Get Your Feet Wet

- Cold Weather Steelhead Fishing -

The turning colors of Autumn is Mother Nature's way of telling us Steelhead season is underway. Bundle up, grab waders, and step strong into a river's current. Lake Michigan's tributaries remain an impressive resource. Both its hard-fighting fish and its terrain will take one's breath away. If you 're ready for a rugged adventure, then follow the call of this guide. Three paths have been laid out, choose the one that compels you.

Feel the Float-

Live Bait and Even Livlier Fish

Not afraid to get your hands dirty, work around obstacles in tight spaces, or barge through brush then float fish. This hands-on form of fishing is built on the bait. The size of which relates to water temperature. Worms in warm autumn water. Spawn sacks in moderate temperature water, and waxies in the late season cold. The key to presenting the bait is the float rig. Where normal bobbers fail is the lack of weight. Floats made for river fishing contain a natural heaviness measured in grams. This keeps steady in the current. Tapered split-shot then controls the baits sink in the river. Remember, the species pursued is a living, breathing freshwater torpedo so the strength of hook is critical. Coordinate with heavier than average steelhead pound test and log-jam avoided. This our friends is the tools for Trail Creek.

Work’em with Wobble’s-

Spinning Gear Tactics for Strong Water

Where some see a reason not. Others wade. Stronger current, wider water to cover. Why not? Larger, faster water takes solid strategy, and learning to read a river is key. Find pockets, whether eddies or pools. In these spots, steelhead reside in anticipation of busting an egg. Command their attention with an in-the-face rig. Loud color and extra action, a wobble glow is a next-level egg representation. Flick the floating plug as the weight of split shots pulls it under towards a strike. Watch high visibility line tail out with the current as the wobble glo rolls back and forth around small beads. Once in the face of the fish, feel a momentary lapse, then... Set the hook. This is a power session on Mishawaka’s St. Joe. 

Seduce to Produce-

Finesse Fly Nymphing

When the act itself is the passion, mastery follows. Take fishing a step further and work to gain control of the rod to line connection. For those who remain patient, fly fishing is a hard gripping pursuit. Wind the rod and feel the bend as the line drags across the surface. Flip the tip as momentum builds and cannon a gentle landing nymph forward. A natural forage pattern, either stone or hex, flows with the current in timing with the season’s hatch. The nymph fly goes from suspending freefall to rocketed ricochet as the river guides it into a simple bite. The ultimate result-- a fish of a lifetime on Michigan’s Manistee.


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The Complete Fisherman
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