Even though we are approaching the mid-point of October, the weather feels far from it and the fish have been acting accordingly; migratory salmon continue to trickle into local rivers like the Manistee and Betsie. Most fish are moving in and hitting the spawning gravel immediately rather than staging in deep holes in the lower river systems so look for fish in the pocket water near gravel for your best salmon fishing right now. Color change on the trees is just starting in some areas – which is also later than normal, so look for color season to be prolonged also.
The water levels are low and clear and are running warm for this time of year – the Manistee is just below 60 degrees and when things change – that is, we receive some significant rainfall and water temps drop – a good push of fish should move in. Last week’s rain mostly went into the ground and didn’t increase levels much but the forecast is calling for more rain and favorable North and Northwest winds which should only help get more fish to move upstream. Some steelhead are around but like the salmon, not in the numbers we typically expect this time of year. Those who keep their flies moving and keep at it are typically the ones rewarded with chrome and a lot of fin-attitude. Then again, the steelhead have been hard to land with the temps beings so warm but that’s one of the reasons we like to fish for them so much.
The trout fishing has been a little slower than normal for this time of year – also because of the weather. The water is low and clear so stealth is paramount. Streamer fishing the bigger sections of rivers with some meaty looking fly patterns are getting some pre-spawn browns to play, but like anytime of the year – keep the flies moving and stay positive – you are only one cast away. Terrestrial fishing continues thanks to the warm weather but mix it up and when there are a lot of leaves and other debris floating down the river, the surface fishing really slows and it’s time to tie on a streamer.