Pere Marquette RiverĀ Report

March 19th, 2018

I’m going to be blunt on this one: fishing is tough right now. Low/clear water combined with bright, sunny skies and lots of angling pressure make for difficult conditions to contend with. That said, there are fish around, you just have to adapt your approach and bring your A-game. It’s been pretty cold out there first thing in the morning, but once the sun gets over the trees, the guides on the rods stop freezing every few casts and we can start shedding layers. While this is great weather to fish in, it’s not necessarily the best forĀ fishing. But if you’re patient, persistent and willing to change where and how you normally fish, you will be rewarded!

Spawning activity has slowed a bit due to the colder, clearing water and heavy traffic (especially with the nicer weather coinciding with the weekends lately) but there have been fish on the rocks early and late in certain areas. The trout are definitely taking note of where the most recent spawning activity is taking place as my clients have been getting into many nice trout feeding on small, natural colored egg patterns in the past week. Usually the first good presentation that comes over the drop-off is the one that gets eaten but there are times when a little more effort needs to be put in to obtain success. Fine tippets, small flies and a delicate fighting hand are required to tame steelhead and bigger browns under these conditions.

As soon as we receive some warm rain, the fishing is going to go off! It should prompt some new fish to push upstream and shuffle the deck so-to-speak with our current steelhead population. For the weekend warrior fishing during a busy Saturday with high sun over low/clear water, one would think all the fish have already spawned and flushed back to the lake. Look to the deeper, snag-infested holes and micro pockets with good depth/cover near the major spawning flats for fish that are willing to bite. Try floating a different stretch if you want to escape the crowds of the Fly Only Water. There are fish throughout the system and many of the mid to lower river stretches are underutilized this time of year and can yield good fishing because the fish see less pressure. Small clown, nuke eggs and glo-bugs in peach or steelhead orange have been doing the best in my boat with small sparrow nymphs and black stonefly nymphs bringing up the rear. The salmon fry will begin to start popping in better numbers with day-time temps increasing the water temperature so have those on deck as well. Green caddis nymphs will have their moments too.

The river is going to get busier as we approach the later part of this month so please be kind to one another. Make sure we respect each other’s space both in boats and while wading. Know that certain stretches of this river can get congested during the later half of March and throughout the month of April, so be prepared for that. Proper etiquette MUST be practiced by everyone enjoying the resource so it can continue to support the amount of attention that it receives.

Things are underway and we have guides on the river every day from now until the end of April. There are still some open dates left for the rest of March and throughout next month. Call (231) 745-3972 to book a trip, a room at the Lodge or if you have any questions the guys in the shop will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Be nice to each other out there as it’s only going to get busier on the river so leave the negative attitude in the car. We’re all out there to enjoy a day on the water, nothing more. Be sure to bundle up for those early starts if that’s the route you’re choosing. Be safe, let ’em run and we’ll see you on the creek!

Kyle Hartman – Guide

Pere Marquette River Lodge

231 745 3972

  • Flow
    760 CFS @ Scottville
  • Visibility
    Clear (6-8ft)
  • Water Temperature
    35-43 degrees
  • Best time of day to fish
    Early and late
  • Indicator
  • Recommended Leader
    9' Mirage leader
  • Recommended Tippet
    2-3x Mirage
  • Best Rod Outfit
    10'7wt Clearwater
  • Best Techniques
  • Comments
    Think outside the box in terms of where and what you fish!
  • 6 day outlook
    Grand Rapids
    Weather from OpenWeatherMap
  • Our thoughts on the outlook
    Do your rain dance!