Manistee River Fishing Report: October 2014

Larry Raney 1

All I can think of when I think of October in Michigan is fall steelhead on the Manistee River. This is my favorite time of the year to guide. When these fish enter the river system they thrive on the protein filled salmon eggs and are an absolute blast to tangle with. They typically start showing up here on the Manistee the last week of September and we usually have very good numbers in the system by the 2nd week of October. We fish for the fall steelhead with a variety of techniques and gear: first, bottom bouncing with egg flies and nymphs with a fly rod, second, bottom bouncing or rolling spawn with spinning gear, third, swinging streamers with Spey and switch rods and fourth, float fishing with centerpin float rods and spinning gear.

There are a variety of ways to catch these fall steelhead and all are effective. They are hard charging acrobatic fish, one that everyone should have on their bucket list. Typical rod length and sizes are 9-11 foot and have a power rating of 6-10 pound for spinning gear and 7-8 weight for fly rods.

Reel selection should be something with a good drag system because it will get a work out! 10-12 pound main line and 6-8 pound leaders are pretty common. The early run of steelhead are found close to gravel areas where salmon are spawning or typically spawn. As October goes on they can be fished throughout the whole Manistee River system below Tippy Dam. The October steelhead is the first of many months to come for the steelhead anglers here in Michigan, the fishing will continue through the winter months on, until they spawn in April and May. This gives seven to eight months of fishing for the steelhead addict. Come on up and see the true fall color, chrome!