Muskegon River Trout and Steelhead Fishing Report – December 22, 2019 – Newaygo, Michigan

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Muskegon River Trout and Steelhead Fishing Report – December 22, 2019 – Newaygo, Michigan

Great winter colors on a Muskegon river steelhead.

The Muskegon river trout and steelhead fishing report for late December reads more like one from mid to late January due to the early arrival of winter this year.  A combination of a very wet fall and early November arctic weather, put river conditions about a month ahead of what the calendar says and this affected the fall steelhead run, with fewer fish coming in during what is typically prime time, early to mid November.  Resident Brown and Rainbow trout were quick to get into near “winter mode” a few weeks ago as well, with many fish moving to slower water, where they use less energy when river temperatures drop.

All that said, there are both trout and steelhead to be caught, one may just have to work harder for them on a day to day basis.  With both fly fishing and light spin tackle equipment, we can target either, however fly fishing with small nymphs and light tippet on appropriate floating line and indicator rigs, is the best approach for trout.  Steelhead can be pursued with fly gear via chuck and duck setups, or swinging flies with light sink tips, both on 7 and 8 weight rods.

Due to how long the Muskegon river has been running above average in flows, the fish had been able to spread out and had MANY more “lies” in the river to hold in.  This may be showing signs of change, as levels came down a fair amount 2 days ago, but have since come back up a bit….presumably due to the warmer weather and probable snow melt in recent days.   Click HERE for current Muskegon river water flow data below Croton dam, in the Newaygo, Michigan area.

With short and long term forecast calling for more of the same mild weather, we may see levels come up a touch more as snow in the upper reaches of the watershed melts and runs off.  Click HERE for current and forecasted weather for the Newaygo, Michigan area.

Recent weeks has found me re-scheduling a number of guide trips, as I knew fishing was really tough in the high, cold water and I simply couldn’t take ones hard earned money on a “trip” where they may only have 1-2 chances per person, throughout the course of a full days outing, at hooking up with a steelhead.   However…….. this could change IF I see levels come down a bit and river temperatures stabilize, as with lower levels, it will force fish into similar winter like holding spots, which are more predictable with average -vs- high water levels.

Needless to say, all river anglers of the Midwest are at the mercy of Mother Nature this year….as we are EVERY year, but she has been a cranky one up to this point during our late fall/early winter fishing season.  Looking for a little help from her to change our luck in the next month or so before fishing goes into true “winter mode”…..we’ll see how it all pans out.

I want to with you all a great rest of your 2019 holiday season and hope that 2020 finds you on the river more than the year before……a long time client/guest and truly great person in general, has said on more than one occasion to me and the friends he brings on outings to fish with him…”each day you fish, adds a day to your life”….so lets keep fishing !!!


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