Pere Marquette River Report

April 15th, 2017


Spring steelhead season 2017 is starting to wind down. Not that there isn’t still great steelhead fishing to be had depending on traffic rotation and weather/river conditions. It’s just that after months of pursuing migratory rainbows, the coming weeks get anglers from all around excited to focus on the resident brown trout of the PM. Whether it’s a 7wt and a full sink with a streamer, a 6wt and a team of fry patterns, or a 5wt and a micro egg, targeting browns on the Pere Marquette is great for many different reasons for many different people. They are a gorgeous fish. They are a moody fish. They are voracious. They are addictive.

Steelhead are still spawning or finishing up spawning and heading back to the big lake in a hurry. They are wasting no time now that water temps are increasing. For many steelhead from here and out, the first gravel they come to is the one they spawn on during this time of year. Drop-backs have been in the deep, snag infested holes and runs and breaching randomly as they drop back to the lake. Fry patterns, smaller eggs and stoneflies have been a staple all spring long for steelhead.

Trout fishing has been great for those targeting them and those who are getting them incidentally around spawning steelhead. They have been active and aggressive to a variety of different techniques and flies. There are a ton of fry swimming the shallow, sandy inside bends of the river and brown trout know this. They will sit just adjacent to the bar, usually right on the drop-off to deeper water but still in easy striking distance of unsuspecting fry in an eddy along the bank. Casting fry patterns in areas such as this would be a good idea. The trout are still feasting on the remaining actively spawning steelhead eggs. Fishing with a 5wt, a small indicator, minimal lead and size 10-14 egg pattern will produce trout of all sizes. Streamer fishing usually brings out the biggest, baddest boys in the stream. Fish your flies as close to the bank or cover as possible. White, chartreuse/white, olive/white, and black/red have been the hot streamer colors.

Now is the time to unwind and relax after a long steelhead season. The river is in great shape: normal flows upriver with a slight stain to it and increasingly higher and more stain the further downriver you venture. Weekends have been busy but it is starting to settle down. We’ve had some amazing weather on the stream as well and it just feels rejuvenating floating downstream listening to the grouse drum and soaking up the 70 degree sun.

The shop has a sale on cold weather gear happening right now so stop in and check that out. We still have a decent stock in our Costa display but they are selling quick! The river looks awesome and the fishing has been fantastic. Come on up and welcome spring the right way by wetting a line here in northern Michigan. Thank you to everyone who fished with us this spring steelhead season and we look forward to doing it again this summer and fall! Be kind to one another out there and keep it light, I’ll see you out there!

Kyle Hartman -Guide

Pere Marquette River Lodge

231 745 3972

  • Flow
    1170 CFS @ Scottville
  • Visibility
    3-4 feet
  • Water Temperature
    40-45 degrees
  • Best time of day to fish
    Early and late
  • Indicator
    Blackbird or Thill
  • Recommended Leader
    9' Mirage leader
  • Recommended Tippet
    2x Mirage
  • Best Rod Outfit
    10' 7wt for Steelhead, 9' 7 or 8wt for streamer fishing, 9'6" 5wt for egging trout
  • Best Techniques
    Indicator nymphing
  • Comments
    Bring an array of set-ups, there's a lot of variety available in terms of techniques right now.
  • 6 day outlook
    Grand Rapids
    Weather from OpenWeatherMap
  • Our thoughts on the outlook
    High's in the 50's and 60's, slightly cooler Thursday with rain predicted then.