Manistee River Fishing Report: December 2015

I t’s all about a float in the month of December because of the water temperatures dropping into the low 40’s to high 30’s. When water temperatures start getting this low, the steelhead go into winter mode. They get lethargic, and their metabolism starts to drop. They will start laying in slower woody runs and pockets to help from exerting too much energy during these winter months. By fishing a float or bobber, the fish are more easily targeted in this type of water. Fishing with a float enables you to adjust your depth so that you can keep your offering above the structure. I prefer centerpin fishing in the winter months, but we also use spinning gear and fly gear to get it done.

If you’re heading out to chase winter steelhead with floats this winter, you should have a good assortment of egg patterns whether it be yarn flies, trout beads (which are my favorite), and spawn. Another good bait for winter steelhead are jigs tipped with wax worms but just make sure you have plenty because there are days that they really key on them, and just a couple dozen won’t do. Anglers that are out fishing for winter steelhead need to keep a few things in mind. Structure, depth, and speed of the water you are fishing are the most important things to look for in the winter months. Slow, deep, woody runs are good places to start. December is one of my favorite months to fish steelhead. The crowds that we see in October and November have gone, and the fish are spread throughout the system, which enables you to fish any section of the river. The weather can be cold some days but with the comforts of a covered and heated boat you can have a very enjoyable day of fishing on the Big Manistee. Tight Lines and High Fives!!!