Muskegon River Fishing Report – February 27, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

Sac fry fly patterns will be a “go to” for spring fishing !

The Muskegon river fishing report for the last days of February are about the mild winter, good river conditions and the seasons ahead chasing migratory steelhead in the spring and salmon in the fall, along with resident trout and smallmouth bass during the summer.

It won’t be long and we’ll all be gearing up for the annual steelhead spawning run on the Muskegon river. This historically gets going once river temperatures warm up a bit and this is usually around mid March. That said, this has been a VERY odd winter of weather and the Farmers Almanac was WAAAAYYY off this year.

Not to be overlooked, are the resident Brown and Rainbow trout that can be fished for year round in and around the Newaygo area, north of Grand Rapids. The better trout fishing is typically in the first 10-12 miles below Croton hydroelectric dam, as this is where we have both cooler water and habitat for the insects that trout key in on as their primary food source throughout the year.

With both fly fishing and light spin tackle, we can target all species of fish that migrate up river for spawning purposes or call the Muskegon river home year round.

With a very mild winter overall, the rivers in west Michigan are in great shape and we can only hope that these good conditions now, translate into good fishing this spring, summer and fall.

For any considering a guided outing in 2023, it may be best to touch base soon, as prime time dates in steelhead, trout, smallmouth and salmon “seasons” are filling up fast.

Good fishing….!


Muskegon River Fishing Report – January 4, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

Andrew with a great Muskegon river winter steelhead

Over the last week+, the Muskegon river has seen a lot of changes due to unseasonably warm weather, which melted most of the 20’ish inches of snow that fell between Croton and Rogers dam reservoirs the week prior. The river level and temperature did come up as a result, but this will likely be short lived and we’ll probably see levels drop back to near normal and temperatures return to the 33-34 degree range it was at prior to Christmas.

All that being said, there are both resident Brown and Rainbow trout, as well as some migratory steelhead that are “wintering over” in the river, that need to eat and are there to be caught.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, focusing on the most likely winter “lies”, will put you in the best position to hook fish during this time of winter. I have not heard any reports from friends or fellow guides about any new steelhead coming in from lake Michigan and although we may see a trickle of them here and there, we’ll most likely have to wait another couple months for the start of our spring steelhead run.

Should anyone be considering getting out for some walk in/wade fishing on west Michigan rivers such as the Rogue, White or Pere Marquette rivers and would like some suggestions on rigging and locations to get into some “fishy” water, don’t hesitate calling or sending me an email – 616-560-3195.

For now,


Muskegon River Fishing Report – December 28, 2022 – Newaygo, Michigan

Steve with a nice one !!

The Muskegon river is running a bit below “average” flows for this time of December, but did come up a bit over the last day+. River temperatures are in the 34-35 degree range and both resident Brown and Rainbow trout, along with migratory steelhead are there to be caught for those willing to fish through promising pools and runs where fish will be this time of year.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, we can target those likely holding spots for fish who have acclimated to winter like river conditions. With lower river temperatures, fish can be a bit lethargic during extreme weather shifts, but they are there and do need to eat !

With some very warm weather coming through in the days ahead, I’m sure that we’ll see a rise in river levels as snow melts up and down the entire Muskegon river watershed.

I will only be doing a select number of half day trips in the next 3 weeks, the I will have several weeks of post op recovery from a scheduled surgery. If any want to try and get out for a half day in that time frame, it would be best to call or email me sooner than later.

Looking forward to the spring season ahead, it will be upon us before we know it !

For now,



Muskegon River Fishing Report-December 15, 2022-Newaygo, Michigan

Charlie with a NICE ONE !

West Michigan saw some very unusual weather come through the last couple of months, from sunny, 70+ degree days , to blinding snow storms that dumped inches of snow in a matter of a few hours, some of those came over a week-10 day time frame ! A result of this was that river temperatures throughout the state remained higher than normal going into December, but it looks like we’re fast approaching “winter mode” for these rivers. The Muskegon river in particular held very good temperatures much longer than it normally does, having stayed in the mid to upper 40’s for a number of weeks leading up to the arrival of December.

All that being said, there are still both migratory steelhead and resident Brown and Rainbow trout in the Muskegon river that are feeding and will continue to do so throughout the winter. As river temperatures drop, so will the fishes metabolism and feeding habits.

I will still be out pursuing both after the holidays come to an end, as December and January fishing on the Muskegon river can be not only productive for “winter conditions”, but also quite pretty when the weather allows for it.

Both full and half day trips are available during the winter months, however half days are most common and we focus on the warmest part of the day to fish.

For any considering a spring outing for our spring run steelhead, know that I’m running out of open dates and if even on your radar, so to speak, it may be best to call soon to learn more about my limited availability – 616-560-3195.

Have a good Friday and weekend ahead !


Muskegon River Fishing Report – December 8, 2022 – Newaygo, Michigan

Steve holds a “rocket” of a Muskegon river steelhead from yesterday……this one gave us 6 wonderful jumps !

The Muskegon river early winter steelhead fishing continues, with fish moving closer towards their “winter lies” as river temperatures drop into the lower 40’s. The river continues to run very clear, with visibility exceeding 10′ and as a result, we’re downsizing our offerings to both migratory steelhead and resident Brown and Rainbow trout.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, we’re finding fish in some of the likely spots, along with some fish who are holding in some very different and often difficult, water to fish.

Fishing pressure has dropped off and with less traffic, finding fish “where they’re supposed to be” is a matter of simply covering a lot of water on any given day.

Once river temperatures drop below 40, fishes metabolism drop, they do become a big more lethargic, but they still have to eat !

A combination of washed out egg patterns, along with small nymphs will be on the menu for fish in the colder weeks ahead. Downsizing line/tippet will help as well for those fishing such patterns.

Some are still getting steelhead to take a swung fly, but this too will drop off as water temperatures drop.

We did find some brighter colored steelhead yesterday, which is a sign that some new ones have entered the river system from lake Michigan.

With some moderate weather now and in the short term forecast, there should not be a lot of change to river conditions as we inch closer to Christmas.

More to follow…


Muskegon River Fishing Report – December 3, 2022 – Newaygo, Michigan

Rich holds a great Muskegon river fall steelhead.

The Muskegon river early winter steelhead fishing continues and despite some very odd weather over the last near 2 weeks, there are fish to be caught and any given day can find quality steelhead in the bottom of my net !

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, we’re targeting areas where both migratory steelhead and resident Brown and Rainbow trout will “hold” in colder water temperatures that come with early December fishing.

The Muskegon river is running VERY clear, so downsizing tippet and at times, your “offering” of either egg-nymph patterns or even streamers swung with longer rods and sink tip lines, will prove beneficial. Sunny days seem to coincide with more river traffic, which can dictate the “lies” that fish are in, so it can be a matter of covering water to find such spots that may not have had much traffic or fishing pressure.

The overall fall/early winter Muskegon river steelhead run has been pretty good for the most part. Late Octover – mid November found the greatest number of steelhead in the system, but this and most all Michigan rivers, is not a “big numbers of fish” kind of thing. This is the first year in my 26 years of full time guiding, that I’ve seen the river so clear, for so long and throughout the entire river system, from Croton dam outside of Newaygo, all the way down to Muskegon itself.

We were blessed with some of the best steelhead populations and fishing from early 2000’s up to 2013-14’ish that we’ve quite possibly ever seen in Michigan, but such is mother nature and her fluctuating ways. So many who were fortunate enough to get in some fishing during that time, would be best served relishing in those moments and memories and not try to seek out similar results…it’s just not going to happen in the near future.

Based on current estimates of steelhead in the river though, we should have viable winter fishing for them up to the point where river temperatures drop to the point of significantly affecting fishes metabolism and feeding. Same for resident Brown and Rainbow trout, who are still actively feeding and best bet for fishing them is indicator nymphing, with light tippet in the 3-4# range and small nymphs such as brassies, midge, sparse caddis, black stones, hares ear and even small, 4-5mm egg patterns as some lake run Brown trout are in the river and going into spawning mode.

Lastly, for any considering a spring steelhead outing from latter March – mid May, it may be best to touch base with me sooner than later, I have about 1/3 of that schedule filled and come end of the year, it will most likely be 3/4 full.

Good fishing….


Muskegon River Fishing Report – November 22, 2022 – Newaygo, Michigan

Grand Rapids, MI resident and long time guest and friend Chuck, with a great Muskegeon river steelhead.

The Muskegon river went through a wirlwind of conditions over the last 4+ days that put the fish into a lockdown with record snowfall, high winds, fluctuating air temperatures and dropping water temperature. Needless to say, the fish were a little fickle, but we’re hoping to see this change in the days ahead as weather stabilizes. Click here for current and forecasted weather for the Newaygo, Michigan area –

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, we’re now fishing all kinds of water for both migratory steelhead and resident Brown and Rainbow trout. From fast water runs of early fall steelheading, to slower pools and slot runs of mid winter steelheading.

I’ve fished up around the Newaygo area, as well as 25+ river miles down stream, closer to Muskegon itself over the last week+ and both have put up fish, but the action we had up to a week+ ago has begun to slow down, as it will when river levels and temperatures drop, which they have over the course of that time frame. Click here for current Musekgon river water flow data –

There are still fish to be caught though and they DO need to eat, so it’s simply a matter of putting in your time, fish “smarter, not harder”, cover water and capitalize on the opportunities you get.

Muskegon River Fishing Report

We are amidst the fall and early winter steelhead run on the Muskegon river in the Newaygo, Michigan area now and will be through December and mother nature willing, into the New Year.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment. we’re pursuing the Great Lakes Jewel of game fish….fall steelhead ! With incredible speed and acrobatics, they can provide a battle like no other fresh water fish.

River levels and temperatures have dropped a bit in recent days due to the arrival of “winter” conditions, but it IS mid November and we were due for this sooner than later !

Katrina came from OH with her dad Craig and holds a GREAT Muskegon river steelhead….