Muskegon River Fishing Report – September 24, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

The Muskegon river in the Newaygo, Michigan area continues to run low, clear and quite warm for the end of September. This is due to a number of factors such as day and night time air temperature, cloud cover or lack of, but most important is rain and we haven’t had much in the last month+. Current river temperatures are in the upper 60’s, which is still “ok” for late summer caddis hatches, but they have been spotty over the last couple weeks.

There are trout to be caught, as well as Smallmouth bass, so plenty of opportunity for anglers to feel a tug on the line and put a bend in their rod on the Muskegon river. This will all change in the weeks ahead though, as we’ll be seeing fall run Chinook salmon start to enter the river on their annual spawning run.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, salmon will be pursued by some from October – early November, but I will be focusing on fall steelhead as soon as possible, which is the last week or so of October and we fish them through the holidays and into the new year, during years when river and weather conditions allow for good fishing and not too cold of weather to fish them in.

I’m currently in the last 1/3 of my early fall season up on the Pere Marquette, followed by the Manistee in early October, then I will be switching to the Muskegon river around October 18, for the rest of 2023.

Should anyone be looking for an up to date river report or have a rigging question, feel free to call – 616-560-3195.

For now…


Muskegon River Fishing Report – September 17, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

Chip with a GREAT Pere Marquette river fall Chinook salmon from the other day.

The Muskegon river is fast approaching “transition mode”, with slowly dropping river temperatures that will bring on our fall caddis hatches for resident Brown and Rainbow trout to feed on, before the real fall buffet shows up in the form of spawning Chinook salmon, who are staging in lake Michigan to enter the river for this annual big game fish migration. There are a few salmon in the Muskegon river now, but we’ll need to see river temperatures drop another 5+ degrees before we would expect to see more show up.

I have been on the Pere Marquette river (PM) for a couple weeks pursuing Chinook salmon in the lower river close to Ludington, as the PM fall salmon run starts earlier than the Muskegon. The run has been pretty good up to this point, but the fish are not staging very long down there and it can be a “here today, gone tomorrow” scenario….but they ARE migratory fish and such swings can be expected.

With primarily spinning rod/reel setups, we’re casting-retrieving lures and floating some form of “bait” under bobbers to hook up with these great lakes BEASTS ! Nothing like the pull of a 20-30# salmon, fresh out of lake Michigan, that tests not only angler skill, but 30# braided line, lure strength, treble hooks and drag systems on reels. Quite the tussle with these fish and I typically fish for them in the lower river, through the 3rd full week of September.

Come early October, I will switch rivers for a number of guide trips and fish the Manistee river out of the Tippy Dam Recreation area launch and fish for not only salmon there, but also early run fall steelhead.

Mid October will find me making one more switch of rivers and I finish my fall/early winter steelhead season on the Muskegon river starting October 18 and I will fish right up until Christmas.

Should any be looking to get on the water between now and the new year, it may be best to call or email sooner than later. I only have a few open dates between now and mid December, touch base if you have interest in getting in some fall fishing – 616-560-3195.

Tight lines !


Muskegon River Fishing Report – September 10, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

The Muskegon river in the Newaygo, Michigan area “was” starting to show signs of early fall a week+ ago, then the heat wave came through the Midwest and put things back to late summer “mode”. With cooler days and nights ahead, we’ll see river temperatures being to drop, and not too far down the road, the arrival of the first “good” push of fall run Chinook salmon out of lake Michigan. That said, river temperatures are still hovering around 70 and we’ll need to see that drop in the coming weeks to help the fall salmon run kick off.

There are still good smallmouth bass to be caught and some hatching caddis flies are getting resident Brown and Rainbow trout to “look up”. Smallmouth fishing will hold on for at least another few weeks and insect hatches will depend on bug population and water temperatures.

I’m currently fishing the Pere Marquette river for the beginning of their salmon run and have spent all of my time in the lower river, close to the town of Ludington. We’re fishing with conventional equipment, casting lures and floating bait under bobbers, for these great lakes beasts and have had some very memorable battles already !

The return of mid-latter summer like high air temperatures stalled the run a bit, but they have to come in and we’ll see more new fish come in from lake Michigan in the coming days. With heavy rains forecasted for tomorrow and lighter ones the following day, we should see river temperatures drop, levels come up and boom….that’s the recipe to get more Chinook salmon moving.

Not long before we’ll see early fall steelhead in the Pere Marquette, it usually happens a week or so after decent numbers of “kings” begin to spawn. I will be on the PM through late September, the Manistee early October – 15th, then switch to the Muskegon on October 18 and be there through fall and early winter steelhead fishing.

Questions ??…give me a call 616-560-3195.

Check on trip availability ?…call or email

Tight lines!


Muskegon River Fishing Report – August 25, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

The summer of 2023 has treated the Muskegon river in the Newaygo, Michigan area MUCH better than most “feared” mid June. We were coming out of the driest June on record for Michigan, had very low river levels and river temperatures that were climbing much faster than normal, but things turned the corner late June with some cooler weather and long overdue rains. The result was insect hatches that were relevant to resident Brown and Rainbow trout, that held on longer into summer than normal and that, coupled with timely shifts in weather, found the trout healthy and chunky all summer long.

The latter part of summer found good smallmouth bass fishing from late July up to this point, with good “action” most days and we did have to sort through some smaller “smally’s” to find some that would pull line of the drag and put a good bend in the rod.

We’re not far from the onset of great lakes big game fish season in Michigan, with fall run Chinook salmon coming first, followed by some Coho salmon up to late October/early November, along with steelhead from late October – end of December. The Muskegon river has arguably the longest fall/early winter steelhead season, of any river in the Midwest.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment setups, we pursue salmon first on the Pere Marquette in September, followed by the Manistee late September/early October for both salmon and early steelhead, then switch to the Muskegon river mid October for some salmon, but quickly switching to steelhead through the end of the year.

Based on the summer fishing in the great lakes, it appears as though we could see some big salmon this fall, how many is still up in the air. Large fish, in excess of 30#, had been caught during some of the lake Michigan tournaments in the last month or so.

Should any be considering a guided trip this fall, touch base sooner than later as I am running very low on open dates.

Good fishing !


Muskegon River Fishing Report – July 24, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

What do you do when 1 smallmouth bites a lure with 2 hooks ???....let another smallmouth try to steal the others food and hook them both !

The Muskegon river in and around the Newaygo area continues to provide good fishing for this time of late July, for both smallmouth bass and resident Brown and Rainbow trout.

This is easily the best late July trout fishing that I’ve seen on the Muskegon river in over 2 decades of full time guiding. “Typically” and aside from small Trico mayflies, we’re done with most hatches that actually get trout to “look up” and feed on them come late July. Over the last 15 days, I’ve had 12 guide trips, 10 of which were specifically fly fishing for trout and we’ve been able to find 15-20 trout per day in the bottom of my net !

All that said, we do still have options for pursuing trout and smallmouth with both fly fishing and conventional gear such as open face spinning reels matched with 6-7 medium-light rods. The most common foods in the river for fish this time of summer are crayfish and baitfish, which make up about 90% of the food smallmouth will seek out and probably around 75% for trout, once the hatches come to an end.

Also showing up as of late are a few Northern pike, Walleye and I’ve even seen a few Skamania steelhead in the Muskegon river over the last couple weeks.

Not long before we’ll be pulling out the big rods for early run Chinook salmon, followed by Coho salmon and then come late October, the mighty Steelhead !

Current river levels are near “normal” flows, in the 1300 cfs range and river temperatures hovering around the 67 degree mark.

Muskegon River Fishing Report – July 19, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

The Muskegon river continues to fish well in and around the Newaygo area, for both resident Brown and Rainbow trout, as well as Smallmouth bass.

With both fly fishing and light spin tackle, we’re getting into “smally’s” throughout the river system from Newaygo down stream towards Muskegon itself, along with trout from Croton dam down to Newaygo.

After a brutal June with next to no precipitation – driest June in recorded history – mother nature came around and provided some long overdue rains over the last few weeks, to salvage what was looking like, a very challenging summer of Muskegon river fishing.

There are still some insect hatches going on that are getting the trout to “look up”, but those may be coming to an end here shortly. The Smallmouth bass have been receptive to topwater flies and lures at times, but the better fishing overall has been subsurface, with baitfish, crayfish and attractor fly patterns and lures.

As we approach August, the trout fishing will likely drop off, but Smallmouth fishing should remain good through the rest of summer.

We’re not far off from seeing the first sightings of early run Chinook salmon and following them in October will be the Grand Prize of great lakes big game fish….steelhead !

Muskegon River Fishing Report – June 20, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

Diane with a nice Muskegon river Brown trout caught on a dry fly.
Steve fished with Diane and got into a few nice trout himself !

The Muskegon river continues to hold decent enough water temperatures to keep some insect hatches going and trout “looking up” for dry flies.

Smallmouth bass fishing has picked up as well and we should have good fishing for both resident Brown and Rainbow trout, as well as Smallmouth bass and the occasional Walleye, Northern Pike or even recently sighted Muskie, which have worked they way up from down river.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, we’ll be fishing for all species of fish this coming week+ and we may then see a small shift in river conditions, as river temperatures will surely rise with the hot days and warm nights ahead.

We are long overdue for some rain in west Michigan, as the short run of cooler weather and very light rains last week, did nothing to help with river levels, which are running at near mid July low levels.

I have been doing a mix of first time fly fishing instructional lessons, as well as trips with intermediate-advanced fly casters and all have gotten into fish over the last couple weeks……all experience levels are welcome and it has been fun watching first time fly casters, pick up the various “nuances” and mechanics of fly fishing.

It won’t be long before we see the first trickle of early run Chinook salmon coming into some of the smaller, colder spring fed river systems like the Little Manistee river. The first good push of fall run salmon should find their way into other west Michigan rivers such as the Pere Marquette and Betsie rivers, come late August.

For any looking to do battle with either fall salmon or fall steelhead, it would be best to touch base soon about open dates, as they are running out and I only have a few openings in October and November of this fall.

Muskegon River Fishing Report – May 31, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

A nice, chunky Muskegon river Rainbow trout.

The Muskegon river is currently running below average levels for this time of late spring and could really use a drink from Mother Nature !

With very yo-yo like weather over the last near 2 months, river levels and temperatures have bounced around a bit, temperatures more so than levels, but both have gone up, down, up, down…and this is not the normal “behavior” of the Muskegon river. Once a BIG river system like the Muskegon, begins it rise in water temperature starting in in mid to late spring, it’s not common for it to reverse that course, but it has several times since April. All that said, the river IS in pretty good shape, considering the erratic fluctuations.

We are amidst a grab bag of fishing right now, with hatches taking place each day to provide dry fly fishing opportunities for the fly fisher, as well as Smallmouth bass movement/migration that has picked up recently. Some Smallmouth spawning activity is present, we’ll see how long that lasts with the hot weather coming through now.

With both fly fishing and conventional equipment, we can catch resident Brown and Rainbow trout, along with Smallmouth bass, possibly a Walleye here or there and once water temperatures come up, shots at Northern pike will increase as well.

Current river temperatures in the low 60’s and flows around 1300 cfs, which is about 3-400 less than normal for this time.

Muskegon River Fishing Report – May 11, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

Alan holds a great Muskegon river steelhead while long time friend and Muskegon river veteran Jack, looks on.

The Muskegon river spring steelhead run of 2023 is coming to an end and in general, has been a pretty good run overall. It was better than many feared after having a fair fall steelhead last year, with the first of the fish coming in from lake Michigan in early March and the last ones either in the river now or on their way up river.

It’s now time to focus on trout, bugs and the best dry fly fishing opportunities of the year, which are just around the corner. With 4-6 weight fly rods, we’ll be casting imitations of tan caddis to start, followed by sulphurs, then gray drakes and isonychias following. Can’t count out the blue wing olives on cloudy days and we never know when a random march brown will show up early in the spring season.

Not far behind the trout dry fly fishing, we will see more smallmouth bass make their way up river for their annual spawn, which has grown in fish numbers in the last handful of years.

With both fly fishing and light spin tackle, we’ll fish for both “smally’s” and resident Brown and Rainbow trout, up to the end of June and after that, smallmouth will be the primary species, but can’t count out the occasional pike or walleye.

Muskegon river water levels are a bit over 2,000 cfs and river temperatures are climbing with each nice, warm, sunny day and are currently in the 53-54 degree range.

For now,


Muskegon River Fishing Report – May 2, 2023 – Newaygo, Michigan

Ray with a NICE one !

After a good start to the spring season on the Muskegon river back in late March, we’ve seen all kinds of odd things happen with the weather and river. We had record breaking temperatures, followed by snow storms and really strong winds and then went through a weeks long drought of sorts that only found light snow as precipitation and now we’re back to cool, late fall like weather…..hmmmm?

All of this had an impact on the rivers of Michigan, with many reaching very high temperatures in mid April, only to have a bout of winter return and have them drop several degrees in a matter of less than a week.

Many saw their spring steelhead run come to an end early, the Muskegon river is either on the verge of that now, or done altogether. The rains we got yesterday and last night did bring the river levels up, which “historically” is the trigger of sorts to bring in our last good batch of steelhead from lake Michigan. We may have already seen them come, only the days ahead will truly answer that question.

It was a good run in general, better than many feared, not as good as others had seen in years past of hoped for, but we have to bear in mind that our overall steelhead population in the great lakes is down a bit.

Soon we’ll be focusing our efforts on resident Brown and Rainbow trout, as they will be seeing insects emerge in a few weeks and this kicks off our best dry fly fishing opportunities of the year on the Muskegon and other Michigan rivers.

With 5 & 6 weight fly rods, well cast our caddis, sulphur, blue wing olive, gray drake and other fly patterns, to “rising” trout in the 10+ miles down from Croton dam. With any sudden change in river levels, we’ll pull out streamer rods and cast 2-300 grain sinking lines on 6 & 7 wieght fly rods for trout, maybe smallmouth and the occasional Walleye.

Not but a few weeks or so after bugs and trout, smallmouth bass fishing will pick up and provide great action for both the fly fisher and conventional equipment angler, through the end of June, July and August.

Looking ahead to fall, we’ll get into the fall salmon run in September on the Pere Marquette, followed by the Manistee river out of the Wellston area late September/early October, then switch to the Muskegon river mid October and switch to fall steelhead the end of the month and fish them through the rest of 2023.

Availability for fall is limited and dates are running out, best to touch base sooner than later if you’re interested….my September 2023 is already completely booked.

For now….


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