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.

Slamming Spring Walleyes

walleye

Walleye Fishing

Walleye can be an elusive fish many times of year, but spring time is definitely the easiest time to catch trophies. Many people flock to Michigan rivers as walleye enter to spawn for that chance at a big female. But, what about those walleye filled lakes that don’t connect to rivers. That’s one place that doesn’t get as much pressure.

As water temperature reaches 40 degrees walleye move to the shallows just like many other species. They typically spawn in 1-3 feet of water in sandy or gravelly areas of the lake. Submerged islands and feeder creeks are hot spots this time of year, but so are sandy beaches. During the warmth of daytime the large females typically head to deeper water and then return to beds at night, but the smaller males tend to stay in the shallows all day. Like bass, walleye will protect their beds aggressively and attack anything that comes close. After done spawning, they move to deep water and rest for about a week. Next is feeding time. Post spawn walleyes will move back to the shallows and feed constantly to replenish their lost energy.

Knowing all this will help come up with a plan to catch these tasty fish. I prefer to leave the boat at home this time of year. The docks typically aren’t in yet and you’re going to be fishing close to shore anyways. I’ve done well at public beaches that are shallow  and then have a sudden drop off to deep water. On the right day fish can be caught all day long, but the bigger ones are easiest at night. Put on your waders and head out, casting back towards shore. Spring time walleyes will hit a lot of bright colors. Try jigs with twister tails in many colors or live minnows or night crawlers. Small crank baits also work, but they have to be shallow divers. Whichever presentation you chose, make sure it is fished slowly. The fish are active this time of year, but the water is still cold, which slows down the fish.

This is a great time of year for Michigan Fishing. There are many fish available and choosing which to target can be hard, but I recommend you give Spring Walleyes a shot.

If you’re interested in spring walleyes leave us a comment below and get on www.FishMich.com for reports and tips in our Fishing Forum

 

Michigan Fishing Fever

Michigan Fishing

Late Winter Ice

Michigan in late march can feel like Chinese water torture to anglers. Northern Michigan wakes up to a couple more inches of snow each morning and lower Michigan looks bare and frozen. All  winter, cabin fever can be cured by ice fishing the numerous in-land lakes, but come March 15th walleye and pike season ends, the ice is getting water logged and steelies are spotty at best.

It’s this time of year that I start itching to get on an open lake and pitch a worm into vegetation for a big bass or pull the planer boards alongside the boat trolling for walleyes. We all go through it at some point..

The most common way to avoid fishing depression is to start going through your gear. Get the tackle box all cleaned and sorted out. Check all your poles for imperfections. Oil your reels and tune crank baits. I like to start reading spring fishing articles, watching videos on youtube and checking out maps of lakes to plan summer fishing trips. Kind of like making a wish list of lakes that I want to fish this year.

The problem is, I already have all of this preparation done. I did all of this around Christmas when the lakes were just starting to freeze. I’ve been sporadically fishing for winter steelhead, so those rigs are all set to go. So I guess I’ll sit here and be tortured by every new snow flake that falls and keep wishing for that huge spring melt off.

Next blog we’ll be talking Steelhead Fishing in Northern Michigan so stayed tuned to Michigan Fishing Talk.

Thanks for reading if you have any comments please feel free to leave them below or check out FishMich forum to read member fishing reports.