Manistee County Fishing Report Archives

Photo by Todd and Brad Reed Photography

2020 Fishing Reports

*All reports are provided by the Manistee County Department of Natural Resources (DNRE) of Michigan.

March 12, 2020

Manistee River: Water levels were good so far, and steelhead numbers are improving. Steelhead and the odd salmon were found in Bear Creek.

Manistee Lake: Boat anglers launching from Arthur Street caught crappie and perch.

March 5, 2020

Manistee River: Had reports of some chrome steelhead taken at Tippy Dam. No big numbers yet; however, a few fish were starting to move.

February 27, 2020

Manistee River: Steelhead anglers found some fish during the warm-up.

February 20, 2020

Manistee River: Look for steelhead in the deeper holes during the cold snap. Brown trout fishing was slow below Tippy Dam. With the next thaw, steelhead fishing should really pick up.

February 13, 2020

Manistee River: Was still producing some steelhead; however, the cold snap by the end of the week will most likely slow the bite.

February 6, 2020

Manistee River: The steelhead action picked up with the mild weather, and those using beads did well.

January 31, 2020

Manistee River: With the mild weather, steelhead fishing continues, with anglers reporting some decent catches.

January 23, 2020

Manistee River: Anglers are finding steelhead when drifting spawn or beads in the slower water. Those fishing below Tippy Dam caught the occasional brown trout.

January 9, 2020

Manistee River: Is producing some steelhead for those using beads or spawn.

2019 Fishing Reports

December 12, 2019

Manistee River: Steelhead still can be found on the right day when using egg flies or beads. The occasional fresh fish also has been caught.

December 5, 2019

Manistee River: Steelhead continued to be caught though the fish were somewhat scattered. Try spinners, crank baits, flies or beads in the slower water. Those fishing near Suicide Bend caught the occasional coho.

November 21, 2019

Surface water temperatures were in the mid to high 40’s. Pier anglers should find some steelhead.

Manistee River: Steelhead were in the deeper holes through the cold front however the bite should pick up with the warmer temperatures this week. Most were fishing below Tippy Dam.

November 14, 2019

Should still have a decent number of steelhead and those braving the cold have been rewarded with a fish or two. A few brown trout can also be found.

November 7, 2019

When they could get out, pier anglers continued to target steelhead when using fresh spawn. A few whitefish were hitting on salmon eggs or wax worms.

Manistee River: Flow is a bit high and steelhead fishing was fair. Water temperatures below Tippy Dam were in the mid to high 40’s. Anglers caught steelhead, brown trout and even the odd salmon on flies, beads, spinners and crank baits. Those wading above and below the coffer dam caught a few fish.

October 24, 2019

Surface temperatures were about 53 degrees. Boats have not been able to get out. High water levels are hampering pier fishing, but when they can get out, steelhead were caught on spawn. There were some good reports of steelhead being caught off Bar Lake when using spawn.

Manistee River: Salmon fishing is winding down and the remaining fish are in pretty rough shape. Anglers on the lower river have begun to catch chrome steelhead. Good catch reports were coming from pier and surf anglers on the right day.

October 17, 2019

Surface water temperatures were about 54 degrees. Windy conditions made it difficult but when they can get out, small coho were taken with spawn off the pier and when surfcasting from the beach.

Manistee River: Continued to produce some salmon though the fish are quite dark.

October 10, 2019

Surface temperature readings were about 61 degrees. The fish cleaning station is now closed for the season. Few were out but shore and pier anglers were getting small coho 10-15 inches with spawn. Those targeting steelhead were surfcasting or fishing from the piers.

Manistee River: Anglers were catching Chinook and steelhead. Chinook could be found throughout the system with lots of fish spawning in the upper river. The run could peak this week. Try spawn, yarn or flies. Anglers were starting to catch steelhead on spawn or beads in the lower river.

October 3, 2019

Manistee: Had no reports as wind, waves and thunderstorms have kept boat anglers off the big lake. High waves kept anglers off the piers as well.

Manistee River: Look for fresh fish especially after all the rain. Look for steelhead near the gravel.

September 26, 2019

Surface temperature readings inched up to about 67 degrees, so fishing remains slow. Warm water top to bottom made things tough for pier anglers. Out deep, anglers found good numbers of coho and steelhead. Fish were caught 70 to 100 feet down in 300 to 500 feet with spoons and flies.

Manistee River: While the warm-up may have slowed catch rates, salmon were still moving up into the river and will continue to do so especially with any rain and cooler temperatures. The peak of the run typically occurs in the first week of October.

September 19, 2019

Surface temperatures were about 65 degrees. Some anglers did well out deep taking Chinook, coho and steelhead 70 to 100 feet down in 200 to 500 feet with spoons, flies and meat rigs. Pier fishing was slow.

Manistee River: Salmon fishing was fair to good with more fish showing up every day. Those trout fishing below Tippy Dam were taking fish on streamers, beads and wet flies.

September 12, 2019

Surface water temps were at about 65 degrees. Fishing slowed, but some Chinook, coho and steelhead were caught offshore in 150 to 300 feet, 50 to 90 feet down. Spoons, j-plugs and meat rigs were the most successful.

 

Manistee River: Chinook and coho were both there!

September 5, 2019

Offshore fishing was tough due to strong winds. When they could get out, the better fishing was 80 to 100 feet down in 200 to 500 feet for Chinook, coho and steelhead when trolling spoons and meat rigs. Pier fishing was a bit slow, but a few were taken by those casting spoons early or late.

Manistee Lake: Had a lot of anglers. Some reported success when trolling or jigging with artificial baits.

Manistee River: Salmon fishing has begun as fish were caught in the lower river. Water temperatures were favorable with the cooler weather.

August 29, 2019

Surface temperature readings were about 55 degrees as the lake had rolled over. Chinook salmon out on the “Shelf” had pushed into the channel and around the pier heads where those trolling spoons, flies and J-plugs had success. Out deeper, anglers came in with a mixed bag of Chinook, coho and steelhead taken 30 to 50 feet down in 80 to 150 feet. Pier anglers casting spoons caught a few fish.

Manistee River: Salmon are slowly starting to make their way into the system and a few have been caught but no big numbers yet.

August 22, 2019

Chinook, coho and steelhead were caught 40 to 70 feet down in 100 to 200 feet with spoons, J-plugs and meat rigs. A decent push of salmon moved into the harbor and were caught by those trolling in the channel and around the piers with spoons and J-plugs. Pier anglers casting spoons also caught a few fish early or late.

 

Manistee River: Is producing some bass and pike. Below Tippy Dam, a few small brown trout and Skamania were caught above and below the coffer dams and near Suicide Bend.

August 15, 2019

Surface water temperatures were up near 70 degrees. Big, healthy Chinook salmon continue to come in including many over 30 pounds. The fish were scattered. Chinook and steelhead were taken 40 to 60 feet down in 100 to 300 feet as well as 50 to 80 feet down in 500 feet or more. Some reported a mixed bag of Chinook, coho and steelhead. Spoons and meat rigs caught the most fish. Pier fishing was slow.

August 8, 2019

Surface temperatures were near 70 degrees and the Chinook salmon fishing was heating up. Fish were found 30 to 50 feet down in 100 to 150 feet or 40 to 70 feet down in 300 to 400 feet. Steelhead and a couple lake trout were also caught. Meat rigs and spoons were producing the better catches. Pier fishing remains slow.

August 1, 2019

Surface temperature readings were at about 70 degrees. Chinook were starting to show back up. The best fishing was found in 150 to 200 feet of water, 80 to 100 feet down. Meat rigs and flies were most successful. Lake trout were caught off shore in the same depths while bouncing the bottom. Pier fishing was slow.

July 25, 2019

Surface temperature readings were near 65 degrees. Some big Chinook salmon are starting to show back up as a couple 30 pounders were caught recently when trolling spoons and meat rigs 40 to 80 feet down in 120 to 250 feet. Lake trout area still being caught when bouncing the bottom in 100 to 180 feet. Pier fishing was slow as high water has kept anglers off the piers.

July 18, 2019

Surface temperature readings were about 65 degrees and salmon fishing was slow with only a couple taken along with steelhead 30 to 90 feet down in 90 to 150 feet. Lake trout fishing is still good along the bottom in 70 to 120 feet. Pier fishing remains slow. Anglers had some decent days for steelhead, but catch rates were not consistent.

July 11, 2019

Surface temperature readings were about 55 degrees. Chinook salmon fishing was slow however a good number of lake trout were caught. The best fishing was in 80 to 150 feet when bottom bouncing with cowbells and spin-glo’s. Pier fishing was slow however a couple steelhead were taken on shrimp or alewife.

Manistee River: Skamania have been caught all the up to Tippy Dam.

July 4, 2019

First the water was too cold but now it is too warm as surface water temperatures increased to 65 degrees. Catch rates slowed as the fish were scattered. A couple Chinook, steelhead and lake trout were caught 90 to 120 feet down in 120 to 150 feet on spoons and flies. Chinook and steelhead were found 80 to 200 feet down in 300 or more. Pier fishing picked up with steelhead caught on spawn, shrimp and alewife off the north pier.

Manistee River: Skamania were caught at Tippy Dam.

June 27, 2019

Surface temperature readings were holding near 50 degrees. Fishing was spotty but salmon and lake trout were found in 100 to 220 feet when trolling spoons. Baitfish have moved back into the harbor where pier anglers caught Chinook and steelhead on alewife.

June 13, 2019

Surface temperatures were near 52 degrees. A good number of Chinook were caught on spoons and flies in 90 to 200 feet. Steelhead and lake trout were also caught. Pier anglers using alewife in the harbor caught Chinook and steelhead.

June 6, 2019

Surface water temperatures inched up to near 50 degrees. Chinook salmon fishing was on fire with most fish taken with spoons 60 to 80 feet down in 150 to 200 feet. A small number of steelhead and lake trout were also caught. Pier fishing is slow.

June 6, 2019

Surface water temperatures inched up to near 50 degrees. Chinook salmon fishing was on fire with most fish taken with spoons 60 to 80 feet down in 150 to 200 feet. A small number of steelhead and lake trout were also caught. Pier fishing is slow.

May 30, 2019

Surface temperatures reached 45 degrees and the Chinook salmon have finally showed up and some big fish are coming in. The best fishing was 60 to 80 feet down in 100 to 120 feet with spoons. Good lake trout fishing continues when bouncing the bottom in 40 to 80 feet. Pier fishing is slow, but anglers did manage to get a couple Chinook salmon or a couple walleye at night.

Manistee River: Trout fishing remains strong with higher flows. We are starting to hear of some good fly hatches and dry fly fishing.

May 23, 2019

Surface temperature readings were about 42 degrees. Only a few Chinook salmon were caught but the lake trout fishing was still on fire. Both the salmon and lake trout were caught in 30 to 60 feet. Pier fishing was slow and windy conditions made it hard for anglers to get out. Those targeting walleye at night caught fish.

May 16, 2019

Surface water temperatures were holding near 40 degrees. Lake trout fishing was very good in 30 to 60 feet. A small number of Chinook salmon were also coming in. Pier fishing was slow however night anglers caught a decent number of walleye at night.

 

Manistee River: Steelhead are still being caught mainly on the gravel. Most are bottom bouncing with spawn or using beads and nymphs. Brown trout were caught.

May 16, 2019

Surface water temperatures were about 40 degrees. Lake trout fishing was heating up in deeper water as limit catches were reported. A few Chinook along brown trout were caught on spoons in 12 to 20 feet. Perch fishing slowed however both pier and boat anglers were getting a few on minnows or wigglers. Pier anglers caught a couple brown trout on spawn. Walleye were caught at night with body baits.

Manistee River: Water levels are dropping so trout fishing should improve. Reports came in on some decent fly hatches during the last warm up. Anglers were still taking some steelhead up near Tippy Dam.

May 2, 2019

Surface temperature readings were near 42 degrees. Perch fishing slowed but some were still being caught off the pier with minnows and wigglers. Boat anglers caught a few walleye in the channel when jigging with artificial baits. Those trolling in six to 12 feet outside the piers caught lake trout and a few brown trout on body baits.

Manistee River: The trout opener was slow because of cold water temperatures and higher water levels. A few fish were caught in the deeper holes. Fishing on the Little Manistee was also slow.

April 25, 2019

The fish cleaning station is now open and all but one dock is in. Surface water temperatures were about 38 degrees. Those trolling caught brown trout and lake trout with spoons and body baits in six to 12 feet. Small numbers of brown trout and lake trout were caught by pier anglers using spawn. A few perch were also caught off the pier. Smelt anglers found a few fish off the piers and near the creek mouths.

Manistee River: Steelhead fishing was a little more difficult due to high water levels, but a few fish were caught. Anglers are hoping the levels will be down somewhat by the trout opener this weekend.

April 11, 2019

Surface water temperature was about 38 degrees. There is one dock in however the fish cleaning station is still closed. There is still a lot of ice on the piers but enough has receded to get around. Pier anglers caught steelhead and brown trout with spawn. Those trolling spoons and body baits caught a couple steelhead, brown trout and small coho in six to 12 feet.

Manistee River: The steelhead bite slowed with the colder weather. Try slow drifting over the deeper holes in the lower river.

April 4, 2019

Manistee River: Anglers caught a moderate number of steelhead in the lower river.

March 28, 2019

Manistee River – Is producing fresh steelhead in the lower river.

February 28, 2019

Manistee River: Some are getting steelhead up near Tippy Dam. With cold water temperatures, they are fishing the deeper holes with spawn and beads.

February 21, 2019

Manistee River: Steelhead fishing is still slow, although a few were taken up near Tippy Dam.

January 17, 2019

Still had a few steelhead reported.

January 10, 2019

Still had a few steelhead reported.

2016 Fishing Reports

August 11, 2016

Dredging operations have started in the channel and could take up to a couple weeks depending on weather conditions. A good number of chinook were still being caught in 70 to 100 feet of water. Coho, lake trout and steelhead were also caught.

Manistee Lake: A few anglers were trolling for chinook salmon but there were no reports of any fish hooked. Both the large and smallmouth action was a bit slower. Fishing the cooler waters from the mouth of the Big Manistee River produced fish but anglers had to work for them. Try the weed beds near the mouth or fish deeper along the drop-offs.

Big Manistee River: The summer steelhead bite at Tippy Dam has come to a halt. There have been no reports of anglers taking fish. A few smallmouth bass were caught downriver.

August 4, 2016

Chinook salmon fishing picked up. Some big healthy fish were caughtoff the “Shelf” in 100 to 150 feet. Lake trout numbers slowed. Light numbers of steelhead and coho were caught. Pier anglers have caught walleye at night. Dredging operations in the area will be starting soon.

Manistee Lake: Large and smallmouth bass were less active than usual. Those fishing early morning or evening did best. Most were using a slow presentation with soft plastics.

Big Manistee River: Walleye activity in the lower section near the M-55 Bridge has started to increase. Those using crawlers near the bottom caught fish. Steelhead fishing up near Tippy Dam was slow so try above the Coffer Dam. A couple chinook were seen heading up into the river but none were caught. Some large crappie were caught in Hodenpyl Pond.

Little Manistee River: Salmon were noted as far up as the 6-Mile Bridge.

July 21, 2016

Surface water temperatures were up near 64 degrees. Chinook, steelhead and lake trout were caught out in 100 to 150 feet. A small number of steelhead were caught off the piers.

Manistee Lake: The bluegill bite was slower than usual. Those that caught fish were hitting the weeds along the southeast end. Some have caught walleye.

Big Manistee River: Anglers hitting the Tippy Dam area were hard pressed for Skamania with only a couple fish taken on spawn. A fair number of smallmouth bass were caught below the dam between the Sawdust Hole and Blacksmith Bayou when fly fishing or casting lures.

July 14, 2016

Surface water temperatures were about 62 degrees. Good numbers of lake trout are being caught in 60 to 100 feet. Chinook were caught in 100 to 150 feet. The occasional steelhead was still being caught off the piers.

Big Manistee River: Brown trout activity continues to improve especially for those casting flies and worms above Sawdust Bend. Those looking for steelhead near Tippy Dam were not having much luck. Fish caught were generally above the Cofferdam and hitting on live bait.

Manistee Lake: The large and smallmouth bite has been hit-or-miss. Try jigs and soft plastics in the weeds near Stronach or crank baits along the the drop-offs west of Penny Park. Pike continue to be active and were caught on everything from crank baits to inline spinners. Bluegills and rock bass were caught directly north of the Stronach Boat Launch.

July 7, 2016

Construction on the north pier is complete and the pier is now open to the public. Steelhead and a small number of brown trout have been caught by pier anglers. Boat anglers continue to catch lake trout in 80 to 100 feet and chinook or steelhead up high in 80 to 90 feet.

Big Manistee River: Skamania fishing improved in the upper waters near and at Tippy Dam. Most of the fish were caught above the Cofferdam when casting steelhead spawn or worms into the water discharge in the early morning between 4:00 – 9:00am.

Manistee Lake: Those targeting large and smallmouth bass have done well. The smallmouth were hitting crayfish pattern crank baits and the largemouth were going after soft plastics along the weed beds in 8 to 10 feet. Pike were active especially for those using inline spinners or minnows along the drop-offs in 7 to 15 feet. Walleye numbers are up slightly but anglers are still putting in a lot of time to get them.

June 23, 2016

Lake trout fishing is really good north of the harbor in 80 to 100 feet. Most of the chinook salmon that were caught were small. Steelhead are starting to show up and most were caught as deep as 500 feet. A couple brown trout and steelhead were caught off the pier.

Manistee Lake: The recent increase in water temperatures had the fish moving deeper than usual. Some bigger pike were caught on spinners in 7 to 15 feet. Anglers are getting decent catches of rock bass but those targeting bluegills found the action to be hit-or-miss. The mayfly hatch was in full bloom.

Big Manistee River: Skamania, the summer run steelhead have been moving into the area near Tippy Dam. Anglers are picking up large fish 10 pounds or more in the early morning between 5-8am with worms, spawn, or fresh shrimp. Sub-legal brown trout and rock bass continue to attract anglers of all ages to the area between Tippy Dam and the Sawdust Hole.

June 23, 2016

The north pier is still closed due to construction. Lake trout and a small number of chinook salmon were caught in 100 to 300 feet and steelhead were caught in 200 to 400 feet. A few walleye were still being caught in the channel at night.

Manistee Lake: Bass anglers casting along the shoreline have caught good numbers of large and smallmouth bass when on crank baits and plastic worms. Small pike were in abundance and found when trolling near the old submerged docks.

Big Manistee River: Anglers at Tippy Dam caught some fresh steelhead on flies, crawlers and shrimp. Smallmouth bass, rock bass and pike were becoming more active.

June 9, 2016

The north pier still closed. Baitfish are still in the harbor and anglers were picking up a small number of steelhead, brown trout and chinook in the early morning. Walleye are still being caught at night. Those trolling caught lake trout, steelhead and chinook in 100 to 300 feet.

Manistee Lake: Northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass have been caught.

Big Manistee River: A few summer run steelhead have been caught on crawlers in the early morning at Tippy Dam. A couple legal size brown trout were caught but most were undersize. Those fly fishing have been very active with good catches of trout between High Bridge and Tippy Dam. A few suckers were still being caught.

June 2, 2016

Surface water temperatures were about 55 degrees. The north pier remains closed due to construction on the lighthouse. Those trolling caught chinook, steelhead and lake trout in 100 to 300 feet. A few trout and salmon were caught off the south pier. Bait fish are still present in the harbor. Good numbers of walleye were still being caught at night.

Manistee Lake: Those heading out for large and smallmouth bass continue to report good numbers of fish. Most were caught in shallow waters on soft plastic worms or crankbaits.

Big Manistee River: The spring steelhead run has come to an end. A couple legal size brown trout were caught but overall most of the fish were only 8 to 14 inches. Those targeting redhorse and white suckers had excellent catch rates up near Tippy Dam. Try fishing near the accessible fishing platform or wading down from there.

May 26, 2016

The north pier was still closed because of construction on the lighthouse. Good numbers of lake trout were still coming in and there was an increase in chinook salmon. Most fish were caught in 60 to 100 feet. A small number of brown trout were caught off the piers and good numbers of walleye have been caught at night. Baitfish are showing up in the harbor.

Manistee Lake: Large and smallmouth bass were reported in good numbers and both were hitting on rapalas and top-water lures. A few anglers were targeting walleye but none were reported. Northern pike numbers were good. Head towards the Arthur Street Launch and try casting crankbaits. A couple yellow perch were caught but most did not have much luck.

Big Manistee River: The spring steelhead run is coming close to the end with only a few late fish hitting a jig and wax worm on the Wellston side at Tippy Dam. The small brown trout recently stocked were hitting on anything anglers threw at them and the low water levels made sight fishing fun. Good numbers of white and redhorse suckers were between Tippy Dam and High Bridge and hitting on flies.

May 12, 2016

Surface water temperatures were about 47 degrees. Small numbers of brown trout and chinook salmon are being caught outside the pier. Walleye are being caught in the channel and between the piers.

Big Manistee River: Anglers caught some walleye with the largest reported at 30 inches. Fish were still being caught even after rain muddied the river.

Big Manistee River: Water levels were still on the high side and running 42 to 44 degrees. Steelhead are moving with a good number of fish up near Tippy Dam. Pink has been a hot color. The lower end of the river has been slow because of the high and muddy water. Those looking for suckers have done well when using crawlers near Bear Creek.

May 7, 2016

Water temperatures were about 43 degrees. Anglers have picked up the occasional steelhead around the piers.

Manistee Lake: The perch numbers have dropped but anglers were still picking up fish near Penny Park.

March 24, 2016

When conditions allow, pier anglers should still find some steelhead and brown trout. Try floating spawn under a bobber or casting spoons.

Manistee Lake: Boat anglers are picking up a few perch near Penny Park. The fish were hitting minnows and wax worms. Those trolling have caught steelhead and a couple coho on body baits or Hot-n-Tots.

Big Manistee River: Anglers up near Tippy Dam were reporting fresh steelhead but catch rates were hit-or-miss. The better catches were coming between High Bridge and Tippy Dam. White and redhorse suckers were hitting on crawlers in the Bear Creek area.

March 10, 2016

Brown trout trolling could get started by the weekend. No reports yet but boat anglers should start seeking them out if the weather holds up.

Manistee Lake: The Arthur Street boat launch is open with ice covering 50 percent of the lake on the east side. Ice was still present but considered unsafe for fishing.

Big Manistee River: Anglers fishing near Tippy Dam reported slow catch rates for steelhead and brown trout. Those caught were hitting on spawn, flies, wax worms and minnows. With the recent snowmelt and rain, water levels are up and more rain is expected. Fresh steelhead were reported in the lower end of Bear Creek. They were hitting on spawn or Hot-n-Tots.

February 18, 2016

Manistee River: Warmer temperatures and runoff will make for some good steelhead fishing.

February 11, 2016

Magnets River: Has steelhead fishing. With colder temperatures in the forecast, check out the deeper holes.

January 28, 2016

Manistee River: Continues to provide some good steelhead fishing. Fish have been caught throughout the river. Anglers are getting bright colored fish as well as plenty of fresh ones. Those fishing below Tippy Dam have done well with spawn or jigs and wax worms.

January 21, 2016

Manistee River: Those able to brave the cold are taking a fair to good number of steelhead. There was an ice jam along M-37 at Sherman.

January 7, 2016

Steelhead fishing has been good on all sections, from the mouth up to Tippy Dam. The rain in December brought good numbers of fish into the river. Anglers are still catching some fresh fish throughout the river system. Try spawn, beads or a jig and wax worm.