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Motrout has attached these 3 pictures to this report. The message is below.
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Fishing the Pine River (with some help from my two dogs)
Fishing the Pine River (with some help from my two dogs)
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Chasing finger long rainbows on the Little Manistee
Chasing finger long rainbows on the Little Manistee
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Where those tiny rainbows on the Little Manistee will head when they grow up....
Where those tiny rainbows on the Little Manistee will head when they grow up....

Report at a Glance

General RegionNorthwest LP, Michigan
Specific LocationPine River, Big Manistee, Little Manistee
Time of DayDepends on the day...
Fish CaughtRainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass
Conditions & HatchesWater temps: Pine River- low 60s
Big Manistee below Tippy Dam-low 70s
Little Manistee-upper 60s
Hatches-Nothing to speak of on the Pine or Big Manistee, except a few sparse trico hatches in the morning. Not much more significant on the Little Manistee, but there were a few fish rising anyway.

Details and Discussion

MotroutAugust 9th, 2012, 4:26 pm
Posts: 319
I'm now back from a ten day trip to the northwest section of Michigan's LP, and it was a good one. I didn't know what to expect from the trout fishing in this area, but for the most part it was a pleasant surprise-at least in the number of fish present in the streams I fished, if not the size. The scenery was far and away the most enjoyable aspect of the trip for me though, particularly along Lake Michigan's shoreline, but also on the inland streams. It's just not possible to imagine a more beautiful part of the north woods.

The first few days we floated and fished the Pine River. The Pine is a fun (though slightly difficult paddle) and the high sand banks along it make for some truly memorable scenery. Fishing-wise, goodness is it a tough cookie. I worked my hardest to catch a few small rainbows, but the fish themselves were brilliantly colored and worth the effort. Could be wrong, but it didn't seem to offer much in the way of dry fly fishing. It's just too muddy, with only about a foot of visibility. The trout responded to the flashiest, most visible stuff in my box not surprisingly, though given the small size of the fish, tossing really large streamers wasn't an option. This is a river I need to come back to and give a full week of my attention (if not more.) Then I might begin to fully appreciate it.

We fished the lower Big Manistee below Tippy Dam next, targeting smallmouth bass. I didn't want to target trout because water temps were in the low 70s, and I was worried about stressing them out. In any case, I didn't really realize this stretch of river even had a resident trout population. All I'd heard about were the salmon/steelhead in the cooler months and smallies and walleye in the summer.But the small browns were eager and I did catch several even though I didn't want them. After it was becoming clear that the warm-water species I was targeting weren't going to make much of an appearance (though I did catch one smallmouth) we decided to walk away before too much damage was done.

The rest of the trip we focused on the Little Manistee, and a couple warm-water ponds. The Little M was running cool enough and was fishing fairly well for small rainbows up to about 8 inches. I was told afterwards that these were immature steelhead in reality, which explains the lack of variance in size. I'm not really a big fish guy, so catching these little trout on light tackle was enjoyable enough for me.

Anyway, it was a good trip, and it appears that I even brought some of the cool weather back with me, as the temperatures here in MO have dropped down into the 80s. I will miss Michigan until my next trip (hopefully soon) and you guys who live up there are blessed.

No fish pics, folks, because as you've probably already figured out, I didn't catch a single trout (or smallmouth bass) over about 10-11 inches...Oh well. It's unfair to expect to hook into big fish your first trip somewhere, unless you have an acquaintance in the area who can help you out or can shell out the money for a guide, though I do believe I took the whole small fish thing to new heights. But I do have a few scenery pics anyhow.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
OldredbarnAugust 9th, 2012, 10:03 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
I will miss Michigan until my next trip (hopefully soon) and you guys who live up there are blessed.


Yep...

I'll get you some info and PM it to you for your next visit...You really need to plan a trip between the last Saturday in April and July 4th. There can be some big hold-overs in the Little Manistee as long as your arm, but this time of year the water is low and can be gin clear...Where your photo was taken shows how skinny it is. For trout anyway...

Looks like you had a nice visit.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123August 9th, 2012, 10:35 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2384
Most happy that you had a good trip to our state, MO. Earlier in the year is generally better, provided you don't run into heavy rains and high, off-color waters. This year our spring was dry and the trout fishing in May and June was the best I have ever had! We're paying for it now with a semi-drought, though my favorite pond is still producing well as you can see from my latest post...If you want some of those big fat brookies, come see me on your next trip and I'll borrow a kayak from my neighbor for ya. And I have a different Pine River for you to fish, one that holds rainbows up to 14" (that's the biggest I've gotten so far anyway) as well as lots of nice brookies too. Also, the Rifle is fabulous for browns, and like the Pine it fishes extremely well with dry flies. Right now it's hopper time, baby! Just whipped up four fresh ones on the vise, those pond brookies are chewing them to pieces...

Again, glad you made it up here and Spence & I will set you up for sure next time you come.

Jonathon

P.S. I have a guest room! The folks just came up last week and stayed, had a nice visit with them. And Spence, it has NO BATS!!!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MotroutAugust 10th, 2012, 8:18 am
Posts: 319
Thanks guys, and I'd definitely like to fish the eastern side of the state. The offer is much appreciated Jmd. You guys have a fly fishing paradise up there that I can only compare to Montana.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
OldredbarnAugust 11th, 2012, 12:10 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
You guys have a fly fishing paradise up there that I can only compare to Montana.


Ssssh! Not so loud. :) There are no wild trout in Michigan...No one up here but us mice...;) Oh! and a few bats.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Steel23September 9th, 2012, 9:30 am
little river

Posts: 1
I see that you like my back yard as much as i do , I live on the LM river and fish all them places and more much more there is a bounty of rivers that a trout nut would love to fish on them rivers can be hard to get right but when you do look out, would be glad to show you how to work the pine river to catch fish on flies, as there some nice natives in that gem of a river. And some other rivers and creeks and streams.good luck and tight lines.
Go find them they are there!!!

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