Michigan Fly Fishing Guides for the Muskegon River Steelhead, Salmon, and Trout. Muskegon River.

Michigan Fly Fishing Guides for the Muskegon River Steelhead, Salmon, and Trout. Muskegon River.
Betts Guide Service - "The first and only name in guided fishing in Michigan". Guided Fly Fishing on Michigan's Muskegon River, Pere Marquette River, and Manistee Rivers for Salmon, Trout and Steelhead. (231) 519-7348

Sunday, April 28, 2019

How to Catch - Michigan Fall Salmon and Steelhead

Pere Marquette Salmon Fishing
Pere Marquette River King Salmon
As the days become shorter, nights cooler, our focus begins to change to big chrome king salmon entering the river.  Fall is the time year for Chinook salmon, Coho, and Steelhead on the lower Muskegon River, Pere Marquette, and Big Manistee River. 

There are several techniques that work great for silver king salmon.  Casting crank baits such as Rapalas or deep Junior Thundersticks.  Casting lures downstream quartering across the front or behind log jams makes for some insane crushing strikes!!  Hands down,  the double head shake and ensuing runs are nothing less than pure adrenaline!    Pere Marquette Salmon Fishing Report

Pere Marquette River Salmon Fishing.
Salmon Love Fire Tiger Thunder sticks! 
My second best technique is floating fresh salmon skein under a bobber or float. Fishing soft water in the deeper holes and pockets can create amazing results.  The most interesting thing about float fishing for salmon is that often times, salmon barely take the float down. Often times, the float barely twitches!  Chinook usually only bite two to three times, the spit out the skein.  The key is bounce, bounce, set the hell out of the hook!  I mean Jimmy Houston style!  Cross their eyes! You can feel bones crack when the hook finds its place.

  Quality hooks tied with 20 lb fluorocarbon and an egg loop knot to hold the skein eggs. connect to a quality swivel, a clear plastic bead, 3/8 egg sinker on the 30 lb braided Power pro main line. 

The lower Pere Marquette, Muskegon, and Manistee makes for some great salmon fishing in the early season.  Check out early season King Salmon in late August into late September,  You won't be disappointed!   Michigan Fishing Trips for Salmon

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Muskegon River Trout - Fly Fishing Hatches

Trout Fishing Tips
Trout Fishing Tips for larger Trout. 
Sucker spawn is for kids! It's great opportunity to introduce your son or daughter into fly fishing. Trout fishing during the sucker's spawn has constant fish landing action with the small 8" - 12" trout. They're also sure to hook into a couple big trout! They're great for kids to learn the fundamentals of fly fishing and have a great time on the water. This technique is very easy to learn. Half days are also perfect for this technique.

For those of you interested in trophy brown trout fishing, we are extremely excited about the upcoming sucker spawn! If you look back through the fishing report, you'll see we have landed some giant resident brown trout throughout the winter and early spring. All of these big second year trout will be in the shallows feeding on sucker spawn and emerging steelhead/ salmon fry. (pic below) Sucker spawn fly fishing is an angler's best opportunity by far, to land a trophy brown trout. Sight fishing to these big browns is an adrenaline rush! You're hunting trophy browns!

Trout fishing the sucker spawn in late May. Without question, my favorite time of the year for trophy brown trout on the Muskegon River! Sight fishing giant pig browns feeding behind spawning Redhorse suckers. It's one of the only times of the year that browns are less wary during daylight hours. These trout gorge on sucker spawn and nymphs that dislodged.

Coming up in late May, early June, we have the Gray Drake spinner fall offering some of the best dry fly fishing there is in the mid west!

If you're on the fence about booking a guided steelhead - trout trip in May, get on it because this May Steelhead fishing is going to be one of the best ever to remember!

Epic Steelhead Weekend : (4/29) Perfect fishing conditions and weather! Water levels are dropping, clarity is improving greatly, and steelhead are in the upper sections between the Dam and Thornapple big time! It's like Steelhead Shangri-La! As in, there are lots of steelhead and walleye all over the place! Best techniques have been chuck-n-duck fly fishing drifting eggs and stone fly nymphs along the bottom near spawning areas. There are also plenty of trout and Walleye behind spawning steelhead. Also starting to see a handful of drop-back hens. Majority of steelhead have either been chrome tight hens or some colored males.

Walleye have been taking egg sucking leech flies, or chartreuse wobble glo's drifted along the bottom in some of the slower currents. I'm sure casting Shad Raps should also work great. Curly tail grubs on a lead ball jig is one of my favorites.

Steelhead conditions: Update: ALL of the launches are open on the Muskegon River. Water levels have dropped significantly today, and fishing has been on fire for both steelhead and walleye! We were well into double digits of steelhead today. Most had not begun to spawn. Walleye opens this weekend if you would like to fill your cooler with these delicious morsels! (5 per day, over 15")

We have half day afternoons available for walleye for those interested.

(4/23) Today, fishing was greatly improved!! We caught a lot of steelhead today on egg flies. Most of the fish were chrome and seemed to be a few days from spawning yet. The Muskegon continues to slow drop water level, making for very good fishing. When we have been able to get on the Muskegon, fishing has been outstanding! We are happy to be home again and are looking forward to fishing with everyone this week!

Water levels are obviously high but really not that bad as conditions go. Clarity is decent, 2- 4' with a clay stain. The steelhead haven't seen any offerings in well over a week, therefore fishing has been great. Both float fishing and flies have been productive. Steelhead are in all stages of the game, prespawn (tight) hens, spawning, and drop backs. Lots of gorgeous, dime bright fish straight from the lake.

All of the normal spawning locations all have a lot of steelhead on them digging deep redds. This upcoming week should offer some of the best steelhead fishing that we've had in years! Steelhead fishing should remain great well into late May.

(4/7) Water temperatures are warming quickly and the ice finally melted from the reservoirs. We should see a fairly rapid spike in the water temperature. DNR has finished shocking. Walleye are spawning heavily and are very thick from the dam to Pine St. Steelhead numbers are usually three days behind walleye. Walleye spawn at 38 degrees, steelhead at 42. Big pushes of chrome in the lower river!

(3/29) Steelhead fishing has been improving daily! Longer daylight, and warmer days are beginning to get the steelhead on the move. The first sign of the spring migration are chrome males, we are catching several of these each day. Water level is normal for this time of year, and is back to to clear again.

We are consistently catching plenty of steelhead and trout to keep your day interesting! Hens have been spawning in deeper pockets, or deep soft water. Trophy Brown trout are becoming more and more common. We can not wait to see these huge browns during the sucker spawn in late May!!

(3/24) For our guides, this is our favorite time of year! The time when Spring Steelhead are here in good numbers but, before the seasonal fly fishing gravel guides are out in full force, and it's hard to find a place to fish. A time to enjoy the peaceful two weeks before the crowds of spring arrive. When you can still have the river to yourself and land a lot of steelhead. We have quietly been landing numbers of fish each day, away from other anglers.. Steelhead are beginning to arrive in good numbers in the deeper holes and softer water edges. Stone flies are starting to emerge and gravitate near shore lines, both steelhead and trout have taken notice.

Float fishing centerpins with bead head stone flies has been working well. Steelhead have been off the bite on spawn but very keyed on jigs tipped with wax worms, or stone flies drifted under a float. Fishing should only improve over the next few days!

(3/1) Spring Steelhead fishing was outstanding today! There were very few boats on the water, and we landed steelhead in every spot we fished! Much warmer than average with bright sunny days. The Muskegon River has a nice, slight tea stain color making for some outstanding spring steelhead fishing! Longer daylight is making steelhead aggressive and wanting to move to spawning locations.

Hope for Fly Fisherman: Starting to see the first signs of life with late winter stone flies starting to emerge. Stone flies have been a staple fly pattern over the last few days. Fry patterns also working. Citrus clown is always my first choice for dingy water but big nymphs also work great! Things are starting to wake up!!

If you're sitting in your office cubicle, bored, or sitting at home, NOW is the time to get out of the house and fish! Spring dates are filling quickly. We are only offering half day winter specials until March 1st. Consistently landing at least one steelhead per hour on the Muskegon. It's a great time to be on the water with little angling pressure and lots of fish. Fishing has been excellent with last week's high water which shuffled the deck and brought in lots of new steelhead from the lower river. Spring Chromers coming in from the lake with more to come!

Yesterday while on the water, we saw our first true sign of Spring, It wasn't a robin but the late winter - Spring Black Stone fly. During late February we begin to see Stone fly movement throughout the river. The Dark Knight Stone is a great stone fly imitation that also does very well in normal water levels. I tie this pattern primarily for Steelhead and Trout. It's a great looking bug with movement and a true nymph profile. This fly fishes best drifted as chuck & duck or floating line with an indy rig. You want Stone Flies... We have Stone Flies!

Winter tailwater for Steelhead in Michigan.

Unlike the Grand River, White River, and Pere Marquette Rivers, the Muskegon is a tailwater fishery, this means the Muskegon River never freezes! This allows us to guide anglers throughout the winter months for Steelhead and Trout. Fly fishing during the Winter is a beautiful time to be on the water with good numbers of Steelhead and lots of wildlife along the rivers banks. We are also now offering Centerpin instructional to learn Centerpin float fishing for Spring Steelhead!

 Warmer temperatures, higher water levels, and just plain phenomenal winter steelhead fishing! Last week's unreasonable warm temperatures gave us some great fishing weather and bumped up much needed water levels. Warmer, high water certainly shuffled the deck and made for some exceptional steelhead fishing. Darker winter steelhead moved up river, while bright fresh chromes poured into the river from Lake Michigan. Beginning stages of the spring steelhead run, longer daylight, and higher water gets fish wanting to change locations and begin to move. Steelhead fishing should remain very good over the next couple of weeks.

 Fishing is outstanding at this time, one steelhead or more per hour. Winter Steelhead at it's best with perfect water levels and a new push of fresh fish. Looking forward to some great fishing over the next few days! Steelhead seemed much more aggressive than the past few days and eager to bite. Almost all the fish were taken in the first fifteen drifts and were located in the center to top of the runs. (Fish eager to move the migration up river) Today's technique was float fishing chartreuse spawn sacks and covering lots of water. The results were well worth the efforts, double digits of bright fish. We are landing well over a steelhead per hour with this technique!

(12/10) Big numbers of Steelhead entering the lower sections of river with a lot of steelhead moving through. Water levels and temperatures are above normal making for excellent migrations and fish movement. Steelhead fishing has been very good over the past three days with the higher water levels. Lots of new fish in the river system.

(12/3) December Steelhead fishing should be fantastic this season! The Muskegon River watershed finally received a good amount of rain yesterday evening bringing water levels up to near normal. This should certainly shuffle the deck and bring in more chromers. Conditions should continue to improve with water levels.

Stages of Steelhead life cycle. Egg to Smolt.

During December, stages of a Steelhead's life cycle are very important to the fly fisherman. Eggs and eyed eggs are a major food source for both resident Trout and Steelhead. Egg patterns in apricot, steelhead orange, and oregon cheese represent represent fertilized or freshly spawned eggs. Nuke eggs represent "dead" or unfertilized eggs with the white halo around the egg pattern with a center nuke (nucleus) dot, usually bright orange or red (Blood dot) Egg Flies

Late March - April is the time of year that the Salmon fry start to hatch and show themselves in big numbers. Salmon / Steelhead fry and parr are another favored morsel as they are readily available this time of year. Salmon / Steelhead fry live in the gravel and are are high in protein, and don't swim very well. Small streamers or fry patterns drifted along the bottom also work great. Fry are always striped with a mottled tan or soft green, with parr marks.

(12/3) Float fishing and centerpin angling has been outstanding over the past few days. Good numbers of steelhead are throughout the system. Precision casts and light tackle techniques has made for some outstanding steelhead fishing over the last few days. We are just starting to see good numbers of bright chrome later fall run steelhead. Late November and December should be fantastic with new steelhead entering the river each day! November is by far our favorite month of the year, Hard charging, chrome bullets that hammer drifted spawn, flies, or nymphs under a float.

Michigan Fall Steelhead - Over the past week, we have received steady rainfall and higher water levels. The Muskegon has a good amount of fall steelhead throughout the river system. Over the past ten days, we have been focusing on fishing floats and spawn. Hooking / landing over a fish per hour, making for some outstanding float fishing! I believe this to be our first good push of the fall migration. During normal years, peak fall steelhead seems to be November 25th through late December. I am certainly looking forward to good numbers of chrome beauties this fall season.

Come Join us for World Class fishing opportunities for Fall Steelhead and Trout on Michigan's most famous rivers, Muskegon River, Pere Marquette, Big Manistee, and White River. Our guides excel in innovative fly fishing and float fishing - Center pin techniques for Great Lakes Steelhead. (231) 519-7348
(11/26) December, without a doubt, is my favorite time of year on the Muskegon River for fly fishing! Spawning king salmon in the upper river offer tremendeous angling opportunities, not just salmon but for trout. Thirty to fifty trout days can be had during this time of year! Nymphing natural looking Otter's eggs, behind spawning salmon. Trout fishing can be incredible now for numbers of quality trout, and is mostly overlooked by anglers.

Spawning salmon that are digging redds dislodge many aquatic insects and nymphs. They also and release piles of salmon eggs, from that salmon, or preciously spawning hens. Rotting flesh of dead or dying salmon also offers trout another meal.

Fall Steelhead, the fix for our angling addiction, enter the rivers in mid-October. Late October is also a great time for the crown jewel, Fall steelhead. Spawning lake-run brown trout are also milling about behind salmon. Migratory browns spawn from mid October, November, and well into December. Come join us on the river for fantastic scenery, great fishing, and memories that will last a lifetime!

Power lines, and Gaza fishing very well. Boat House down to Bigelow also has plenty of salmon to go around. Salmon fishing on the Muskegon River should continue until the first part of November. Everything was off to a slow start with the hot summer and exceptionally warm fall. Expect the Muskegon to peak for salmon near Oct. 20th.

Steelhead are not far behind. Back bouncing the lower sections, near Giles, Mill Iron, and Maple Island is starting to produce a lot of chrome fall steelhead. Floats and spawn is also working very well with the low, clear conditions.. Long drifts and light leaders, smaller 3 and 4 egg spawn sacks have been key. Look for plenty of steelhead to enter the river in a hurry with the next rain. Both Steelhead and salmon are staging in Muskegon Lake preparing to run the gauntlet on the next rain.

(9/30) Good numbers of salmon in the Manistee and Pere Marquette River. It isn't as many as last year, but plenty of fish to play with! Water levels have been low and clear making for some outstanding sight fishing. Our focus has been on Chinook and Coho salmon, but I am starting to see fall steelhead scattered behind the redds.

Small egg patterns, brown stone flies, and dark nymphs have been working well. Basic chuck -n- duck presentations have been working best. Long casts to spooky fish, and lighter than average tippet has been the key. Thundersticking in the morning has also been really good until the sun comes over the trees.

Muskegon River is still far behind the other rivers up north. Very few salmon in the system, however, Giles Rd, Mill Iron, and Bridgeton have been fishing well with bait fishing techniques such as casting thundersticks, minnow raps, and skein under a float.

Bridgeton, Maple Island and Giles Rd all have fair numbers of salmon. Casting cranks is king on the lower Muskegon River. We still have a few open dates. It's "Game On!" for salmon. Come and get some! We look forward to fishing with you!

(9/27) During the past few days, abrupt weather changes, cold nights and heavy rains, have created a hardcore salmon migration! Water is up and fish are on the move. Middle sections of the Pere Marquette River, Indian Bridge, Taylor Road, and Rainbow Rapids, now have salmon in decent numbers in the deeper holes. Fly fishing is a popular method for obtaining these fish. Casting stick baits and cranks also works well in the morning. The last three days have brought good numbers to the middle and upper river and salmon have begun to spawn in the gravel areas.

We are excited to begin our fall salmon season and are looking forward to some outstanding fishing opportunities this fall! We have five, full time salmon guides on staff. Here are some available dates for either fly fishing, floats/skein, or casting thundersticks on the lower river. "We catch big Fish!"

Muskegon, Pere Marquette, and Big Manistee Rivers offer World Class fishing opportunities for Salmon and Steelhead during the Fall Months! Manistee & Pere Marquette River Kings!

Get CRANKED UP for casting Thunderstick for early season King Salmon on the Muskegon, Big Manistee, and Pere Marquette rivers!

We are excited to begin fishing early run king salmon on West Michigan rivers. Violent strikes, and big chrome kings that jump and pull hard! ... Michigan Fall Steelhead and Salmon are very acrobatic and take flies and spawn well!

Only a few short weeks and the Chinook Salmon will be making their first migrations up the Pere Marquette and Manistee Rivers. The first big migration of king salmon on the lower PM and Manistee comes when Lake Michigan makes it's first big "Flip", hard East winds or NorthEast winds push warm water to Wisconsin, leaving cold water near the shoreline of Ludington and Manistee.. Bingo! You guessed it, Chrome Kings in the river... This usually occurs around August 20th although many years, I have caught good number earlier casting Thundersticks or drifting skein under a float. Join us when the chrome kings come in! If you've never tried early Chinook salmon, you really ought to give them a shot. You'll never forget their strength, speed, and sheer aggression.

Stripping large streamers tight against the bank has produced some savage brown trout and very nice smallmouth throughout the Muskegon river watershed.

( 8/9) Muskegon River Trout fishing continues to be consistently productive with good numbers of quality trout.Cinnamon caddis has been the main stay of fly fishing. Caddis dries and Caddis emergers going throughout the day and evenings. Caddis super hatches in the evenings! Isonychia and light cahills (Stenonema Ithaca) producing some of the biggest fish. Nymphing has also been producing good numbers. Caddis pupa, baetis nymphs, and pheasant tails all working well fished near the bottom. Crayfish patterns are also working well for both trout and smallmouth.

Top Flies this week: X-Caddis (# 16) Caddis Emerger (#16- 18's)

Z-lon pupa (#16-18) Rusty Soft hackle (#16) Iso Parachute (# 12)

Now offering Summertime Hatch Master's Trout Special:

4:30pm till dark $250.00 - One or two anglers. Want to be on the Muskegon River during the Gray Drake Spinner fall or the Caddis emergence? Do you want to learn to stalk trophy rising Browns and Rainbows? We also teach anglers about the streamside entomology and the bugs that trophy trout seek.

Muskegon River trout fishing is available through the summer.

Caddis species make up the bulk of bio mass trout feed in the Croton Tail water.

New bubbler system should improve trout fishing during warm months.

June & July are the the time for Dry fly fishing with the Isonychia Bicolor. (Iso's are a "husky"- Larger Mayfly similar to Gray Drakes but more of a purple hue with smoke clear wings, a thick variegated body, and dark front legs, light rear legs) Most spinner falls occur just be for dark. Not as prolific as Gray Drakes but fish will find them!

Isonychias also always spinner fall on or near riffles or fast current. Muskegon's most overlooked hatch, typically found in the middle to lower sections of the river. Thornapple - Henning Park.

Isonychia Bicolor- June-July Evening Hatch Fishing ( Mahogany Dun)

River perfect level-2200 -cfs-

66 degree water temp.

Isonychia occur on the Muskegon during low light periods, usually in the lower sections of the river below Thornapple, sometimes well below Newaygo.

May & June are the the time for Dry fly fishing with the Gray Drake Spinners. ( Gray Drakes are a mid-sized may fly with smoke clear wings, a thin variegated body, and a white ring around the eyes.) Most spinner falls occur just be for dark.

Drakes also always spinner fall on a riffle or fast current. Muskegon's most overlooked hatch, typically found in the middle to lower sections of the river. Thornapple - Henning Park.

Gray Drake Spinner - May - July Trout Evening Hatch Fishing

(Gray Drake Spinner -Mahogany Dun)

River perfect level-2450-cfs-

60 degree water temp.

Steelhead Fry & Sucker Spawn During the day- Large Streamers and fry patterns near the bank. Shaded pockets hold the fish! Sink-tip fly lines have been the key.

Nymphing with sucker spawn patterns and small nymphs has also been producing numbers of Muskegon River Trout.

Dry flies & Drake spinners in the evenings. Some of the best hatches occur as the sun drops below the tree line with low light.

Sucker Spawn Nymphing is going strong! Good numbers of Red Horse Suckers starting to spawn creating a smorgasbord for resident trout. This is my favorite time of year for large trout! Great hatches, sucker spawn nymphing, and wonderful sink tip streamer fishing for BIG chaser Browns! Mid-May to Mid-June are primary dates for Muskegon River trout. I consider this time of year a quality experience that offers outstanding fly fishing!

Now offering Summertime Hatch Master's Trout Special:

4:30pm till dark $250.00 - One or two anglers. Want to be on the Muskegon River during the Gray Drake Spinner fall or the Caddis emergence? Do you want to learn to stalk trophy rising Browns and Rainbows? We also teach anglers about the streamside entomology and the bugs that trophy trout seek.

(5/28) It seems the Muskegon River water levels are dropping nicely. I took a walk down to the Dam this morning, and the water clarity was perfect. Water is only slightly below normal. Over the next week or so, streamer / sucker spawn fishing should be outstanding with millions of Chinook Salmon fry lining the backs. Any pockets of slack current with shade is loaded with fry presenting enormous amount of food for both Trout, Walleye, and Smallmouth Bass. There are also fair numbers of Redhorse suckers continuing to spawn. Perfect nymphing for large trout.

Evening hatches have been fantastic with the warm, humid weather. Gray Drake spinner falls have been excellent during the past few evenings.

(5/5) Muskegon River Hatches: March Browns, Caddis, Quill Gordons, Black quills, and Sulphers. Gray Drakes coming soon! We still have good numbers of steelhead in the system on shallow gravel redds. Key locations are holding fish. Chinook Salmon fry are everywhere against the banks. Resident Trout are feeding on fry and parr big time - Making for some fantastic Streamer fishing during the next several weeks.

Muskegon River Trout - There are lots of suckers spawning and encouraging the bigger browns and rainbows to feed on nymphs behind sucker redds. Excellent numbers of Gray Drakes seen in the last couple of days, mostly during the afternoon period. Many of stocked Trout targeting dry fly Caddis with an occasional big fish on the surface. As water temperatures increase, larger Trout will come up. Sulpher emergence is soon to come. Streamer stripping with salmon fry patterns has been working well for larger Trout - We need warmer water to get the big boys to chase streamers.


I am pleased to announce that after a long "dry spell" and some super ultra low and clear water, we finally have our first batch of May steelhead. Water levels are up today, around 3000 cfs. This is great news as higher water levels help steelhead spawn in primary spawning areas and greatly improves fly fishing techniques,

(It makes it easier to drift flies through gravel) Steelhead fishing should be greatly improved through the first part of May. Small egg flies and tiny fry patterns have been fishing well on and behind spawning gravel.

Hatchery Trout "It's what's for dinner"

Streamer fishing season is apon us!

(4/4) Fly fishing has been very good with double digit hook-ups each day. Pocket water has been fishing the best in the bright sunshine. Gravel fishing has been off the charts if you get one the musical chairs. Good numbers of Steelhead are also holding behind the gravel and dark water. There are still plenty of steelhead entering the river and moving through the system. Cold nights are helping to prolong the run.

(3/27) Steelhead fishing has been epic the past three days. Water levels are now perfect at 4600cfs! Large numbers of bright spring Steelhead have been spawning in the deeper gravel redds. These make easy drifting targets and some hefty digit days! (20 plus or more hook-ups!) Drifting flies through deep spawning redds has produced hard strikes and chrome fish! Warmer weather last week has these fish spawning in a big way creating some excellent fly fishing opportunities in comfortable, warmer weather. It has just felt great catching Steelhead when it's 70 and sunny! Spring is finally here with perfect flows and March Steelhead! April Steelhead should be one of the best ever on record. Fish are also larger this year.

Check out this great Blog / Article from Jimmy's trip last week!

Muskegon River Mom's Adventure

We offer guided spinning gear light tackle, floats and spawn, and fly fishing charters for Spring Steelhead on the Muskegon River, White River,

Pere Marquette, and Big Manistee River.

Give us a call (231) 519-7348

(3/25) Fly Fishing has been outstanding the past three days! Higher water has brought lots of chrome spring steelhead into the upper river. Starting to see good numbers of winter fish beginning to spawn in the riffles. Water temps are 45- 50 degrees. Numbers of winter steelhead are starting to "crater" or dig redds in the shallow riffles.

Higher water gives steelhead great security and allows them to spawn, unmolested. The fly bite is usually fantastic for steelhead on deeper redds with a bit of murk or stain to the water. Both Croton and Hardy reservoir are completely ice free at this time allowing water temps to increase. Walleye are beginning to spawn big time on the Muskegon and White Rivers. Chrome Steelhead are here with plenty more to come!


(3/9) Welcome to Spring Steelhead 2012! Things are about to change! Longer days, higher water levels, and warmer than average water temperatures have both the steelhead and walleye on the move! Over the past three days, we have experienced some outstanding trout and steelhead fishing! Wally Walter will not be far behind.

The bump in water levels over the past several days is a great sign of new chrome bullets entering the lower river. This usually occurs in later March, along with warmer water, it is earlier this year. I have seen more than a dozen active spawning redds. I haven't seen any fish on them yet but they are very polished and dug deep. My best guess is that Muskegon River Steelhead are getting their business finished at night or later afternoon when water temps are at the peak. We have landed several hens that were spilling eggs. These are most certainly hold over, winter steelhead.

I think the ten day forecast should be outstanding, and we should should start seeing spring chromers within the next few days. I'm looking forward to some bright fish!


(2/12) Over the last couple of days, we have been landing a above average amount of fat, egg laidened, pre spawn female steelhead. I attribute that to the warmer, mild winter. There is a good chance of an earlier spring with steelhead beginning to spawn in the end of February, early March, in synch with the walleye migration.

Step on board for one of the best Fall / Winter Steelhead runs in over a decade! If you ever wanted to learn to steelhead fish, now is the time! Steelhead fishing has been very good over the past week making this December one of the best migrations in over a decade. Both the numbers of steelhead and the average size have been larger that years past. This trend should offer tremendous fishing opportunities through December and the winter months. The long-range weather looks to have our run of above normal temperatures ending and seasonal conditions becoming the norm. Steelhead fishing forecast looks excellent!

Water flow and levels are normal with clarity being excellent making for some great floats and spawn fishing. Good numbers of steelhead are spread throughout the river system. Fishing should be excellent through December with a great number of steelhead already in the system with more to come!

11 lb Lake Run Brown Trout starting to spawn on the Muskegon River. Late Ttrout and Browns beginning to spawn in late November and December. December should offer excellent Browns and BIG Steelhead!!

Floats & Spawn -(Baitcaster or spinning) Our second favorite technique that produces numbers of steelhead is floats and spawn. Float fishing provides a long, perfect drift that presents your offering well away from the boat. Float fishing is the ultimate "stealth" technique for steelhead in clear water. Float fishing is a faster paces technique that allows anglers to fish miles of river per day and cover lots of water searching for active steelhead.

Centerpin float fishing - Float fishing is fast becoming the predominant means of fishing rivers and streams no matter what the species. Europeans have fished this way for years but it has only been in the last 30 or so years that North Americans have really embraced this style of fishing. In and around the Great Lakes, Float Fishing is becoming the preferred method for taking Steelhead, Salmon and Brown Trout. This simple method of fishing has made exceptionally successful anglers from average fishermen. If traditional Fly Fishing were considered one of the Finer Arts, then Float Fishing would most certainly have to be considered the Deadly Art. Our guides excel in Centerpin float fishing for Great Lakes Steelhead and Trout.

Muskegon River Smallmouth: In the meantime, Hot and humid weather means Smallmouth Bass. Good numbers of molting crayfish in the Muskegon River mean excellent Smallie fishing, a smorgasporg for "Bronzebacks!"Whether you enjoy stripping streamers, poppers on the surface, or casting a spinnerbait to shoreline structure, Smallmouth bass make an enjoyable day on the water.

Cooler weather and rain means hatch fishing - Caddis emergence and terrestrials make for some exciting dry fly fishing. Keep your dry fly gear at the ready so you can experience some fantastic late summer dry fly fishing. Nymphing and swining soft-hackles is also great this time of year!

Seasonal Fishing Schedule for the Muskegon and Manistee River.

Fall Chinook Salmon: Aug. 20th - Oct. 20th Fall Steelhead: Oct. 20th -

Dec. 25th. Winter Steelhead: Dec. 25th - March 1st.

Spring Steelhead: March 1st - May 20th. Major Trout Hatches:

May 25 - July 1st. SmallMouth Bass: July 1st - Sept. 10th

Water Levels are 1800 cfs - Wading is an option at this time.

Sucker Spawn Nymphing is beginning to start! Good numbers of Red Horse Suckers starting to spawn creating a smorgasbord for resident trout. This is my favorite time of year for large trout! Great hatches, sucker spawn nymphing, and wonderful sink tip streamer fishing for BIG chaser Browns! Mid-May to Mid-June are primary dates for Muskegon River trout. I consider this time of year a quality experience that offers outstanding fly fishing!

(5/3) Water temperatures are beginning to warm and steelhead are becoming active. Both methods, floats and spawn in the dark water, and flies on the gravel flats, are both working well.The majority of steelhead are moving closer to spawning gravel and seeking pocket water. We saw a fair amount of steelhead at the boat house riffle and across from Thornapple launch yesterday. This means things are beginning to break loose with good numbers of steelhead spawning. The dark water or winter water still has many, many fish waiting to spawn. Plump pre spawn hens have been most of the fish we are landing. Males seem to be nosing the gravel and preparing to spawn.

Egg Sucking Stones and Steelhead Buggers working well!

Alaska Bead fishing style.. Floating lines, strike indicators, and Trout Beads that match the hatch. Trout beads come in colors that closely imitate fresh salmon eggs along the river's bottom. Our most productive fly fishing technique for fall Steelhead on the Muskegon River. Beads drifted along the bottom match the eggs!

Temperatures are now in the low to mid 50's so fishing the gravel flats for steelhead will most likely be the staple for the rest of the season. There are still many fish available for float fisherman and those whom are willing to work hard to get fish to bite in the dark water. But the vast majority of fly fisherman will be fishing to fish that we can see. Sight fishing to steelhead on the shallow gravel shoals. Active spawning and very good numbers of steelhead should be available well into May and early June. With today being the first day of ice out, water temperatures should stay on the cool side well into late May for spawning steelhead. May should offer excellent fishing!

Water levels are stable: 2800cfs: Muskegon River Streamflow Data

Levels are perfect. AHeavy tannin Stain - 5'-7' visibility.

Spring Steelhead fishing has been greatly improving each day. Warmer water temps and great stream flows have made for some great fishing. Due to the coldest spring thaw on record, Steelhead fishing should go well throughout the month of May. In years past, May Steelhead has offered some of the best fishing of the year with Steelhead spawning into the first weeks of June. Good numbers of Steelhead are present at this time with plenty more to come. Comfortable weather for Steelhead.

(3/19) Fly Fishing is also improving daily with the warmer water temperatures and massive emergence of stone flies. Both trout and steelhead have been gorged feeding on stone flies along the bank. Stone flies such as the Egg Sucking Stone and Dark Knight have been producing numbers of trout and some nice bright hen steelhead.

Chuck-n-Duck and indicator nymphing along the shoreline and plunge pools (pocket water) have also been very effective. Rick's bright chrome was taken on a stone fly in 18" of water behind a log jam. Steelhead were sipping sub surface emerging stone flies near the bank. Trout fishing with stone flies in pocket water has also been good.

Muskegon River Winter Stone Flies: During late February we begin to see Stone fly movement throughout the river. The Dark Knight Stone is a great stone fly imitation that also does very well in normal water levels. I tie this pattern primarily for Steelhead and Trout. It's a great looking bug with movement and a true nymph profile. This fly fishes best drifted as chuck & duck or floating line with an indy rig.

We should expect to receive good numbers of steelhead and trout over the next few days. Longer day light, Strong full moons, and slightly higher than normal water levels have steelhead on the move. Good number moving up from the lower river.

(3/11) Muskegon River Steelhead fishing has been outstanding over the last few days! Spring Steelhead on the Muskegon River are starting to fish well near the Croton Dam. Jigs and wax worms and floats / spawn all fishing well for new spring steelhead. Mid-section - Thornapple to Pine st. has also been fishing well.

Pere Marquette River Fishing Report - Spring Steelhead entering the lower river near the Pere Marquette Lake. The lower "flies Only Section has a good number of bright steelhead beginning to spawn. Winter steelhead are the first to begin to spawn. Female steelhead first begin to dig redds, males are soon to follow. Best fly patterns for Pere Marquette Steelhead are the green caddis, stone flies, hex nymphs and clown eggs. The Pere Marquette River Fishing report for Baldwin, Michigan is a paradise for fly anglers coming up for spring steelhead. Pere Marquette River Spring Steelhead fishing guides have been excellent! Fly Fishing Pere Marquette Salmon near Custer.

Fly Fishing has been doing well. Best pattern for the Muskegon have been the Mojo fry pattern, dark knight, Hex nymphs, and Ice Man minnows. Fry patterns have been outfishing clown eggs and egg patterns. Stone flies fishing well on sunny days. Had a fantastic three days with Dr. Steve and Josh. They landed 15 steelhead in three days on straight flies with both myself and Jimmy B. We fished mostly the upper river.

(2/17) Stone flies are now emerging along the frozen shoreline - This is great news for Steelhead and Trout fishing. Stone flies will be the primary food source for Trout and Steelhead for the next several months. Look for changes in fly patterns for Steelhead - going from egg patterns to Stone flies- Fish have begun to key in on small dark nymphs drifted along the bottom.

Mojo Flies and updated photos for the New 2011 fly patterns - Alevin - Salmon fry - During the late winter months, Chinook salmon fry and lake run brown trout fry begin to hatch out of the gravel into the "Fry" or "Alevin" stage.

These young fish are the perfect food source for larger steelhead and trout during this time of year. We have some great new patterns that mimic all stages of the steelhead life cycle - Eggs - Sac Fry - Alevin - Fry Patterns - Smolt Patterns - NEW MOJO FLIES 2013

Just a Quick Note: I wanted to let everyone know, I now have the Spring order of Mojo Flies completely tied and finished. For those of you that have pending fly orders, I should be able to ship them out on Monday- Tuesday of this week.

(2/4) We landed two very nice steelhead, two smaller skipper steelhead and a handful of nice trout today. The weather has been stable for several days now with fish eager to feed. Water levels have been low and clear making boat control and stealth important. Longer drifts from the boat and lighter (3x) tippet, also seems to help. Smaller micro egg patterns, hex nymphs, and salmon fry patterns all took fish.

Muskegon River Steelhead and Salmon fry - During the late winter months, Chinook salmon fry and lake run brown trout fry begin to hatch out of the gravel into the "Fry" or "Alevin" stage.

These young fish are the perfect food source for larger steelhead and trout during this time of year. Egg patterns with a pronounced "blood dot" or bright red dot mimic the fry at this time. Also patterns such as the "Ice Man Minnow" or other fry or parr patterns also work well. Steelhead and trout during winter are now relying less on salmon eggs and focusing more on case caddis, stone flies, scuds, sowbugs, other macro invertebrates. Stone flies and fry patterns begin to really work well at this time of year when temperatures are cold and food is limited.

Centerpin fishing for Steelhead - Floats and spawn is the perfect "stealth" technique for low-clear water. Float fishing has been our technique of choice for covering water. Floats enable anglers to hook-up at long distances away from wary fish.Most of the deep waters areas have all been holding Steelhead around the Thornapple launch, High rollaway area has also been good in the deep gravel areas and in the riffle. Trout have also been active in these areas. Small spawn sacks, natural mesh, and light tippets help with pressured fish.

A note about Mojo Egg Flies: I love the smaller sizes in the washed out colors. I've been using them under a float for about ten years. Chinook Salmon, Kings have a yellow, or soft orange color about them so the washed out orange ( Mottled colors are awesome!) seem to work best. Coho colors are good. "Egg yolk" is great here in Michigan. You seem to need King Salmon, and Brown Trout colors. Try to use a red rubber band and pull loop through the leader and bead. works great! Peg about 1" to 1.5" above a hook. Also, try blued or black hooks. Bright hooks spook fish.

Atlantic Salmon on Torch Lake - The bite is on this time of year for giant lake run Atlantic Salmon. Casting large streamers or Shad raps at creeks mouths of the streams entering Torch Lake are producing good numbers of bright Atlantic Salmon. Something different, but definitely fun to walk in and hook some fish!

New Video Clip: Float Fishing Muskegon River Steelhead

One of the best float fishing videos we have filmed for Fall Steelhead on the Muskegon River and Great Lakes region. Lots of float fishing with a ton of hook ups and fish landed on video! Now is the time to float fish Steelhead!

Centerpin float fishing for Steelhead : There are a handful of white mouthed beauties lying in wait for fresh roe. We hooked at least four chrome bullets this morning during low light conditions. Greg managed to land one very nice skipper on a peach egg patterns. Cooler water temperatures and some rain would really help the cause for chrome! Later this month, Steelhead fishing should be excellent as everything seems to be a week behind.

Muskegon River Fishing Report - High Bridge to Tippy Dam - The Big Manistee River is in full swing with salmon. The past few days, salmon have been everywhere in the upper river. Gravel season is upon us! Lots of fish and lots of gravel goblins. Small, dark flies have worked the best for me. Drifting behind the redds has also been great! (Ex. Stanley's 28" Brown) and Steve's nice chrome Steelhead, all by catch of fishing behind redds in the morning. There have also been a few Steelhead & Coho in the the lower Manistee, a sign of good things to come.

Muskegon River is still far behind, water temp is still in the low 60's. There are a handful of salmon but not quite fishable numbers yet. Should be a couple of weeks yet before good numbers of Salmon in the mighty Mo. Trout fishing has been very good in the upper river above Thornapple to Pine St. Chrome should show up with the first good batch of kings in the lower Muskegon. Water temperatures need to drop before we have good fishing and decent numbers of fish.

Pere Marquette River Salmon Reports: Today was "Moving Day"! There was no question that today was moving day in the lower river. "Moving Day", as I refer to it, is the day when all the salmon from the lower river, (Custer, Scottville, Ludington ) move into the upper to middle sections, (Walhalla, Rainbow, and lower Fly water) at a high rate of speed. Today was that day. We watched as over 1500 salmon swam past the boat today between 8am and 2pm. Don't get me wrong, we had a fantastic day of casting thundersticks with lots of fish landed. It was, however, interesting to watch wave after wave of salmon jet past the boat without so much as a glance at our T-Sticks. The majority of these fish were chrome and headed to the upper river to spawn, being a warmer than average fall, these fish are running late, and are ready to spawn!

(9/25) Michigan Salmon Fishing Reports - The Pere Marquette and Manistee Rivers are both fishing well at this time. Grand River should also start soon - Big hit of fish off piers in Grand Haven! Wind directions have been constantly changing, keeping fresh Salmon entering the rivers each day. Casting crankbaits should be very good over the next few weeks on all northern Michigan Rivers.

(9/25) Muskegon River Report - The Muskegon River received a very nice push of fish this morning. We hit a nice pod of chrome salmon and fishing was quite good most of the day. Casting cranks was the name of the game. More wind equals more fish! Welcome to Salmon Season in Northern Michigan with lots of Salmon and Steelhead yet to return from the Big Lake. It should be a wonderful fall season the the weather we've been having!

(9/2) Muskegon River Report for Salmon: We will guiding anglers on the Manistee and Pere Marquette River for Salmon. There are good numbers of Salmon on both rivers, especially after the cool rains and cooler temperatures we've had over the past two days. Manistee received over an inch of rain yesterday! Water temperatures on the Muskegon River are at an outstanding 73 degrees which means we are a solid month away from Kings on the Muskegon River. We drive to Manistee each morning to get our clients into numbers of bright chrome kings on the Big Manistee and Pere Marquette Rivers!

(8/30) Pere Marquette River Salmon Report: Lower PM has been showing a few fish and improving daily. Steve and Steve did quite well on Friday (8/27) going 4 for 6 on crankbaits. Scottville down has had fish moving through but have been difficult to stay with. Walhalla and braids between Reek Rd. and upper Custer should start seeing pushes in the next few days with fish moving into South Branch of the Pere Marquette.

Now offering Manistee and Pere Marquette River - Thunderstick trips.

Full Day- $350. Afternoon half-day. 4:00pm till dark $250.00 - One or two anglers. Do you want to learn to catch trophy Chinook Salmon and Steelhead casting crankbaits? Do enjoy bone jarring hooksets and fish that rip the rod from your hands? We are also offering floats and skein trips for Salmon. Floats and spawn produces many early salmon. Manistee River is also home to the World-Record Brown Trout that was caught casting Thundersticks.

Muskegon River Smallmouth Bass on the fly...

Muskegon River Smallmouth Report - Smallie fishing has been very good over the past weekend. Hot, humid weather and an abundance of crayfish have got the Smallmouth Bass on the Bite. Streamers up tight to the banks have been the key. Clouser minnows, black leaches, and bunny strips have all been working well. Light Spinning gear and soft plastics have also been excellent. Good numbers of smallies on curly tail grubs or tube jigs...

Muskegon River Trout Fishing Report - Trout fishing has been very good the past few days! Perfect water levels have made for some excellent dry fly fishing in the upper river. Caddis have been the name of the game. size 16 - X-Caddis with a trailing shuck and small nymph droppers have been producing many nice trout. Dark brown soft-hackles (emergering Isoynchia) swung on light sink-tips have been producing some larger fish. Isonychia dries have also been producing larger Muskegon River Trout just before for dark. You can hear big fish feed and take iso's!


Gray Drake Hatch fishing at it's finest - Muskegon River Trout

Gray Drakes, Drakes, and more Drakes!!

Streamer and wet fly fishing with sink tips for trout are producing decent numbers of nice fish, especially on overcast days. Big, bold streamers have produced some big brown trout for those who are willing to work. A wide variety of insects are currently emerging, Caddis, Sulphers, and Gray Drakes being primary in the evenings. Sulphur mayfly hatches/spinner falls are heavy with other common mayflies getting underway. Gray Drake spinner falls have been going well into the evenings with last light producing the most rises and best fish. ( 9pm-10pm )

Here is a chance to spend a productive day at the office and still have time to get into some excellent dry fly fishing or sink-tip streamers! Hatches are in the evening, during the most comfortable part of the day. Come join us for a fantastic evening of trout fishing on Michigan's greatest tailwater.


Excellent Muskegon River Trout fishing for this Summer!

Welcome to Muskegon River Fly Fishing! Michigan's best kept secret for hatch fishing at it's finest! Trophy Trout are available throughout the summer months on Michigan's Muskegon River. A tailwater fishery, the Muskegon fishes well all summer long with cooler water temperatures, expansive riffles, and easily waded flats, this river is loaded with large Trout.

Hatch fishing is at it's best during May, June, July, and August. Trophy Trout Fly Fishing on the Muskegon River with Stone flies, Gray Drake, Iysonychia, and Caddis.

High Water Clowns

Without question, my hottest fly pattern, bar none for high water conditions is the Clown Egg. Brightly colored eggs show up well in stained water.

Clown Eggs are also a bit more buoyant than regular egg patterns and suspend a little higher in the water column making them easier to see.

I always use them as my point or middle fly, usually trailed by something dark... Steelhead Bugger or Wiggle Stone. This gives color contrast and movement to the drift.

Best fly patterns have been large Clown eggs with a bit of flash. Rainbow Clown egg has been my best fly in the higher water levels. Hex nymphs and fry patterns have also taken some hard hits and fish during the past three days. Sometimes during the afternoon, Stone flies have worked well but have been hit or miss taking mostly smaller Trout and Steelhead smolt. Light tippets and long drifts have produced the most Steelhead especially later in the day or bright sunshine.

Why do Steelhead key in on Winter Stoneflies?

Great Lakes Steelhead are perhaps the most opportunistic member of the salmonid family. While Chinook and Coho salmon require large schools of baitfish like smelt and alewives to support their numbers, steelhead take a substantial amount of their forage from insect sources, supplementing with baitfish, crayfish, gobies, and whatever else strikes their fancy. This fact leads some experts to believe that steelhead "residentize" back to their stream-trout roots when they spend any length of time in a river environment. When February and March roll around, the winter stonefly hatches begin in the cold river environments in Michigan.

It has been my experience as a fly fishing guide that Stone flies begin to emerge and become active in late morning through the afternoon, usually when water temperatures are at the warmest. Steelhead also tend to key on them during the warmest part of day when they are the most abundant and moving.

The steelhead holding in river pools, waiting for spawning time to begin, may revert to feeding behavior that worked well during the early stages of life. When you're winter flyfishing and you notice tiny black specks (they look like carpenter ants with gray wings) on the snow around you, study them closely. You'll find that these are adult Stoneflies, possibly ringing the dinner bell for whatever lurks in the depths of that hole in front of you. Fish accordingly, as your luck may have just turned.

There are a variety of nymph flies that imitate the Winter Stonefly.

Most of these patterns are simple, from a hare's ear nymph or pheasant-tail nymph colored dark brown or black with marker, to more involved patterns such as the Egg Sucking Stone, black Viagra caddis, Mojo Dark Knight, Rubber Legged Stone, etc. Remember that these flies should be dead-drifted the same way you'd fish glo-bugs or egg flies, under an indicator or bottom-bounced through holes that look promising. No vigorous stripping is needed with these - keep in mind that while the weather is warmer than usual, the water is a few degrees above freezing. Deep and slow wins the race here - make sure that your flies drift along current breaks and bubble-lines, to ensure that any fish present has time to take a shot at them. Strike back when the strike comes, snub that fish before it can get loose, and then enjoy the music of your reel underscoring the winter sunlight dancing on rippled waters.


Pere Marquette River Fishing Report

(Spring Steelhead Fishing information for the PereMarquette River)

Pere Marquette River Fishing Report - Spring Steelhead fishing on the lower Pere Marquette River has been improving daily. The lower sections near Custer and Scottville have been producing fair numbers of Steelhead on Floats and Spawn. Back Bouncing with fresh Steelhead skein has also been very productive producing well over a fish per hour. Upper to Walhalla has also been fishing well. Centerpin float fishing with small spawn sacks has been producing a good number of Steelhead. Jigs and Waxworms have also been working well.

Pere Marquette River Spring Steelhead - Although crowded, the "Flies Only" section is beginning to show signs of Steelhead on gravel. Floating lines with strike indicators have been working best. Egg imitations, Clown Eggs, and natural glo bugs are working well. Now is also the time for the late winter stone fly. Stone flies have begun to emerge along the shore lines. Steelhead have started to key on the little black stones. Pheasant tail nymphs in chocolate and black have been working well. Estaz Stones are also producing a fair amount of fish. Michigan Fly Fishing

Pere Marquette River fishing Report

Sea Lamphrey News about the Pere Marquette River


Floats and Spawn for Spring Steelhead

A selection of floats and spawn.

Another preferred method for Winter Steelhead is fishing floats and spawn. Fishing floats and spawn is a fast-paced style of steelhead fishing. We fish quickly and cover miles of river in a day, usually producing lots of hook-ups and many steelhead landed.

We prefer to fish specialized G. Loomis 11' 3" float rods. Loomis rods are available for your use on guided trips. These longer rods allow the angler a longer drift and a stronger hook set. We also use Cabela Prodigy spinning reels or center-pins reels spooled with 10 lb hi-vis monofiliment line. These smooth reels allow for long casts and a smooth drag system to fight big fish.

Fly Patterns for Winter & Spring Steelhead.

Steelhead: Natural tones of egg flies, Oregon cheese, peach, cream, Hex nymphs, green caddis, sparkle stone flies.

Salmon: Any two fly rig, such as an egg (middle fly) and a nymph dropper fly seems to be working well. Dark nymphs such stone flies, green butt skunk, large pheasant tails, or hares ear nymphs. Tan or olive colored PM wigglers also work.

Trout: Small egg flies, little green caddis rock worms, midge larvae, pheasant tail nymphs, Beatis nymphs, Clown Eggs - Hot for Steelhead!

Hot Clown Eggs : 1. Chartreuse, Cherise, Steelhead Orange, White

2. Baby Pink, Cherise, White 3. Steelhead Orange, Golden Nugget, White

4. Charteuse, Niagra Gold, White. These egg flies work very well drifted as a fly

or drifted under a float with spawn, they add color to your presentation!

Hot Steelhead Flies: Nuke eggs- (Egg-Golden) (Peach- Golden)

(Grapefruit) Glo-bugs: Peach, Golden, Early Girl Cream, Orange Dot.

Fly Fishing: Best patterns have been Rainbow Clown, Steelhead - Orange

Glo-Bugs, Nuke eggs in Chartreuse/flame, Chart/Golden, Egg/Golden.

Leaches such as Egg Sucking, Laser, & Steelhead buggers also producing Steelies.

Trout have been keying on micro eggs and nukes, and Rhyacophila (Green) Caddis.

Atlantic Salmon on Torch Lake - The World record landlocked Atlantic Salmon was landed in November on Torch lake on a streamer. Torch Lake has one of the largest runs of Atlantic Salmon in Michigan and Great Lakes. We guide fly

fishing anglers for Atlantic Salmon on the St. Mary's River during July and early August. We also guide Torch Lake and the St. Mary's River in late October and November for for land locked Atlantic Salmon on the fly.

Muskegon Brown Trout

Brown Trout spawn during the late fall months. November and December offers anglers a shot at trophy Lake-Run Brown Trout. West Michigan's Spawning Browns on the Muskegon River.

Michigan's Winter Steelhead

December also offers the finest in Fall Steelhead fishing. Both Fly Fishing and Float Fishing is excellent at this time!

Come fish Michigan's uncrowded West Side! The Muskegon River's

"Home of the Chrome!"

A selection a of Mojo Clown eggs. With it's many color schemes, the Clown egg works in a variety of conditions for both resident Trout and Fall Steelhead. Egg flies For Fall Steelhead

Clients often ask me...What are the best fly patterns for Fall Steelhead?

My answer: Eggs, Eggs, and eggs!

Steelhead crave Chinook Salmon roe (spawn) and it is without a doubt their food of choice during the fall months.

I have several favorites: (1) The Nuke egg . Fav. color: Golden/ Egg halo

(2) Estaz Egg - Orange/ Peach halo

(3) Circus Clown egg.

Low water - Smaller- natural flies.

Higher water - Larger-brighter flies.

New World Record Brown Trout!! 41 Lb 7oz. Wow!!


Four Seasons of Michigan Steelhead

Muskegon River Fall Steelhead

(Late October- November) Fall Steelhead:

The crown jewel of Great Lakes Steelhead- Fall Chrome is the most sought after and Jump like no other!

We will be offering floats and spawn, backbouncing, and fly fishing trips for Fall Steelhead on the lower Muskegon River. These fish are chrome and we average well over a fish per hour!

Winter Steelhead:

During the Winter Months,

the Muskegon River is loaded Winter Steelhead. Unlike the Grand, Manistee, and Pere Marquette Rivers, the Muskegon is a tailwater fishery, this means the Muskegon River never freeze allowing us to guide anglers throughout the winter months for Steelhead and Trout.

Fly fishing during the Winter is a beautiful time to be on the water with good numbers of Steelhead and lots of wildlife along the rivers banks.

Muskegon Winter Steelhead

(December, January, February)

Michigan Spring Steelhead

(March, April, May)

Spring Steelhead:

In late February, Steelhead move up river and begin their migration to their spawning areas. Steelhead feed heavily on stone flies, caddis larvae, and Chinook fry. During March, April and May, Steelhead begin to polish gravel and begin to spawn.

During this time, Fly Fishing Steelhead is at it's absolute best!! Anglers can visually seek steelhead and make casts to the spawning Spring Steelhead. Sight fishing to Steelhead on gravel and watching them take the fly makes this an exhilarating experience!!

Skamania Steelhead:

We are offering Summer Run (Skamania) Steelhead on both the Big Manistee River and the St. Joseph River. If you've never tried Skamania Steelhead, these fish are amazing and jump like crazy!!

(July, August) Skamania Steelhead available on the Big Manistee & St. Joseph Rivers in July and August!

Michigan's Big Manistee & St. Joseph

Summer-Run Skamania Steelhead


Jet Boats for the Muskegon River!

Click here to contact us

LSSU Fish Cam - St. Mary's River

Atlantic Salmon on the St. Mary's River.

Michigan Current River Flow Rates

Pere Marquette Rivers Streamflow

Muskegon River Streamflow

White River Streamflow


Recommended Fly Fishing Tackle for Muskegon River Fall & Spring Steelhead.

Comments: Due to huge client request I am posting a list of Spring Steelhead Fishing equipment.

Rods: As per Steelhead fishing in November and December , I recommend a 9'6" 8wt fly rod or a 10' 8wt fly rod, as for reels, I recommend Orvis Barstock IV or a Ross big game #4. These reels have an excellent drag and very fast line pick up. Spool them with a running line, ex, Poly Fuse, 25lb Amnesia or Neon Tangerine Suffix.

As for flies, I recommend a large selection of small egg flies in natural colors such as golden, steelhead orange, oregon cheese, peach, and cream. Tie them in size #8, and 10's tied on a Tiemco 105, Black stoneflies in 8's and 10's, small hex nymphs, and green caddis.

For weight on chuck-n-duck I use a free sliding snap swivel clipped to pencil lead, a clear bead, and a barrel (crane) swivel with one end to butt (12lb) and one end to tippet. For optimal drift, I recommend a 5 foot leader (8 or 10lb) from lead to end fly, with and egg fly in the middle and a dark nymph on the end. Also note: For guide trips, you will need waders and polarized sunglasses. All gear, tackle, flies (nominal cost) and a grilled, shore lunch will be provided with all guided trips!

Fly Fishing Knots- Steelhead

Steehead:Glo-bug egg flies in sizes #8 and #10's, natural colors such as Golden, steelhead orange, peach, Oregon cheese, baby blue, soft yellow. Hex Nymphs, nuke eggs, dark center, light halo Nymphs: Stone flies, hex nymphs, soft hackles, green caddis rock worm. I always carry a large selection of egg flies at any given time for Steelhead and resident trout.

We now also offer guided floats & spawn fishing trips with either center-pin or spinning gear for Winter Steelhead on the Muskegon River. Come join us.. These trips are available during December and are a fun and exciting way to catch numbers of Muskegon River Steelhead!


Muskegon River - The Muskegon River, as always, is far behind, because of the warm water reservoirs. The Muskegon should peak for Steelhead during later November. Over the past few days, rain and cooler weather has dramatically improved the Steelhead fishing on the Muskegon River. There seems to be good numbers of steelhead starting to show near the Thornapple launch and high rollaways. Deeper holes and runs have been producing the best fishing action. With forecasted rain, fishing should continue to improve. The middle to last week of November and December should offer some great Fall Steelhead fishing, I would also expect to see a handful of large, Lake-Run Brown Trout.


Book a Spring Steelhead trip on the lower Muskegon River or Pere Marquette River!!

We have multiple jet boats & other fishing guides with dates available for early season Spring Steelhead !! Let us plan a Spring fly fishing adventure for you!

Fly Fish Steelhead on the Muskegon River.

West Michigan offers trophy wild Fall Steelhead!

Great Lakes Fall Steelhead are some of the most sought after fish of the year! The bone jarring hits and incredible power... these chrome fish are amazing!

We have guided trips available for fly fishing for Steelhead. Guide trips with sink-tips or chuck & duck are available. We also specialize in fishing with floats and spawn during the winter months. Not only do these fish bite.. They about rip the rod out of your hand!

(5/21) Over the Holiday weekend, Check out the New Fly Shop in Newaygo! The new fly shop is located on M-37 where Tracy's Custom Boats used to be. Justin's shop has tons of fly tying materials, centerpin rods, hooks, and a giant selection of trout beads! A great place to shoot the breeze, and get some gear for fly fishing the Muskegon River.

Muskegon River Fly Shop (231) 652-5386


Muskegon River Steelhead Information:

Local Maps and Directions to places we fish:

Muskegon River Map - Directions

Pere Marquette River - Directions

White River Map - Directions

Manistee River - Directions

Grand Rapids - Directions

Ludington - Directions

Michigan Current River Flow Rates

Pere Marquette Rivers Streamflow

Muskegon River Streamflow

St. Joseph River Streamflow

White River Streamflow


Alaska Fly Fishing Klutina River - Klutina Lodge - Copper Center Alaska - King Salmon

To conclude my summer in the AK - I finished the trip with a Halibut trip

out of Seward. I caught this neat looking Yellow Eye Rockfish.

I had a chance to do some bead fishing for Rainbows and Dollies ...

Had to take a pic of this gnarly Sockeye (Red) Salmon..

Great weather and great King Salmon fishing!

Alaska is a great place to be! (8/5)

Lynne and Courtney with a 38lb buck from the Klutina River.

We spent the day dry fly fishing for Artic Grayling.

Jason and Mandy with a 52 lb King Salmon.

A plethora of bright Sockeye Salmon can be found within

walking distance of the Klutina Lodge.

Jason and Mark with an average Copper River King Salmon.

Most King Salmon are between 30 - 50 lbs. We guide Alaska's Klutina

and Copper Rivers during Late June, July, and early August.


A note to clients that have or will be booking a trip with us - Please call for overnight packages. We have an upscale establishment in downtown Newaygo very close to the local sport shop that we refer our guests to. The price is reasonable. The hosts inviting and hospitable, and their breakfasts are free with the room, and are delicious. Early breakfast can be arranged with prior notice. We offer pickup and drop off at this location. You will not be disappointed, this place is first class and is located close to the Muskegon River and the down town area of Newaygo.

B&B - La Belle de la Reviere

(231) 652-1093

Michigan's Hottest Steelhead Fishery - Muskegon River Steelhead!

Welcome to Michigan's premier guide service devoted to Great Lakes Steelhead,

Salmon, and Trout. Whether you enjoy swinging flies, drifting beads, or fishing floats and spawn, we have a guided trip that works for you! We guide anglers on the Muskegon, Pere Marquette, and Manistee Rivers.

Muskegon River

Pere Marquette River

Manistee River

Betts Guide Service

Trout Fishing Tips for Trophy Trout. 

Sucker spawn is for kids! It's great opportunity to introduce your son or daughter into fly fishing. Trout fishing during the sucker's spawn has constant fish landing action with the small 8" - 12" trout. They're also sure to hook into a couple big trout! They're great for kids to learn the fundamentals of fly fishing and have a great time on the water. This technique is very easy to learn. Half days are also perfect for this technique.

For those of you interested in trophy brown trout fishing, we are extremely excited about the upcoming sucker spawn! If you look back through the fishing report, you'll see we have landed some giant resident brown trout throughout the winter and early spring. All of these big second year trout will be in the shallows feeding on sucker spawn and emerging steelhead/ salmon fry. (pic below) Sucker spawn fly fishing is an angler's best opportunity by far, to land a trophy brown trout. Sight fishing to these big browns is an adrenaline rush! You're hunting trophy browns!

Trout fishing the sucker spawn in late May. Without question, my favorite time of the year for trophy brown trout on the Muskegon River! Sight fishing giant pig browns feeding behind spawning Redhorse suckers. It's one of the only times of the year that browns are less wary during daylight hours. These trout gorge on sucker spawn and nymphs that dislodged.

Coming up in late May, early June, we have the Gray Drake spinner fall offering some of the best dry fly fishing there is in the mid west!

If you're on the fence about booking a guided steelhead - trout trip in May, get on it because this May Steelhead fishing is going to be one of the best ever to remember!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spring Steelhead Fishing Reports - Bead Fishing 101

One of the newest, most innovative techniques for Michigan Spring Steelhead has definitely been bead fishing, or Trout beads. Bead fishing replicates perfectly, the age old, number one spring steelhead food, Chinook Salmon eggs.   Any color can be matched. and beads are round.

   As yarn egg patterns are cartoons of the 1970's, Trout Beads are now the Blue ray DVD of today. 
Trout beads can match any color selection of salmon or steelhead roe, they are perfectly round, transparent, and beautifully match salmon eggs to perfection.  They are Egg-actly a perfect salmon egg representation for steelhead fishing.
A selection of trout beads for Steelhead fishing. Any color can be matched.
Fresh eggs, milky eggs, dead eggs. Perfect eggs.

Beads are easy to fish. 
Because Trout Beads are made of hard plastic, it's best that when rigged for steelhead or trout. the bead should be pegged about 3" above the hook.  I prefer Raven specialist #6 hook,  however and up turned octopus hook should work well.  Sharp is the key, like, tacky sharp!  Pegging can be achieved with a tooth pic, basting brush spoke, or actual Peg-its by Trout Bead.   Pegging holds the bead in its place.
Notice in this photo, the fish is hooked well, bead is 3' from the mouth. 

Matching the Hatch:  Salmon eggs change color...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rainbow Trout and Steelhead - Fly Fishing the Mid-West - Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Steelhead

Spring Steelhead are on the way!  
Over the past several days, Steelhead fishing has steadily improved.  New fish hve moved into the lower to middle sections of the Muskegon River. Chrome fish are always an added bonus for fly fishermen.  Bright Steelhead are far more aggressive towards the fly, especially closer to Spring.
Centerpin Float Fishing in the Spring is deadly effective.

  During late February, March, and April, Steelhead key in predominately on small black winter stone flies.  Usually about a size #10 - #12, black stone flies are very prolific and make up a good portion of a Steelhead's diet. Anglers can cash in with stoneflies because steelhead actively seek them out as food, and consume hundreds each day while the hatch is going.  
   There are several very good techniques for fishing stone flies for Steelhead.  Probably the most effective is chuck and duck, or free style nymphing. This technique works best because the egg fly or trout bead, and a black stone fly nymph is drifted along the bottom. During periods of colder water, free style nymphing works best, keeping the flies on or very near to the gravel bottom of the river. 

Spring offers warm weather when everyone can catch fish!

Muskegon River Guide Service for Steelhead.
The second most effective is fishing two flies on a floating fly line and a strike indicator.  Dropping two flies below an indicator works wonders some days.  This technique also works well while drifted off the side of a drift boat or jet sled.  The angler casts off the side of the boat, as the guide keeps the boat rowing at the same speed as the current.  

Efforts for fishing spring Steelhead should be focused on the deeper portions of the runs, and the deep sections of gravel. Cold water Steelhead hand out in slower, deeper water.  The path of least resistance to conserve energy, in preparation for the spring spawning run.

Go BIG or go home!  Huge Spawning buck steelhead

Our guides do very well during late winter months fishing stone flies and other dark nymph patterns.  Stone flies and egg patterns are a winter staple in Michigan rivers.  If you'd like to learn more about winter / Spring Steelhead,  please check out our daily fishing for the Muskegon River. 
  Michigan Fishing Trips & Reports  Or Send Us a Text.  (231) 519-7348

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Muskegon River Guide - Michigan Steelhead

Over the past several weeks,  Steelhead fishing has been outstanding!  Warmer than normal temperatures and higher water levels have made for great migrations this season on the Muskegon and Manistee Rivers. This year class of steelhead and salmon has been nothing short of spectacular, with an abundance of alewives, the fish have put on the feed bag! 
So what's working best to catch them?
Floats - Spawn - Beads.  Without a doubt, floats and spawn has been working best, producing a lot of steelhead and fat trout.  Covering water with technique has been key.  Great Lakes Steelhead Company - Beads have also been working great!  Trout beads match a single egg perfectly. Their colors are nothing short of amazing!  I usually peg the bead about 2.5" from the hook.   A snelled hook seems to work the best, as it always lays straight on the leader.  It looks like a weird set up but, actually it works perfectly. The fish is always hooked well inside the corner of the mouth.   
Back Bouncing Spawn.  Back bouncing spawn has also been another deadly technique for winter and early spring steelhead.  With this style of technique, a heavy drift sinker, ( 1oz or more) is "walked" along the bottom in a hop, hop motion.  It very much resembles a jigging motion.
Large spawn sacks tied with steelhead skein the size of a quarter with 4-5 bright orange floaters help keep the eggs off the bottom.    This technique is so deadly  because it offers a lot of scent and the bait is always right in the fishes face. 
Back bouncing is an easy technique to master. The angler needs to keep close contact with the bottom and feel the weight hitting the boat. With back bouncing, you can actually feel the texture of the bottom, (sand, rock, gravel) and the bottom depth, and hidden pockets and lies that may not be seen.
Hits range from rip the rod out of your hand, to soft, subtle heavy feeling.  Winter Steelhead can be light biters especially when the water is very cold. 
 These two techniques will help you have a better time on the river, and land more steelhead
We are available for guided trips on the Muskegon & Manistee Rivers year around.  Visit our new website for accurate Daily Steelhead fishing reports.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fishing Report Forecast -  August - September Muskegon River

King Salmon -  As summer winds to an end and the leaves begin to change, our focus changes toward the annual migration of Chinook salmon on the Muskegon River. Cooler nights and colder water temperatures bring Chinook salmon into the lower ends of the river near Muskegon Lake, Mill Iron and Giles rd. Throughout the lower sections near Anderson Flat to Bridgton offer some excellent Thundersticking for Kings! Casting crankbaits for Kings is a great way to cover water in search of vicious head shakers! Best colors for salmon usually have some sort of kelly green, Fire Tiger or clown colors are excellent choices.
    Kings are running much larger this season due to a bountiful Alewive populations. We typically spool spinning rods with 30lb Power Pro Braided lines, or 15lb Berkley Big Game clear monofilament, 9' med- heavy spinning rods, and reels with a smooth drag. Remember to save your salmon skein for upcoming steelhead in November.
Resident River Trout - Trout follow the salmon throughout the river as though in search of mother's milk! Trout key big time on the spawning Chinook salmon. As salmon dig gravel, vast amounts of nymphs, larvae, and eggs are kicked up. Trophy Brown trout and nice rainbows are often caught at this time along with the occasional skipper steelhead, hanging behind the salmon. Light spinning or fly rods are the preferred tackle, fishing with small spawn sacks, egg patterns, or caddis nymphs all work well. Finding spawning salmon equals great trout fishing!
   Smallmouth Bass - Smallmouth & Walleye also put on the feed bag during late summer and fall. Casting crayfish colored crank baits or soft plastics is a sure way to get bit. Number 5 Shad raps in pearl or perch colors for the walleyes. Perch fishing can also be great. Minnows also begin to school this time of year so bait balls produce big catches of walleye and smallmouth.

Capt. Chad Betts
(231) 519-7348

Friday, June 21, 2013

Skamania, King Salmon, Smallmouth Bass - Late Summer Fishing in Michigan.

Late Summer Fishing Forecast: During the heat of the summer, West Michigan offers the angler lots of fishing opportunities for those while to drive a bit and move around. Three species of fish stick out for excellent fishing opportunities during July, August and early September:

Skamania Steelhead Fishing In Michigan.   Skamania Steelhead. Best Location, Big Manistee River below the Tippy Dam. Available both above and below the coffer dam at Tippy Dam. Tackle: 10' med. action Spinning rods. 20 lb power Powerpro braid. Style: Slip style drift rig with 8 lb flourocarbon leader. Offering/ bait: Softshell crayfish, chartreuse wobble-glo, blue /silver Cleo spoons, large egg suckle leach fly patterns. Note: Skamania steelhead are an aggressive strain of steelhead that love live bait offerings, both crayfish and night crawlers.

Early Season King Salmon Fishing on the Pere Marquette River.

Early Season King Salmon: Best Location: Little Manistee River near Stronach. Lower Pere Marquette River, Manistee River near Insta-Launch, White River Near Whitehall. Tackle: Med-Heavy Bait casting or Spinning Gear. 30lb PowerPro Braided line, Deep Junior Thunder sticks - Fire tiger. Little Cleo casting spoons. Style: Cast Thunder sticks, shad raps, or Cleo spoons across current allowing lure to move along freely in a slow and steady retrieve.

Smallmouth Bass fishing on the Muskegon River.  Betts Guide Service
Smallmouth Bass: Best Location: Any multitude of West Michigan lakes or rivers, some of the best being the Thornapple River, Flatt River, Grand River, Muskegon, Manistee, and Ausable River.

Note: Smallmouth Bass are related to sunfish species and are extremely active during hot weather, especially during late summer. Smallmouth are an excellent choice for young people or anglers that would just like to have a blast fishing! Tackle: light to Medium Baitcasting or spinning reels with 20lb PowerPro braid, or 8 -10lb monofiliment line. Smallies love topwater! Popper flies, buzzbaits, spinners and soft plastics are all great choices for Smallmouth! If you find them, usually they will bite.

Style: There are hundreds of water to fish Smallmouth, popping surface lures creates heart stopping, explosive strikes!! Sometimes are more subtle aproach is needed such as jigging soft plastics along the bottom or casting crank baits to cover water.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing: is going very well in this great summer weather. Good numbers of smallies are feeding heavily on crayfish and small baitfish minnows. The higher water level is making for some great smallmouth fishing as well. The best fishing with streamers for smallies is usually once the sun gets over the trees throughout the mid-day into the evenings. Afternoons have been the best Fishing for both trout and smallmouth.

July-August: Smallmouth Bass fishing will be been fantastic! The hot and humid weather has the smallies fired up, feeding heavily on crayfish and streamer patterns. Smallie fishing could be the best in the midsections of the Muskegon River, floating Pine to Thornapple has been very productive.

Fly Fishing: Sink-tip fly lines and brightly colored streamers are fishing well. Casting crayfish flies patterns near the banks or any logs and structure has also been producing many nice smallies. Clouser minnows, Smallmouth candy, and Circus Peanuts have produced the most fish for me. Mojo flies offer a great selection of summertime smallmouth bass patterns for fly fishing the Muskegon River.