Little Manistee River Fishing

Salmon fishing

Salmon at Little Manistee River Weir

The Little Manistee River is one of those storybook trout streams in Michigan. It is a smaller Northern Michigan stream that is shallow and gravelly, yet has the deep 6-8 foot holes at many bends. Walking along it’s banks or kayaking it’s you can feel complete seclusion. There are several stretches of river that you will only see a couple private cabins while the rest is Public Land with low lying cedar swamps.

The “Little Man” or “Little River” as known by most, is famed for it’s trout fishing and early king salmon runs. The Michigan DNR has a weir off Old Stronach Road. The weir is in place each spring to collect Steelhead eggs and each fall for Chinook and Coho eggs. The river is closed downstream of the weir to Manistee Lake from September 1st to November 14th and from January 1st to March 31st. I know that sounds like a lot of time, but like I mentioned before, early salmon run.

Depending on weather, most northwest Michigan salmon streams don’t flood with fish until October. But, the Little Man has a fishable king salmon population in early August most years. The nice thing, you don’t get the crowds like October. From August 15th to September 1st you usually can’t find a day when the weir doesn’t have fisherman traveling the legal 300 feet downstream, but there are several access points below the weir that hold salmon.

Upstream of the weir, there is very little fishing pressure. Most people see the weir and the huge stacks of salmon and just assume the fish aren’t upstream of the gates. You won’t be getting the fresh run fish that come at every rainy day, but there are fishable numbers that have swam upstream before August 15th.

The river is small compared to the standard river in northern Michigan and very clear. This makes stealth the most important fishing tool. The big salmon and trout are found in the numerous log jams that can be found at about every turn in the river. The key is patience and stealth. If you see the fish swimming, it most likely has already seen you. There are many big fish to be caught all summer long, but the salmon can be tricky to land with the many log jams I mentioned. When hooked, the large kings will immediately head for the cover, peeling line off your reel. If you’re skilled enough at the fight, you can pull in quite a fish for a small stream. Otherwise, rainbows, browns, and brookies can be found in the same holes.

Whether it’s combat fishing or privacy you’re looking for, The Little Manistee River has it. Kayaking, fishing, wading and swimming are all fun on this river. With its many access points and abundant public land with beaten paths along the banks, the first time visitor can definitely find fish.

If you have any comments on the Little Manistee River, leave them below or go to http://www.fishmich.com/counties/manistee-lakes/little-manistee-river.php and share your fishing knowledge.

Spinning Reel Vs. Baitcaster

Reels

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel

The two most popular fishing reels are the Spinning and the Bait caster. A lot of fisherman learn on the spinning reel first and never try a bait caster. Everybody can identify the two by looking at them, but we’ll talk about the differences while fishing.

Spinning reels are easy to use and don’t take very much practice for beginners. The spool spins while being reeled and stays still while casting. Basically the line comes off the reel in hoops and when the lure hits the water, the line stops. One of the problems with these hoops is line rubs on the eyes of your pole and slows it down. Another is memory. Those hoops can remain after casting which leaves slack in the line. It allows casting into the wind and is very forgiving with tangles. The spool itself is larger than a bait caster which allows for more line. The bigger spool and more line creates a faster retrieval speed. Gears play a big part of this, but the spool size and amount of line is usually overlooked.

Bait casters function completely different. When casting, the spool actually spins releasing the fishing line in a straight line. This helps the line go evenly through the eyes of the pole. The line will release as fast as the weight on the end will pull it. This means a large weight can be thrown very far with little resistance. The problem is stopping that spool from turning. As anybody that has used a bait caster knows, when your lure hits the water or any other object the spool keeps turning and the line binds up. This is called a bird’s nest and can be very irritating. A lot of anglers become discouraged with it and stop using them completely, but learning the reel’s braking system is key to casting.

Now for the advantages and disadvantages of both. Bait casters are superior for pulling big fish out of thick cover. Spinning reels are better for light tackle and sensitivity. They are more accurate for long casts, but bait casters are more accurate in short flipping situations. Getting precise casts in heavy cover or under obstructions the bait caster wins. They also win for long casts with baits over 1/4 ounce. Newer spinning reels with one finger trigger systems have made them the easiest and most popular for all around fishing, but the newer braking systems on bait casters have helped anglers add them to their fishing arsenal. Whichever one you prefer, adding the other technique can help catch more fish in certain situations. I suggest practicing with both on land first and stick with it.

For more advice on fishing reels check out our forum at www.FishMich.com

Choosing The Best Fishing Line

fishing line

fishing tips and techniques

Fishing line is one of the most important tools for fishing any species, but unfortunately the most overlooked. You can see the importance in how many choices are on the shelf at your local bait shop. Companies are putting a lot of money these days into developing new and better lines and marketing all of the benefits to the angler.

When I was a younger fisherman, I went to the store and bought the cheapest line in whatever size I thought I needed to catch the fish I was targeting. Then one late night crammed into a dirty hotel room with 5 other fishing buddies, we tested all of our different lines. We took the end of the line and tied it to a fish scale. Whoever’s line made it to the highest weight before breaking (in the middle, not at the knot), won ten bucks. They were all close in the test strength, but none actually came close to the right amount. My cheap 12 lb. test monofilament broke at about 3 lbs. of steady pulling. After that weekend I decided to look into my fishing line a little more.

You should consider a lot more than just strength when choosing a new fishing line. Abrasion resisting, Stretch, Knot Strength, Weight, Visibility, and of course Price all play a role in choice. And, no fishing line is the best choice for all conditions, locations or species. Having said that, I will point out a few characteristics of the most common three fishing lines available, without naming brand names.

Monofilament Fishing Line

This is the most common line used by fisherman. It accounts for 2/3 of all fishing lines sold, but that is probably because of cost. It can be much cheaper than any other choice. It is also a very light line which makes it a great choice for top water presentations. That is about all I can say that is good about mono. It absorbs water, which loosens knots and reduces sensitivity. It stretches quite a bit. Just snag a tree or rock with it and pull. You’ll see how far you can pull your pole before it actually snaps. Mono also starts to degrade and become brittle when left in the sun. You should replace it often. After talking bad about it, I still use it. I spool all my reels with mono first and then tie on a different choice for about the last 50 yards. This saves money and helps keep other lines tight to the reel with no slippage. Like everything in life, remember that the cheap monofilament lines are far worse than the more expensive.

Braided Fishing Line

In the old days, this was the only thing available and they were highly abrasive and had low knot strength. Nowadays, Superlines or Microfilaments have progressed braids into a much more user friendly and popular option. The smaller diameter compared to other types makes it less visable and allows more line on the reel. It also has very little stretch, which gives the angler high sensitivity and more hook ups. It’s weight allows lures to dive quicker and deeper and provides longer casts. The biggest problem with Braid is a palomar knot is required. It’s not that big of a deal to some, but the novice angler can get discouraged by this. It also is highly abrasive. You will notice the frays in your line if fishing in thick cover or rocky rivers. Today’s Braided fishing lines have come a long way and will continue to improve. It is a very good one to pair with mono because of price and slippage on a reel.

Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Fluorocarbon is typically the most expensive of the three, but does have some great advantages. Number one is being nearly invisible. No matter the thickness fluorocarbon is much less visible than the same weight line of other types. It doesn’t deteriorate in the sun or with other chemicals and is very resistant to abrasions. It stretches less than mono, but a little more than braids. It does sink in water so it helps getting baits down quickly, but also can become stiff.

All these lines have advantages and disadvantages. After experimenting with many lines, you will find that you catch more fish with certain ones in certain situations. I’ve actually spooled all three on a reel at once. Mono first to add bulk to the reel, then braid for strength and sensitivity, then a fluorocarbon leader for really clear water. I typically only use fluorocarbon for leader because of my cheapness, but really like using braids for sensitivity. I’ve stood next to a friend fishing mono for bass while I had a superline spooled. He never even felt a bite while I reeled in fish after fish. He was using one of my poles though. (sucker)

Leave any comments on fishing line below. Let us know what you prefer. And as always, check out www.FishMich.com for local reports and conditions.

 

 

Finding a charter boat captain

best fishing charters

Lakes For Fishing

A man hiring a charter is a lot like his wife going to the spa. He is anxious to go for weeks and rarely comes back in a bad mood. I enjoy every part of fishing, from finding my own spots to using my own tackle, but as my wife says “it’s just nice to be pampered once in a while”. Now, you won’t get quite the same pampering on a charter boat (I’ve yet to meet a captain that’s gonna give you a massage), but it’s better attention in my eyes. To not drive the boat while fishing, not search the sonar constantly, not check gps point after point. Just sit back and watch your rod and when that moment comes reel in the fish.

It’s not a sure fire way to catch fish, but nothing is. I’ve had friends  that wanted to hire a charter, but don’t want to pay for something and then get skunked. That happens. The main thing you have to remember is when fishing nothing is definite. Your captain will try his or her best to catch you fish because they want you to be happy and they know, no matter how fun it was, you will always remember not catching a fish.

Here are some good starting points to finding a charter service.

First it depends on what type of fish you want to target. From salmon to walleye or smallmouth bass, every charter offers something different. If you aren’t sure, check out youtube or other sites to watch videos that will help you decide.

Next is area. Different lakes and sections of lakes are more popular than others. Lake Erie for walleye, Grand Traverse Bay for smallmouth or Manistee for salmon.

Now that it’s narrowed down, check listings on the web and in local phone books. FishMich.com has a listing area for guides and another good spot would be the Michigan Charter Boats Association. Check out any information you can get on them. Check local bait shops for who they recommend or ask about a certain captain. Some bait shops even offer charter services or work with specific ones. I like asking in a fishing forum for suggestions. Referrals are the best source, so be sure to refer your captain to friends after a successful trip.

This is a start on finding a captain. If you have any other suggestions feel free to leave a comment.