Manistee River Fishing Report: February 2016


F ebruary here on the Manistee is one of my favorite months to fish steelhead. We still have a good number of fall and winter fish to play with along with our early spring steelhead that are starting their migration. At this time of the year, we usually start seeing new fish on some sort of water event (rain or run off from snow melt). The weather in February typically begins to warm thus warming water temps and helping to get them to bite a bit more consistent. By the mid-to-late part of the month, we have a good number of fish in the system and more showing up each day.

Techniques used in February are the same as in December and January. Float fishing with centerpins and float rods mainly, but we also use switch rods with floating lines and spinning gear. The water temperatures are still cold, and the steelhead are laid up in soft woody runs and pools out of the main current, so they don’t have to exert much energy. With a float or bobber, you can control your depth and the speed of your drift to fish these types of waters.

Typical baits for this time of year are trout bead in 8-10mm, spawn, jigs and wax worms, and nymphs, such as caddis, wiggle hex’s and small black stone flies. These are all the things one may need for a successful day on the river.

Plan your day of fishing around warm weather patterns and fish the warmest times of the day. No need to rush out first thing in the morning, most of the time in the colder temperatures they bite best from 10 am to 4 pm.

If you have never seen the river from a boat and would like to catch some steelhead float fishing on the Big Manistee, give us a shout. We run enclosed and heated boats in the winter months to make your experience more enjoyable and one you will not soon forget. Check us out on Facebook or the web at Tight Lines & High Fives!!