A pril on the Lower Pere Marquette River and Lake Michigan offer a variety of places to fish. Catching a steelhead in the river, and a brown off the pier, beach, or along the shoreline in a boat are all possible on the same day. The method you choose is up to you, casting or trolling plugs, spinners, flies, drifting spawn or beads. All of them produce under the right conditions. We have had a long winter, and it is a great time to be casting into open or flowing water.
If the river is low and clear, good numbers of steelhead can be found in the lower river staging, making their way further upstream to spawning gravel. If the river is high and dirty, you are better off heading to the Upper PM, where the fish will end up spawning and then heading back downstream. After the snow melt off and the water clears and drops, we will have steelhead moving in both directions. Those heading up to spawn and the aggressive drop backs that are on their way back to the lake. A general rule: if the water is high, fish high up in the river system, if it is low, fish low in the river system.
We were in about the same situation of ice nearly covering Lake Michigan as last year. Nobody knows when we will be able to launch boats for the day and use the slips in the marinas. We have had great brown trout fishing the last two years; the DNR has increased the stocking programs, and the fishery is a result of their efforts.