Michigan Fish & Seasons
Steelhead are the perfect river fish. They are a beautiful fish that come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Steelhead are great fighters, often making fast, drag zinging runs with many jumps. When you combine a fighter like this, that often weighs 7 to 12 pounds and put them in our small rivers you have yourhands full. In most years there are enough steelhead in one of our area rivers to fish for them the entire year. Flies and lures are both popular depending on the season and conditions.
Season – March thru April and November thru December are peek, with steelhead often available year round.
We have mostly king (Chinook) with some silver (Coho) salmon. The kings average around 15 to 20 pounds with 30 plus pound fish being common. The salmon are plentiful, you can almost count on getting into several fish per day. In August and September we catch a lot of salmon on cast and retrieved lures (just like fishing for bass, except the salmon are 3 feet long). Salmon are arguably the hardest fitting and fighting fish in freshwater. We lose many more fish than are landed simply because we cannot handle them. In October and November we do a lot more fly fishing, when the salmon are in the upper river.
Season – Late August thru October for Salmon.
We have both brown and rainbow trout and both can be successfully fished year round on many of our area rivers. A wide variety of methods are used depending on the time of year, current conditions and the skills and preferences of the anglers. Stripping large streamers, waking large dries at night and matching hatch conditions are some of the more popular methods used. But just about anything will work at some time. As a note the Pere Marquette River was the first river to be planted with brown trout in North America, brought from Germany in the late 1800's.
Season – Our trout can be successfully caught year round, with summer being the most popular.
The Muskegon and Big Manistee Rivers have strong populations of smallmouth. During the summer both rivers can provide a great time for anyone that wants an easy day with plenty of action. Both rivers are large enough to allow plenty of room for back casting with a fly rod, this is a good trip for beginners. Fish average one or two pound but they are often plentiful and aggressive. Fly and light spinning gear are both popular
Season – Late May thru Early September for Smallmouth
Great Lakes Carp
Although Carp have been a popular game fish in Europe for a long time they have largly been overlooked here in the US. Not so anymore! Fly fishing for Carp is gaining in popularity an one of the best unsung resources for this hard fighting fish is Lake Michigan. All along the coast of Lake Michigan big (30 plus pound) carp can be found. Often called the "golden bones" because they can be just a difficult as saltwater bonefish to catch.
One of the best places to fish for big Carp is Beaver Island at the northern end of Lake Michigan. Kevin has been fishing this area for the past ten years and knows all the best places to find these big fish.
Season – June thru early August