Countless rivers in the US offer great fall fishing experiences but Manistee River fishing has to be up there with the best of them. Located in northern Michigan, the river passes through many villages and great fishing spots, before finally flowing into Lake Michigan. The Manistee River is rich with strong currents, calm pools, rocky bottoms, and cool waters that move swiftly. This means it's the perfect habitat for a whole variety of famous freshwater fish.
Where to Go
Even though the river is around 230 miles long, the most popular fishing spots are in its lower part. Only 25 miles long, between the Tippy Dam (close to Brethren) and Lake Michigan, this part of the river doesn’t freeze during winter, which makes it a year-round getaway for fishing. The local fishing guides take pride in these “Gold Medal” waters, which means you can find huge Rainbow and Brown Trout here. Trout are a part of everyday fishing trips and a fantastic species for novices to target. More experienced anglers catch them too, but they make the pursuit more challenging by using fly fishing equipment.
The Manistee River is wadeable in most parts, so check if your fishing guide runs these trips as well. Use this as a chance to explore the river’s creeks, especially Bear Creek around Brethren. You only need a pair of reliable chest waders and you’re ready to go.
Full day trips are the safest way to reach your catch maximum but you can also take a half day trip and use the rest of the day to hike on the Manistee River Trail.
When to Go
Trout fishing is persistent year round and you can always count on Rainbow, Brown, and Lake Trout action. But the target list doesn’t end there – the Manistee Rivers also holds Chinook and Coho Salmon. Giant Salmon start their annual spawn run in September, when they move upstream from Lake Michigan to Manistee.
Need to Know
Every angler over 16 years of age needs to purchase a Michigan All Species fishing license (daily or annual). You can purchase it online or at any sports shop and license retail center.
Depending on the section of the Manistee River you’ll be fishing, there are different regulations when it comes to catch size and number of fish you can keep.
When your fishing trip ends, it doesn’t mean the fun is over. All fishing guides in the area let you keep your catch, so you’re bound to have a tasty lunch once you return to land. With so many species on offer, it’s easy to see why fishing the Manistee River is one of the best river angling experiences you can have!