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Michigan Spring Steelhead Fishing

Book Your Spring Steelhead Fishing Trip Today!

Spring is a great time to target steelhead in Michigan! These active fighters leap, make blazing fast runs, and will strike savagely even in cool springtime waters putting smiles on anglers' faces with every bite. As the waters warm in spring, big numbers of steelhead run up the Lake Michigan tributaries to spawn, providing outstanding opportunities to catch these beautiful fish. Almost as popular as the fall salmon run, spring steelheading is an experience every angler will want to get in on. A hot grilled lunch is provided with all full-day trips.

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About Michigan Steelhead Fishing

For gear anglers, the use of cured salmon or steelhead spawn is a fantastic choice. The spawn is tied into mesh spawn bags of different sizes and colors. Some spawn bags are tied so that they are neutrally buoyant, through the use of small Styrofoam balls, while others are meant to sink. Depending on the exact technique - back bouncing, rolling spawn along the bottom or under a float, the technique dictates the type of spawn bag used. Gear anglers can also use inline spinners to great success, for absolutely vicious strikes. Spinners can be effective with slightly warming water, during a winter thaw, when the fish are a bit more active than they might otherwise be in the true wintry weather. Beads are another absolutely deadly way to target steelhead in the winter and spring. Every day is different, and the exact bead color can vary day to day. It's hard to say exactly what it is about these plastic beads that steelhead like so well, but there's no doubt that they love them, and eat them aggressively. And of course, a staple for many steelhead fishermen are small jigs tipped with wax worms. Fished under a float, steelhead can suck these little jigs down ferociously. Small color variations on these small jigs can mean a world of difference, and a good selection is handy along with a lively selection of waxworms with which to tip the jigs. The dirtier the water, the more waxworms that can be used.

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For fly anglers, beads are still in play, and is a top choice for our guides. Bead fishing has some tricks that can make them even more effective, but generally speaking, beads are a simple and effective technique. Also, during the spring, fly anglers use stone fly nymphs to tempt steelhead holding near gravel. Stoneflies are a natural in the rivers, and it has been proven that steelhead do eat these during their long winters, making this a great option. Also, for fly anglers, there is the option to use 2 handed rods for either spey or switch rod techniques, plying the waters through the use of a cross-current drift. Flies for this are often beautifully colored, and can yield heart-stopping strikes. Chuck and duck techniques are also very common for spring steelhead anglers on fly. This technique allows an angler to cover a wide portion of the river from a fixed position, casting towards steelhead holding in the river's current.

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Spring steelhead trips can be done from our regular boats - either jet sleds or drift boats. Both are effective in the rivers, and season doesn't make much difference.

As with all outdoor activities preparing for northern Michigan's weather is essential Spring days can be beautiful and warm, but the mornings on the river are often chilly. Having layers to put on or take off can be a key to staying comfortable. As the sun intensifies, sunscreen can also be important, as the sun's rays can be 4 times more intense when reflecting off of the water.

Most spring trips will be run on the Big Manistee River, but the Betsie and the Platte are also great choices, and many guide trips have superb days fishing these smaller rivers, often with much less fishing pressure. The Boardman River in Traverse City can also be an option, with the neat backdrop of fishing for steelhead in a city!

Book Your Spring Steelhead Trip Now