Pere Marquette River Report

March 21st, 2017

Things are rolling right along now that we’ve officially started the spring season. The river is back to regular flows and clarity with fish spread throughout. There is a good mix of steelhead in the system, lots of spawning hold-over winter fish, as well as a few new spring fish that are ascending the river. There is also a fair amount of drop-back fish that have finished spawning and are now heading back to Lake Michigan. Drop-backs are very aggressive and looking to put on weight before they return to the lake, making them excellent candidates for a swung or stripped streamer but will eat a well presented egg or nymph even more regularly.


The traffic has definitely increased now that we are nearing the typical peak of the spring run. Boat traffic has tripled up high so thinking outside of the box and fishing different water has been paying off. So many people who fish the PM never venture outside of the “Flies Only” water, which is an amazing stretch of river don’t get me wrong, but there is so much river that fishes just as well as the fly water but receives a fraction of the pressure. Fishing different flies is another important factor to increasing success. Black stonefly nymphs in smaller sizes and egg patterns that are smaller and cover multiple color schemes have been working well but showing the fish something completely different will help especially on those crowded weekends. That nymph that your buddies normally laugh at might just be what it takes to get a bite on those tough days.


The trout are taking notice of the steelhead eggs rolling off the redds as well as the nymphs being dislodged from the gravel with so much spawning going on. Glo-bugs, nukes, clowns, crystal and rag eggs will all work when tied in the appropriate size and color. Presentation is the most crucial aspect when working a big, egging trout. Have the flies at the correct depth and the correct speed (NO DRAG!) before it gets to the fish. Casting on their heads will only spook them. These browns are the descendants of the first introduction of brown trout to the United States; they are wise! Fish light tippet but not so light that you have no chance of fighting the fish quickly enough so they will revive properly and release well.


The shop is stocked with all kinds of goodies to get you geared up for spring. We have a new Costa Sunglasses display with some of the finest pairs of polarized glasses available. The 580’s are incredible and will change your view on clarity, literally! The lodge has clean, affordable rooms as well as cozy cabins that are perfect for a getaway here in the northwoods. The guides still have open dates if you’re looking to work on your technique and get a better feel for the river. The fishing has been excellent this month and I hope April brings us just as much excitement on the end of our line. Thank you guys for reading, it is my pleasure to keep you all informed and apologize for the lapse in reports…someone’s gotta net all these fish!


Kyle Hartman -Guide

Pere Marquette River Lodge


231 745 3972

  • Flow
    740 CFS
  • Visibility
    2 feet
  • Water Temperature
    40-44 degrees
  • Best time of day to fish
  • Indicator
    Blackbird or Thill
  • Recommended Leader
    9' Mirage leader
  • Recommended Tippet
    2x Mirage
  • Best Rod Outfit
    10' 7wt for Steelhead
  • Best Techniques
    Indicator nymphing
  • Comments
    Show the fish something different, flies that are outside of the other guy's box.
  • 6 day outlook
    Grand Rapids
    Weather from OpenWeatherMap
  • Our thoughts on the outlook
    Warmer weather on the horizon with some rain predicted early next week.