Manistee River Fishing Report: November 2015

T here are lots of things to do on the Manistee River in November. While steelhead are our main focus, trout fishing below Tippy Dam can be a pretty good time as well. Trout can be targeted in many different ways in November, from stripping Streamers with 6-7 weight fly rods, casting small Rapalas with light tackle spinning, or Indicator fishing with 5-6 weight fly rods with small egg patterns and nymphs. But if you are going to fish them with egg patterns and nymphs, don’t be surprised when you hook Mr. Steelhead; it is quite the battle when this happens, but not an impossible task. All the king salmon are gone this time of year, but there are still some coho salmon around, and it is very likely to hook a few while stripping streamers, or twitching crank baits for trout. Cohos are an absolute blast to fight, no matter how you catch them. Most coho salmon caught in the big river in November are late spawners, and if you haven’t tried it, you should definitely give it a shot. All of this said steelhead are our main targeted species starting early October, following through until spring. Bottom bouncing is normally the most used technique from the beginning of October to the middle of November, while the water temperature is still optimal, between 50-60 degrees. Once the water temperature drops into the high 40s, we change over to fishing floats and start fishing slower water, where the steelhead like to hang-out during the winter months. There are many different ways to fish floats; from 11ft switch rods with floating lines and egg and nymph patterns, spinning gear with bobbers and spawn, or jigs and wax worms. My personal favorite is centerpin float fishing with 13ft float rods and a centerpin reel, tipped with some sort of egg pattern, spawn, or a jig and a wax worm.

Really no matter what technique you plan on using, November is a great month to get it done. We have fish entering the system all fall and winter long, so come on up! We fish out of enclosed and heated boats all winter long on the Big Manistee, so don’t let the weather stop you! We run half and full day trips all winter, and the river is a beautiful place to spend the day, no matter what time of year. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a winter sport you’d like to take up!

Tight lines and high fives!