Not a good fall for salmon fishing.

October 2, 2014

mcdonald_river_fishingFor the Love of Fishing is written by Sean McDonald and brought to you by Dreamweaver Lures,

It is looking like it is a bad fall to be a salmon fisherman. We are catching a few kings in the Pere Marquette River but nothing like it should be at this time of the year. The first wave of kings from earlier in the month have spawned and died. The upcoming full moon on October 8 should bring the rest of the kings into the river, I do not think many more will arrive. The Manistee River is fishing much better than the Pere Marquette for kings at this time. I have seen very fresh kings swimming upstream on the PM the last two days but not in any numbers. The water is cold and they are heading upstream in a hurry to spawn and die.

Angler traffic has dropped off because of archery deer season and the fall colors have been picking up. Bird hunters are enjoying the migration of woodcock and ruffed grouse are being taken near autumn olive bushes.

The good news is that the steelhead fishing is picking up on both the Manistee and the Pere Marquette. We had good steelhead fishing most of the summer (and now) in Lake Michigan and they are relitively close to shore at this time. Since there were not the normal numbers of kings in the rivers this Fall the steelhead should be easier to catch. There is simply not as many natural eggs floating down the river that washed away from the kings spawning beds.

photo-2Brown trout- primarily residents are a great fish to target this time of the year. They are doing the same thing as the Fall steelhead- eating salmon eggs. For fly fishing for browns, use beads or double egg flies and a floating line and indicator. I would suggest about a 3x tippet. Many of the browns you catch you will see in advance directly downstream of spawning kings. Watch your line closely especially on your first cast a brown eating salmon eggs will move several feet to take an egg. The resident browns will begin spawning just before Halloween, I like to leave these fish alone to do their thing- the PM only stocks about 30,000 annually and we rely on natural reproduction to sustain our great resident trout fishery. The browns and cohos still in Lake Michigan will also enter the rivers over the next two months to spawn.

The more rain we see this fall, the more fall steelhead we will see enter into the rivers. The steelies do not have to be in the rivers in the fall because they do not spawn until Spring. They may enter the lower ends of the rivers during higher water periods to feed and fade back into the lake several times during fall/winter. The fish that make it into the mid river sections are likely to stay all Winter.

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