MUSKEGON RIVER, MICHIGAN

Saturday, November 17, 2004

Again, what a difference a month makes. Saw one salmon today and no steelhead. Greg took Eric and I out for a nice half day on the river. We floated from Thornapple to New Bridge. Weather today was very overcast and pretty much misty and cold. Seemed like good steelhead weather, but not for us. Eric had one trout on for a second, but beyond that we went home with our tails between out legs. Gregg made a great steak dinner on the shore, only slightly affected by all the dead salmon carcasses.


Saturday, October 16, 2004

What a difference a month makes. Salmon were on every piece of gravel near Pine Street. A few fresh ones were tossed in with the moldy oldies. I went with Greg, Sarah, Johhny O, Curt and Mike in the boats. We parked in a couples spots all night long and caught all the salmon we wanted. I think I landed two. Each were fairly fresh and fair hooked. I probably had 10 on the line. With the fairly low water, it could have been a snagger's dream. Pods of 6-10 salmon were hugging the bottom with their dorsals sticking a couple inches out of the water. Got some good photos of the spawning. Funny thing, three weeks later I was still hearing about fresh salmon in the river. It was a late run this year.


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Salmon really ought to be in full swing on the Muskegon, but I couldn't seem to find any I could fish to. I floated my pontoon from Croton to Thornapple in the afternoon into dark and saw little if any gravel worked. That would be okay if I could find some salmon in the eddys and holes, but I only found them in the slowest, deepest water down near Thornapple. I wish I had a spinning rod or sinking line with me. I couldn't get any kind of drift. Thankfully I brought along my trout rod. I got several nice rainbows on a dead-drifted elk hair caddis. All of the fish were in the foam lines.


Thursday, July 8, 2004

Another SWMTU outing. About 15 guys showed up to float from Croton down to Pine. I fished with Chad and John. The first place we fished was incredibly productive. It was an area I had always overlooked before, but was loaded with fish. We caught fish on a variety of streamers and caddis. As we worked our way downstream, the fishing slowed down. We worked the likely areas hard and matched the varying hatches. It was work, but we did hook up. The weather was downright cold. I think it was warmer in April. Most everyone stayed until dark and I think everyone caught fish.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

The boats guys took two boats from Thornapple to New Bridge this evening. This is a stretch of water I really hadn't fished much before. The suprising thing was to catch smallmouth. What a blast! I caught several good sized fish on dark streamers in likely looking trout water. later, I caught good sized trout in the slowest, stillest water I could find. I used slow strips on the inside bends and did well. The weather was so cold, we were all wearing our winter gear. I'm sure no one caught anything on the surface and I'm having trouble remembering anything hatching. This was a very nice stretch to fish, but defintely warmer than above.


Saturday, April 17, 2004

We organized a SWMTU fishing trip for today. About 20 guys in 8 or 9 boats floated from Croton down to Thornapple. Most everyone hooked into something. I had two good steelhead on the line but couldn't get either landed. In my boat, both Dan and Larry landed nice steelies. Saw a good number of trout rising to stone flies. Wish I had targeted them a little more. It was a great float trip. Got to know bunch of the TU guys better. Hot and sunny today, even got sunburned!


Thursday, April 15, 2004

Fished with the "boat guys" upstream from Pine Street. Our boat of Will and Dan didn't land anything besides a few trout, but we hit some steelhead in the pockets behind the redds. The boat of Greg, John and Sarah, got several nice steelies and trout into the boat. Fished until nearly dark. Nice day on the river.


 

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Snowshoed in to Carmichael Flat. I could have walked, but it would have been a lot more effort. Fortunately ice didn't cover the water as snow covered the ground. Unfortunately all I caught was some cold feet. I fished my favorite spot. It was obvious no one had walked into it since the snow started piling up. After hitting all the prime lies in search of steelhead, I walked back upstream to where people had been fishing. I didn't fish this as thoroughly but hit the best looking spots. It was supposed to get a little above freezing with some sun today, but all of that held off to the south. Saw one drift boat go down and one jet boat roar up.


Thursday, October 16, 2003

I worked early to go fishing with Greg, Curt and Dan in their drift boats. We drifted down from Thornapple and fished below the Highbank access. Nearly all the fish we saw were working the gravel. Few were fresh arrivals. We all hooked a good number of fish, although I think I was the only one not to land anything. Funny, because I had several of them hooked pretty well and they felt like headshots. It was a great night to be out on the river. We motored back up in the dark.


Sunday, October 12, 2003

I got to the river as light began to creep over the trees. Luckily only two other anglers were parked nearby and chose to fish further upstream. I had my favorite hole on the Muskegon all to myself -- for a while at least. On my second cast, a medium-sized king slammed my orange egg. I didn't land that one, but would end up landing four today. Two were faired hooked, one of which was a fairly fresh fish. I watched it attack my egg sucking leech. The water was very low and very clear. There were also more salmon around than I can remember for several years. Both upstream and downstream I watched people catch salmon. No sign of steelhead yet. Plenty of dead salmon lay on the riverbottom.


A couple evenings in June, 2003

I'll lump these days together because they were pretty much the same. We had strech of hot clear weather and that seemed to really put down the hatches. On the first day I caught a few, but on the second only had one or two. Very little activity on the surface. On the first day, I did see another guy hook into a steelhead which was quite suprising. It took a rattlesnake streamer. Saw a good amount of wildlife, including a deer swim across the river. Just a few people out on these days.


Sunday, May 18, 2003

I spent most of my time fishing day at Bigelow Creek searching for trout. I also had to search for some access -- couldn't get near the mouth, so I went up where the railroad tracks ares. I found little trout here and there, catching a few. Very tight casting. One crazy moment happened when I spotted an 18-20" trout swimming in the current just underneath a log angling into the stream. I was able to get about 6 good drifts past it's nose without spooking it. I even changed flies three times trying to tempt it. Finally it spooked, turned toward me, looked up at me, and then darted way upstream. Hanging out of the corner of it's mouth was a 3-inch streamer. Maybe that explains why it wasn't hungry and was swimming so actively in the current. After wandering the creek for several hours, I headed to Pine Street. Seems like the hatchery truck was just there. Hundreds of little trout were easy, easy pickings at the boat launch. Further upstream I did some actual fishing and found they would grab an emerger on the dowstream swing almost every time.


Saturday, May 3, 2003

Can never have too much of a good thing, so I was back to the river at daybreak. It took several hours for the fishing to heat up. There were certainly less fish than earlier. However, once again, the first steelie I hooked, I landed. The new reel was awesome. It let the fish run when it wanted and would hold tight when I wanted. This time I brought the camera with me.


Monday, April 28, 2003

Thinking that my steelhead season was over, I didn't have high hopes of a successful outing. But for a few short hours after work, everything fell into place at Carmichael Flats. They say steelhead are fish of a 1,000 casts. It felt more like 10,000. The first steelie I hooked, I landed. It took an orange egg with a bit of flash. I measured it against the net, and it was an honest 30 inch female. I hooked two others, one leaper and one thrasher. Both got free quickly. I stayed well into the dark. They got frisky a few times, but my best chances were while it was light. Wish I had brought the camera with me.


Sunday, October 28, 2002

After having some good success the other day, I wanted to try a different section of the river. I waded downstream from Croton to nearly Pine Street. The only way to do this is in very low water. The gauge at Croton read about 4.9 feet. Even then, it was dicey in a few spots. Near all the riffles above Pine it's easy enough to cross. Near the large boulders I got one good salmon and a hot steely. Quite suprised by this. A downed tree is creating some new habitat that's worth checking out for steelhead and trout. On the way to Pine, there were several good spots where salmon congregated. I think I hooked a couple out of these. Down by Pine there were many more fish, but they were almost all near death. The very, very clear water made it tough to fool most fish.


Saturday, October 27, 2002

Jim and I headed to Charmichael Flats in the afternoon searching for salmon. We got into a good, reliable run and they were easy to find. Both of us hooked many and landed several. A couple of them were fresh, but most were past their prime. Some dead ones even floated by. They hit all the usual suspects although a purple egg sucking leech was especially hot. I got one nice looking steely.


Sunday, July 13, 2002

Another hot and sunny summer day. I fished below Croton and didn't see another angler out. Stayed until near dar, but the fishing was actually a bit better wehn it was light. With little surface activity, I started with a streamer. No go. Switched to deep-water nymph. No go. Switched to a hopper. A couple strikes. Switched to a drake pattern. Landed a few. Switched to a mayfly emerger. Landed a few.


Thursday, June 13, 2002

Decided to spend the evening of my birthday out fishing. While the day was very nice, the fishing was bad. Very little surface action at Charmichael. Tried a bunch of different flies above and below the water and only got one solid hookup. A few strikes, nothing landed. It's been hot and sunny for several days.


Sunday, June 2, 2002

Another nice evening on the river. Trout began surfacing toward evening. The planters would take just about anything. With the water a little high, the channel down from the dam was flowing and the planters found refuge there. I caught a whole bunch of themjust to teach them a lesson. In the main stream, I got a few on the top.


Sunday , October 21, 2001

The salmon season seems to be ending. All the fish I saw were in real rough shape. The one I landed was very nasty. Also got a nice rainbow.


 

Saturday , October 17, 2001

Boats galore out today. Jet boats racing up and down stream. Mostly annoying. Water had come down quite a bit. I got there real early to get a good hole and the good ones were taken. I ended up heading downstream to an area that I usually avoided. Ended up landing a nice brown and hooking into several salmon. Later in the day I got into the holes and hd a lot of hook ups. Landed one salmon that bit a yellow glo bug. Not many fresh ones around. Lots of skunky looking fish.


 

Sunday , October 14, 2001

Jim was able to drive over from Lansing for a good afternoon of fishing. More anglers were out on the river -- lots and lots of drift boats. Today was a day to need a drift boat. The river was up about a foot from last week. A lot of heavy rain pushed it up. Still we found two good spots to hit salmon. I landed two jacks and hooked into about six.


 

Sunday , October 7, 2001

Looking back at past years, I've always skipped the Big Mo the beginning of October -- no more. There were plenty of fresh salmon in the river where I was, and very few anglers. I landed two and hooked into six. One was a normal size and the other was a jack. Water was easily wadable.


 

Thursday , September 6, 2001

Tried a new spot for me today. Rudy took me to the county park access off of M-82. I'd always thought of this spot as a little too close to the road for me. Kind of like fishing under the bridge at Croton. But after decending 200+ steps to the river, the road is a distant memory. We found decent number of fish even though there wasn't much of a hatch. The bottom is virtually all gravel and the river is fed by numerous springs in the high bank. I'd guess that would keep the water cool in the hot weather. It's easy enough to wade although a few spots that look shallow might be above your waders.


 

Wednesday , July 25, 2001

Today was the hottest day of the year so far, so I decided to cool down on the river. I didn't think the fishing would be very good and that was the case. I saw very few rising fish in the Flats, so I used a couple different nymphs. No luck. Patiently I waited for a rise. When I saw one I would work my way there and try my midge pattern. In every case I had to wade a long ways to make a couple of casts to where I thought I saw a rise. The hard work finally paid off and I landed one rainbow of 11 inches. Another similar fish broke off. Still, a good way to beat the heat.


 

Wednesday , July 11, 2001

With the water levels back down, I went to the Flats where I could get out and wade a bit. The fish were very picky and I worked my way through about a 10 different flies until I found what they wanted. It ended up being a a size 22 emerging midge pattern. No wonder I couldn't see what they were eating. I caught three on that pattern and another three earlier on various patterns.


 

Sunday , June 17, 2001

Another late afternoon visit to the Croton area. A few anglers were in "my spot," but just as well because it looked like a Father's Day outing. I headed downstream a bit further to try some deeper water. Evern though the river level was at about 6.1, I can remember it much shallower with a lot more rock exposed.

I didn't have much luck down there so I slowly headed upstream, picking off small trout along the bank. Toward dark, most everyone cleared out so I could fish where I wanted. Using a gray drake as an indicator and a bead head hares ear as a dropper, I caught a good number of trout. Most all were small, only a few were above 10 inches.

Weather was warm, not muggy. Very little hatching this evening, but what did hatch was a mixed bag of drakes, sulphurs, midges, and other assorted mayflies.


 

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

It's my birthday and I'll fish if I want to. Especially since the wife just got me a new 3 weight rod as a birthday gift.

The new rod casted very nicely, though it took some getting used to. My line was a twisted mess a couple times. Although I guess that isn't too unusual.

The river had come down maybe a foot, and that opened up a lot more wading possibilities. I used a small emerger pattern with a bit of a parachute. A lot of my hits actually came at the end of the drift as the fly skated across the top or swung just under water.

There wasn't a lot of activity on the surface, but it was just regular enough to keep the fishing interesting. Toward dark, I considered switching to a grey drake since I could see a few of them hatching.

I was glad I stuck with my emerger, because I got one solid 12" brown just as the sun set. A good fish to go home on.


 

Sunday, June 3, 2001

With the weekend still free, I went to the river with Jim in the afternoon. The river had come down a few more inches since yesterday.

We saw a few risers, so Jim went with caddis and sulphers. I stuck with my streamers, but didn't get much action. The risers would come and go. It would be hot for about ten minutes and then cool off for twenty. I finally switched to a parachute adams and got a half dozen or so trout. None of them were very big.


 

Saturday, June 2, 2001

I headed to the Big Mo as an afterthought on my way home from the PM. The fishing up there was really slow and rainy. But as the rainclouds lifted and a few hours of daylight left, it was worth heading to Croton.

The reports of high water were right on. However, the river was wadeable if you knew where to go. While I couldn't get out to some of the spots I wanted, I could cast to plenty of fish.

I saw a few risers, but stuck with my streamers. The one that worked the best imitated a small steelhead/salmon fry (silver body, white fur, black eyes, very sparse). In a couple hours I landed a bunch of the little guys and even a couple holdovers.


 

Monday, February 19, 2001

A break from the cold weather (well, really cold) got my urge to fish up. I headed out to a reliable winter-time trout hole near Pine St. to fish the middle part of the day. Sure enough, there was plenty of snow but no shelf ice. Also, no fish. Saw two boats of anglers, but other than that no one else was out. After a couple hours of standing in near freezing water, I had to walk back to the truck or loose a couple toes.


 

Sunday, October 29, 2000

There was time for one last salmon trip on the Muskegon this year. I didn't see many left and the ones that were actually swimming wouldn't be soon. I hooked into three and landed one nice female that struck my black marabuo fly. It took a while to revive her, but finally she swam off to finish spawning. I only had a couple hours of fishing before I had to head home at noon.


 

Thursday, October 19, 2000

I'd been away from the Big Mo for too long. Many dead salmon floated by me this evening and were collecting in some slack water downstream. An eerie sight to see so many white floaters.

However, there were still some fairly fresh fish to hit. I ended up hooking six and landing two. One was even a chop-shot on a black marabou I tied myself.

I fished around Carmichael Flats and there were about 8 other trucks when I pulled up. Those guys all headed upstream to the big bend and seemed to be slaying them with all the hooting and hollering going on.

Stayed till after dark. This time of year it's the only way for a working stiff.


 

Saturday, September 23, 2000

The salmon were in the river and Jim and I were ready to nail 'em. We decided to make the float from Croton to Thornapple a two-day trip with an overnight stay on some of the state land.

It was a beautiful day for a slow, easy float. We stopped at virtually every hole we wanted. Some salmon were in these upper stretches, but they were very spooky and very fresh. This is just what we came here for.

Early on, Jim hooked into a big old sucker. Must have gone 15 pounds. That was pretty much all our action for the day. Had a few hits here and there, but we couldn't find that good salmon hole we wanted.

We made a nice fire despite the wet wood and grilled a whole mess of hot dogs for dinner.

Sunday, September 24, 2000

I had wanted to get up with the sun, but with yesterday's slow-going, I was slow-going. We talked to a few people who had hit the river early. They had seen a few, but had no takers.

Since we didn't spot any salmon near our campsite, we launched the canoe to float to the better holes. A couple spots looked really promosing, but still yielded nothing.

By the end of the day we both had a few hits and I landed a nice rainbow. It was a great float, but very disappointing fishing. It seemed a few weeks early for the big migration.


 

Thursday, July 2, 2000

Tonight was one of my favorite nights on the river in recent memory. My good friend Bob McKeon took me out to a spot in the Carmichael Flats area that I had not tried before. I was very pleasantly suprised.

We had a pretty easy time of wading, and I think I could have even made it across the river. The water, as usual, was crystal clear.

Early on, Bob showd me how to fish a wet fly, my first lesson in this old, old method of fly-fishing. I ended up landing a few browns by swinging the fly down below me and giving it a few subtle tugs. Sometimes the fish took it at the very end, sometimes they took it right away.

Later in the evening the caddis came out along with some fairly large creme mayflies. I switched to dries at this time and landed browns on both emerger caddis and a parachute creme mayfly. I was most suprised by the mayfly opportunity!

Bob and I both caught a fair amount of nice trout and had a very nice evening.


 

Sunday, June 25, 2000

Sue, I and the dogs floated from Pine Street to Thornapple on this hot and sunny afternoon. I casted once in a while as we drifted and ended up catching one little rainbow. That's okay, it was just a nice day to get out and enjoy floating. No hatches were visible, and I only saw a couple of trout surface. We saw one mature bald eagle today about four bends above Thornapple.


 

Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Back to the San Juan riffles. The result was much the same as the Sunday, but this time I caught a few rainbows in addition to a bunch of browns. Biggest fish of the day was a fat and colorful 14 inch rainbow. Not a lot of hatch activity today, so I used mainly the same techniques. The big rainbow, though, came to a scud pattern I tied and fished deep. About a half hour before the big rain came, the trout turned off completely. Are they really that in-tune with the barometric pressure?


 

Sunday, June 11, 2000

Has it been this long since I've been to the Muskegon? Doesn't seem like it, maybe I missed a trip in there somewhere.

I fished the San Juan riffles in the evening. A few caddis and sulphurs were hatching, so most of the time I used an elk hair caddis as an indicator and a small green caddis nymph a foot below. I also used a case wing caddis courtesy of Jeff from Orvis. Fishing it just below the surface, I left that fly in the jaw of something big and beastly.

All my other takes were on the dropper. It helped to slightly skitter the rig on the surface. Often times the little twitch would bring the trout up from the bottom for a slashing strick. Most of my cast was cross stream and the hits came at the end of the drift. I think I ended up catching seven browns, the biggest about 13 inches.


 

Sunday, February 6, 2000

I had such great luck a couple weeks ago that I took Jim back to the same spot. And wouldn't you know it -- the same weather, the same flies, the same everything -- and no fish. We got skunked so bad I don't remember getting a hit. What's up with that?


 

Saturday, January 15, 2000

Went to a spot just above Carmichael Flats to try for some winter-time trout. Although it was overcast for most of the morning, the sun peeked out in the afternoon, warming the air just above freezing. That pretty much matched the water temp which hovered at 34.

It took a couple hours of searching, but I finally found the honey hole I was looking for. Out of the slow, quiet water, I caught three rainbows, the biggest 18 inches and the smallest 14. I also landed one chunky brown that was 17 inches long. Each fish was beautiful and tested the drag on my reel. Only the middle-sized rainbow had a clipped fin.

All four were caught on a scud pattern that I tied myself. It had an olive/gray body, a black/translucent back and a size 14 hook. Above the scud, I had a green caddis tied on the line, but the trout didn't seem as interested. I caught a few of the scuds in a small net and noticed that my pattern matched them almost exactly.


 

Sunday, November 28, 1999

Jim and I hit the San Juan Riffles around noon in search of steelhead. No luck at all today. At best maybe we had a couple strikes. Saw a few guys catching trout. Sunny and cold today. Water up to normal levels.


 

Wednesday, November 3, 1999

Before work I headed out to Pine Street to recapture some of the salmon magic from this past weekend. The fish weren't in the exact same spot, but there were fresh fish. (Along with lots and lots of dead and dying ones.) I hooked into five and didn't land one. All of them put up a brief struggle nearby and then headed straight downstream through all the riffles and pools. Smart fish. One of them took me deep, deep into my backing. I also landed one nice brown trout, a planter that had grown close to 14 inches.


 

Sunday, October 31, 1999

Dave and SalmonJim and I took a guided float trip from Croton Dam to Thornapple with Jeff Bacon from Thornapple Orvis. We launched at about sunrise and already guys were lining the banks below the dam. We pulled over after a short float to the San Juan Riffles and started hooking into salmon. We tried our best to target the freshest salmon and avoid the fish with any signs of decay. While we both caught and landed a few, the best action was yet to come just above the Pine Street boat launch.

Spawning SalmonNear the east shore we found a great spot where fresh salmon were stacked in thick. Deeper, darker water surrounded a bright gravel bed. We hooked into salmon after salmon. So many that we completely lost count. Some we tried our best to land. Others that were obviously foul-hooked, we broke off. Jeff was a great help all the way around.

Salmon in the net!I felt we could have stayed in that spot all day long and hook salmon, but we had plenty of holes left to find. We stopped at a couple more places and continued our good luck before finding the second best spot of the day. Below the power lines, a glassy smooth slick provided some great spawning areas for the salmon. We both hooked into several nice fish and took some great photos.

After a steak lunch at Carmichael Flats we anchored in a stretch that offered up some nice steelhead fishing. Jim and I casted our way down the run, but it was Jeff who hooked our only steelhead of the day. Jim reeled it in, and again we took the required photos.

Jim and JeffThe numbers of salmon definitely decreased as we made our way to Thornapple. Jeff said that 75% of the salmon would be in the first half of our float, and I think it could have been even higher than that. For a long time on our float we tried spotting some of the chinook but could only find a few skittish fish at a time. Nevertheless we still hooked into some of the fish we saw.

Across from the take-out, we targeted the last few fish of the day. Jim and I both got lucky at the same time. Me with a beat-up, fly-decorated hen, and Jim with an acrobatic fresh fish.

It was a great day to be on the river with a great guide. Unseasonably warm, maybe 70 degrees, and a water level of 7.0 at Newaygo.


 

Thursday, October 14, 1999Muskegon Salmon

Lots and lots of salmon around Carmichael Flats. Jim and I went there just before dark and hung out for a few hours. I hooked and landed an old skunky one on my first cast. My second hook-up lasted a while but we had trouble landing him, so he got away. My third hook-up was also trouble, but I tailed him in the shallows and then took a few pictures. It was 10-12 pounds.


 

Thursday, September 30, 1999

Went to Carmichael Flats to see how the salmon run was going and was happy to see good numbers of salmon around. Some were even getting old. Unfortunately I didn't hook into any.


 

 

Thursday, August 27, 1999

Headed to the river below Croton with Jim as dusk was falling. Trout were surfacing in scattered pods and caddis were in the air. I had lots of hits but only landed two trout, an eight-inch brown and a ten-inch rainbow. The water was at a very wadeable level. Plenty of anglers out tonight.


 

Friday, August 6, 1999

I forgot to mention the significant number of very large fish surfacing last night and tonight. Some were definitely suckers, and some definitely were not. Could salmon be porpoising in the Muskegon? It sure looked that way to me. I don't know of many suckers that can leave a wake like these fish did.

As for my fishing, it was all caddis, all hatchery trout.


 

Thursday, August 5, 1999

With the July heatwave over, the water seems to have cooled down a bit. At least we've been getting some regular rain to keep the water at a decent level. The caddis seem to enjoy the change in weather also; they were hatching in full force. At least two sizes were evident: a tiny caddis, and a really tiny caddis. Both had dark brown wings and tan/olive bodies. I landed several hatchery trout, and also hooked into something much bigger. It could have been a big brown trout the way it gulped my dry fly and took off upstream. But it also could have been a big sucker the way it dove to the bottom of the river and wouldn't buge an inch. My 6X tippet (and perhaps a faulty knot) didn't stand a chance.


 

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

Tried to beat the heat of the past week with a visit to the river. I wet waded into the evening, which was a bit of a mistake. Even though the water was warm it sent a chill through me. Water was too low and too warm, fishing was lousy.


 

Monday, June 28, 1999

Went to the Carmichael Flats area this evening to see what the trout fishing was like through here. The water level at Croton Dam was 5.5 feet, which related to a fairly pleasant level further downstream. A word of caution to myself, and others: be careful of the heavy current around the dropoffs and holes. I nearly had a couple of soakings tonight.

I saw a good variety of hatches on the river -- from blue-winged olives to cahills to caddis -- but very little surfacing on the part of the trout. However, I stuck with the caddis on taop and a bead head nymph down below. The fish hit both, but mostly they hit the dropper on the downswing.

A suprising number of people were fishing here. I counted ten guys wading in the quarter- to half-mile stretch of water I could see. That still left enough room for everyone to fish some good productive holes.

Tonight I got six rainbows and one brown. All from nine to thirteen inches.


 

Wednesday, June 23, 1999

On another hot and muggy June afternoon, I headed to the river below Croton Dam. The water level was at about 5.5 feet at the dam, so wading was very good. The water had dropped quite a bit over the last couple days. I saw a couple of guides float past and anchor nearby, but few other people.

Although evening fishing is supposed to be the best, I've been having great success here while the sun is still high overhead. Using a cinammon caddis as an indicator and a bead head pheasant tail as a dropper, I would cast 45 degrees downstream and let the rig drift naturally. At the end of the drift, I would raise my rod tip a bit and that's when I got the most hits. Because the water was so clear I could actually watch the trout turn and follow my pheasant tail downstream. When the nymph would start to rise, they'd either smack it or turn and head to the bottom.

I lost track of how many trout I caught, but it more than 10, less than 20 and mostly rainbows. Also, most of the fish appeared to be planters, but several were definitely holdovers. It's a good day when your net gets soaked.


 

Monday, June 14, 1999

After the heavy rains, the water's back to normal below Croton. Naturally it was also darker, but not nearly as dark as any other river in West Michigan. A few waves of caddis hatches came and went during the evening hours. The trout weren't overly excited though. I did catch three planter browns though, so it was worth the effort. Very few people on the river tonight.


 

Tuesday, June 8, 1999

Water level was still a little low, clarity is very good. I started fishing in the afternoon below Croton Dam. A few guides had clients, and we were all catching browns and rainbows on caddis and caddis emergers. In the evening, a big crowd of waders came downstream. While the fish continued to surface, they seemed to get pickier. I left before it got dark.


 

Monday, June 7, 1999

Water level is a little low, clarity is normal. Air temperature above 90 degrees with bright sunshine. Went to a great riffle area below Croton Dam to look for more big trout. Found them out in the deeper currents, and got several of them to hit my caddis and trailing emerger. Landed a beautiful, husky 15" brown, and took a quick photo of it before letting it swim away. Waited until 11 pm for a spinner fall of the grey drakes, but it didn't happen. Do I need to wait longer? Today was the first day I used my new Scott rod. Thanks Sue.


 

Wednesday, May 20, 1999

Walked and waded below Croton Dam in search of some bigger trout than the recently stocked trout. I found them, but I wish I had a boat to get to them. Since the river had come up a couple inches the past few days, wading into the main flow was tough and tiring.

Using the longest casts I could manage, I hooked into a few trout and landed a robust 14-inch rainbow. No fins were clipped, so maybe it was wild. I also caught five or six of the little guys just to keep things interesting. All of them had fin clips.

Elk hair caddis was the hot fly. Many strikes on it, and very few on the caddis emerger I used as a dropper. The caddis were hatching at a pretty good clip. Even saw a few sulphers and a few big drakes in the air.

Weather was sunny and about 60 degrees.


 

Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Hit the water below the Pine Street launch in search of thousands and thousands of recently released hatchery trout. I din't have to look far. There was a large school of them surfacing at the foot of the launch.

I caught a good mix of rainbows and browns, everything was 5 to 7 inches. Saw a few "big ones" out further, but they were a bit wiser than their new visitors.

The only fly that worked well was an olive tent wing. It kind of looks like the small black stone flies I've seen on the water lately. A BWO didn't even move the little guys.

Yea! Trout season is here.


 

Tuesday, April 20, 1999

The water was at a perfect height tonight. The steelhead were there. I got nothing.

See you next year, steelhead.


 

Tuesday, April 13, 1999

Only saw one guy wading and one boat race downstream as I fished around Carmicheal Flats. This was the first time this spring I saw more fish than fisherman.

The water was cloudier and up a bit from last week due to the recent rain. The gravel near where I usually fish is sometimes exposed. Now it had two feet of water over it.

On my tenth cast or so, I hooked into a steelhead at the outside edge of the gravel where it dropped into a dark hole. I believe it took the black stone fly on my chuck-n-duck rig. After a minute or so, it thrashed it's head and my fly came back to me in a hurry.

Right after that, I saw some more steelhead hanging around the gravel near the bank, and then the other guy who had been wading, walked by with a good-sized steelhead on a stringer. The adrenaline rush of all these steehead sightings at once fueled me for the next hour as darkness fell.


 

Wednesday, April 8, 1999

By the huge crowd of cars in the parking lot at Croton Dam, you'd think that the fishing was great. Maybe for the flotilla stationed just below the dam, but not for me.

Conditions looked good, even spied a couple of steelhead. Couldn't get a bite on any fly from anything. Maybe the DNR electroshocking had something to do with it. Or maybe the lightning flashing in the sky above. Very disappointing.


 

Sunday, March 21, 1999

Headed up to the Carmichael Flats area on the best day of the year so far. Maybe not for fishing, but certainly for hanging out in the river.

In the morning, no one was around. But by 2:00 I saw 40 to 50 people wading and floating the river. It seemed like very few people were having success with steelhead, although I watched one guy float by with a big one on the line.

Also saw my first hatch of the year. Little brown stoneflys started appearing in the foam lines in the early afternoon. I didn't see anything rise to them, but it was a nice to see the hatching begin.

Muskegon River Information

>Map, public access, hatch chart

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>Dave's '05- reports

>Dave's '96-'98 reports

>Streamflow Data:
Higgins Lake near Roscommon
Houghton Lake near Houghton Heights
Muskegon River at Evart
Little Muskegon River near Oak Grove
Muskegon River below Croton Dam
Bear Creek near Muskegon

 Click for Muskegon, Michigan Forecast

 

>Related Michigan Information:

Fly Shops and Guides
Fishing Reports
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Fly-Fishing Links
Blue Ribbon Trout Streams
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1998 Trout Stocking
Hatch Chart
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Rogue River Map
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Trails to Trout Home Page
 

 

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