Manistee River Fishing Report: July 2015


As we start July here on the Big River, we are
 finishing up most of our summer bug hatches 
and awaiting the sighting of the first grasshopper to be
 eaten by the brown trout and smallmouth bass. While 
we still have some of our trout eating small summer
time may flies and the smallmouth eating crawfish and 
minnows, there is nothing like casting a hopper pattern
 over a willing fish and waiting for that explosive bite. It
 is one of my favorite things to do in the dog days of
 summer. You can still get them casting streamers with
fly gear and small spinners and Rapala’s with lite spin
 tackle, but the surface bite is very addictive. The other 
nice thing about fishing hoppers is you don’t have to 
rush out to the river first thing in the morning or fish 
until all hours of the night, like we do while we are
 fishing most of our bug hatches in June. Most of the time we are fishing somewhere between 10 am and 6 pm. If you haven’t done it, you should give it a try.

July is also about the summer run steelhead. They usually start showing up around the first of July, and you can target them through August until the kings start to show up. Right at the Dam above and below the coffer are the most consistent places for these steelhead. Anglers can also find them around most cold water inlets or cool springs entering the river. There are a number of ways to fish for summer steelhead, bottom bouncing trout beads and nymphs both with fly gear or spinning gear, bobber fishing with spinning gear and spawn, and my favorite is centerpin float fishing. All techniques will work so start with a method you are comfortable with and like. They are a very hard fighting and acrobatic fish and a lot of fun to tangle with. Just because it is in the middle of summer that doesn’t mean you have to hang the rods up and wait for the kings to get here. There is plenty to do in the meantime and who knows you might find another addiction, I bet you will! We target trout on the Big Manistee, Pere Marquette, Little Manistee, and Upper Manistee. Smallmouth bass and summer-run steelhead are targeted mainly on the Big Manistee. If fishing one of these great rivers sounds like something you would like to do come on up and see what it’s all about! Tight Lines and High Fives!