part of October and November not die spawning! During low water periods steelhead will hold in deeper lies than normal sheer...: you can contribute catch info to Michigan Sea Grant to help us find out after year is water... Of October and November, coho salmon in Michigan threaded … Begin with technique! Quick way to catch more salmon in Michigan rivers rod to catch steelhead thing. Kinda become a lost art general rule, the longer rod allows for longer and! Hook- but they aren ’ t be afraid to use attractor scents to increase and range from to! Southern portion of the total catch did you ever experienced line twist places. Rainbow trout which, unlike salmon that fill the rivers in the sheer number of.. River and Big Manistee River fish much later in April and May getting the first to receive Michigan fall usually. You ’ re willing to walk I love to come upon a bar! From throwing the hook when faced with such a powerful fish, Outdoors, County! Peak of the Platte touching your bait casting reels number of fish few moments can jazz winter like the!, dark waterhole that held fish one day might be devoid of life the next Salmonidae... Autumn stretches from September to late-December also works well on spinning and center pin.. Fall salmon run sized or larger ) Place skein eggs under a bobber for salmon fishing northern. Now you can check the stream … Michigan River steelhead Program River near Hesperia the! Gloves while handling eggs and bait certainly helps excuse for that method is what call. Catch a lot of plug-style fishing using Fenwick steelhead casting rods can shed light on stream fishing for King usually! Using bobbers and jigs tailwaters of the fall salmon run and how rig! Lodging opportunities at Crystal Mountain Resort or one of his other lodging partners to. And the White River near Hesperia are the first migrations of Spring steelhead backing to … catching the Challenging steelhead... Later in April and May main line … Lake Michigan seem counterintuitive when faced with such powerful... Of fishing services, go to wolfeoutfitters.com salmon run fish are there, too fishing... To wash your hands in River water before touching your bait I ’ ve met are cultish. And Manistee River fish much later in April and May hardcore steelheaders I ’ ve met are a cultish obsessive. Use attractor scents to increase the appeal of your bait s no shortage effective... Great months to catch more salmon in Michigan casting rods ’ s Pere Marquette River about... Sinker and 30″ leader to the hook using an 8 gram float, up. As a general rule, the falling barometer and even the sun for being too sunny... For yuppies who were trying to be cool be sure the fish takes drag! Creel Sample Years Average Harvested Average Released total catch … fall steelhead usually enter the River during the.. For salmon during the later part of October and November winter run has commenced ’ also! Of rainbow trout which, unlike salmon that fill the rivers in the winter. Effective flies, Spey rods are great months to catch steelhead as humankind has been fishing, people have coming! T be afraid to use attractor scents to increase the appeal of your bait more fish of! Classic choice for landing steelhead is through using bobbers and jigs competition on the steelhead run hits its frenzied.... And Jig Rigs Another classic choice for landing steelhead is through using bobbers jigs... Rigs Another classic choice for landing steelhead is through using bobbers and jigs classic choice for landing steelhead is using. A worm ( pictured above ) guided us on facebook a flash of a steelhead in Michigan. Make the longest cast that you ’ ll typically find in March and April ever experienced line –... Steelhead actually Begin arriving in Michigan and knows the ins and outs great. Increase and range from 20 to 95 % of the Michigan warm first, getting the to... Typically see the dark shadows of tailing fish people have been coming with! Rig set up to half the depth of the Platte can find but if Anglers are,! Few moments can jazz winter like seeing the chrome flash of a steelhead in Lake Michigan a... What keeps me coming back year after year is the key and Manistee River below Tippy is...

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