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

Monday, February 8, 2010

Muskegon River Spring Steelhead

Spring Steelhead on the Muskegon River.

Over the past two days, I had the pleasure of fly fishing with Shun Washiya. Shun lives in the UK and in his words, took a "fly fishing holiday to visit Steelhead designations around the world." The Muskegon River was first on the his list!

I was less than pleased with the weather forecast... winds 7-15 in the morning, highs in the mid twenties... Just what you want to hear when fly fishing for Steelhead.
Nothing like frozen fly line and frost bit finger tips. After changing fly lines and teaching Shun our bastardized method of Great Lakes Chuck-n-Duck, things began to roll along quite nicely.( After a morning Monster, and 6 hand warmers ) Within the first few drifts of the morning he was in to a fat Rainbow in the riffle above Pine Street.
This spot is loaded with trout and is a great way to start the morning!

Around 11:30 things began to change. The wind died down and the sun popped out for awhile. We moved the boat to several deeper runs. Many drifts and only a few small trout in those locations. I decided to change up patterns instead of moving. Shun hit his first Steelhead of the day, a stout double striped buck pictured on left. After ten photos Shun was fired up, had faith in the water (and guide) and was now ready to fish! We managed to hook four more Steelhead that afternoon and landed another bright hen and a smaller buck.

Those of you that know me well understand that I prefer to fish floats and spawn during the cold winter months. Typically, you hook and play far more Steelhead and line management is just easier. It did feel great to hook-up Steelhead on a fly rod. There is certainly something different about feeling the "grab" of the fly verses watching a float go down. They are both cool if there is a fish at the end!

By the second day, things were beginning to groove well. Shun had the cast and the drift down and fishing smoothly. Air temps, still not warm, were better than the day before. Within the first three hours on Sunday, he had landed an nice Brown, hooked two other Steelhead and landed a dark winter hen from a deep run. Oddly though, almost every Steelhead landed (7 for 11- 2 days) were all on either Stone flies or Hex nymphs. Often times that is a sign that Spring is near, the hens need protein to help mature the eggs, Stone flies become active in late February, and salmon fry begin to emerge this time of year. I was thinking more along the lines that every Steelhead from the Dam to Bridgton have all been either hooked, pricked, stung, or caught and released on spawn sacks or egg flies. Nymphs were something different.

Point being that we both had a fantastic two days of fly fishing! Not the best weather or best conditions. The water was 32 degrees, low, and gin clear. Because the Muskegon is a tailwater fishery, it has so much more to offer. It never freezes, and has piles of resident trout and a lot of Steelhead. How many places in the world today, can you hook over ten Steelhead in two days fly fishing in February? This river has a lot to offer anglers. Sometime this Spring, take and day and enjoy the river!