The weather finally realized what time of the year it is as temps dropped and so did some white stuff. The water temp on the Manistee below Tippy dam is still in the low 40s which makes it ideal for both steelhead and trout fishing. More steelhead have entered the system since the past report and they are relatively spread throughout; word has it that other rivers like the Betsie, PM and Boardman also have more fish in them as well. Fresh fish continue to trickle in and some of fish are starting to get a hint of color that show’s their relation to rainbow trout. This also means that fish are beginning to transition to some holding water rather than mostly runs which has been the primary focus of anglers so far this fall.
As steelhead move around, target all types of water including holes, tail-outs, structure and around wood. Now is a good time to fish indicators/floats, swing a streamer/spey fly, or even cast streamers for steelhead. Streamer fishing the lower Manistee for trout remains good with 3-4″ baitfish patterns working well when olive and naturalsculpin/goby patterns aren’t and hold on tight if a steelhead grabs the other end of your 6 wt. streamer rod – you’ll know it. The water levels are o.k. but are running clear – drop down in leader size and/or consider using fluorocarbon especially when the sun is out.
Don’t replace your fly rods with snow shovels just yet – there is still some good fishing to be had – especially if the predicted mild El Nino keeps temps moderate.