Manistee River Fishing Report: March 2017

By: Capt. Larry Raney
Premier Angling Guide Service
(231) 510-5862

March on the Big Manistee is typically the start of our spring migration of steelhead. Although we have had a good number of fish in the system all winter, this is the time of the year that most anglers are gearing up for. We will have new fish trickling in throughout the month to start spawning towards the later part of the month and in April. So far with the light snow fall, we have had in the area this year, it doesn’t look like run off will be an issue as far as high water, but winter isn’t over yet. Look for bigger numbers of fish to show up on rises in water flows and river temps. This is key in the spring. A nice steady migration is what we hope for and not a big bunch of water from rain or snow melt that pushes them in all at one time.

March is a month where you can employ multiple techniques to catch steelhead such as float fishing, bottom bouncing, and back trolling plugs. The water temps are still cold, and even though these fish are new in the system their metabolism is low, and they seek out slower currents to lie in.

Typically we are still fishing floats with beads and spawn until the water gets high and then we will switch gears to bottom bouncing. If you are bottom bouncing with either spinning rod or fly rod, egg patterns such as trout beads and yarn flies in natural to brighter colors work well. Aquatic nymphs such as green caddis, hexes, stone flies, pheasant tails and a bugger of some sort are all good candidates.

Things have been pretty good up here this winter, and all of the fish have been looking healthy, so let’s pray things stay that way. With all the potential problems that we hear about our fishery, it would be a shame for it to change. If you enjoy the sport and the great fishing we have help protect the resource. Think about the future of our fishery, take only what you need and if you don’t need them let them swim again. Good luck and have a great spring! Tight Lines & High Fives!