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

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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Muskegon River Trout - Fly Fishing Hatches

Muskegon River Trout Fishing - Dry Fly Hatch fishing at it's finest!
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 Gray Drake spinner fall! 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 Gray Drake mayflies. Dry fly fishing the Gray Drake spinners  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!

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.

Dry fly trout fishing the Grey Drake  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 in the evenings on the surface. It's one of the only times of the year that browns are less wary during daylight hours. These trout gorge on Gray Drakes and nymphs preparing to emerge.
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.
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!

Muskegon River Trout Fishing Report

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Spring Steelhead _ Muskegon River Guide Report

As the days get longer and old man winter loses his grip, our thoughts drift towards Spring Steelhead on the Muskegon River.  These treasured fish ascend west Michigan rivers in great numbers during March and April.  With enthusiasm, anglers take to the rivers and streams in search of these silver leapers! 

   The best techniques for spring steelhead seem  to be fishing spawn or jigs tipped with waxworms, drifted under a float. Strikes are subtle but electric once hooked!  Steelhead make dashing runs with powerful jumps.  Wading anglers must chase these fish on foot in order to land them.   

  Fly Fisherman also have great success with steelhead by drifting small egg patterns and nymphs near nesting or spawning steelhead.  Often times,  large dominate male   attack flies to chase them away for females.  Larch March and April, anglers may see lightened areas of gravel with fish spawning on top of rock shoals, these areas are called Redds, or spawning gravel.  These areas are a hot spot for fish activity.   Drift flies like stone flies or hex nymphs are very effective for these spawning steelhead.   Flies may be purchased at
Mojoflies.com.       Dark flies with brightly colored egg patterns seem to work best.

Another favorite technique is to cast spinners along the shoreline for moving steelhead.  These fish often follow the lures and make for heart pounding strikes!      Often times, anglers may hire a fishing guide to help them learn the skills needed to land many steelhead.  Fishing guides have all of the proper gear and tackle, making for a fun day on the water.  The Muskegon River has many fishing guides, one of the best is Chad Betts.  He has guided for many years, catching many Steelhead.    Michigan Fly Fishing

Now is a great time of year to try something new and different,  get outside and do some steelhead fishing on a river near you!