Pere Marquette River Report

November 14th, 2018

And just like that, we’re into winter steelheading by the second week of November! It’s been cold out there, with high’s in the mid 20’s yesterday (that’s a lot of clearing ice out of the guides) and the warmer days with the daytime high reaching the low 30’s. It looks like a couple days of warmer weather on the way then cooling off again. There’s skim ice near the shoreline on the lake I live on as I type this. While the weather might be a little chilly, the fish are definitely around, makes braving the frigid temperatures worth it:

Small eggs (nukes and rag clowns) have still been producing best but small stones, hare’s ears, pheasant tails, and hex nymphs will start to really produce with clearing/cooling water. Water temps are in the mid to upper 30’s so low and slow is the name of the game. Fish are holding in deeper seams, pools and runs with softer water and wood structure. The streamer bite was good last week when we had higher water and more stain (and warmer weather), both stripping and swinging.

The river is pretty clear throughout the middle and upper sections, with the lower parts holding a little more stain. There are fish throughout the system. If we continue to get some more steady rain I could definitely see some more fish entering the river. We got a few new fish with the bump in water last week and deck shuffled a bit but with the amount of pressure (particularly on weekends) and colder water, the fly bite has been tough. Hopefully the rifle opener tomorrow will pull some traffic off the water.

Remember to dress warm and layer up! Bootfoot neoprene waders, puffball jackets, multiple pairs of gloves/mittens, hand/toe warmers, winter hats, bring it all! Propane heaters are a great idea too. Use caution at the boat launches/take-outs this time of year. Ropes and 4-wheel drive are a necessity. The hills at the public accesses can also be tricky. Studded boots can help your cause when things are slick.

Please remember to practice catch and release on these wild, naturally reproduced Pere Marquette steelhead. Limiting your catch does wonders for ALL populations of fish, not just steelhead. And there’s nothing wrong with keeping a fish here or there when harvested legally, be it bait or fly. But some guys can be just plain greedy. I yearn for the day that I get the chance to take my son on the river for a chance to see one of these awesome creatures in a beautiful setting like the PM. We need to take lessons from fisheries that were abused in the past so much so that some species were almost wiped out entirely. CATCH AND RELEASE WORKS! Take care of our natural resources and future generations will thank you!

The shop opens at 7am and we have cozy cabins and warm rooms in the Lodge. The shop also has plenty of warm clothing and outerwear. I don’t really see any prolonged warm-ups in the forecast so dress accordingly. Sporting an orange hat might not be a bad idea with tomorrow being the open day of rifle season. Be safe and we’ll see you out there!

Kyle Hartman – Guide

Pere Marquette River Lodge

231 745 3972

  • Flow
    858 CFS @ Scottville
  • Visibility
  • Water Temperature
    35-38 degrees
  • Best time of day to fish
    Mid day/afternoon (when the water is at its warmest)
  • Indicator
  • Recommended Leader
    9' 0x Mirage
  • Recommended Tippet
    1x-2x Mirage
  • Best Rod Outfit
    11' 7wt Clearwater Switch Rod
  • Best Techniques
  • Comments
    Fish the slower seams and keep your flies near bottom.
  • 6 day outlook
    Grand Rapids
    Weather from OpenWeatherMap
  • Our thoughts on the outlook
    Bundle up!