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

2 min read
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….


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