February 25, 2002
The recent rain and warmth has not brought about the rapid increase in fishing success that everyone anticipated. There are some silver fish just entering the river system above Maple Island but the rise of the water level and increased flow rate of 3500 ft/second have done little since the water temp is still low at 36 degrees. Typically the fishing success improves after the river gets stirred up like it did last week and is returning to stable conditions, but it sounds like Mother Nature is going to test our patience this week. The best results last week were when pulling Warts and Tots of the green/silver and fire tiger variety near Newaygo and Devil's Hole. Tight lining with spawn is still productive near the Dam which is remarkable considering March is almost on us. Get lots of rest now because all h#$%#@$%@ should break loose very soon as the second week of March is usually the start of the best fishing on the Muskegon for awakening steelhead. Good Fishing and Good Health, Michael Kirchner
February 8, 2002
Slowly improving numbers of silver fish in the river
are painting a rosier picture for success in Steelheading on the
Muskegon River. I'm seeing more silver fish in the river and I've
witnessed improved catch rates. It looks like the dry spell is starting
to break. It is still tough going out there with catch rates but I am
getting hook ups more frequently.
Steelhead fishing continues to be slow on
the Muskegon river forcing anglers to explore new water and be creative
with techniques. Working log infested holes normally skipped for fear of
lure loss has coaxed a few hook ups. Bright solid colors like the fire
tiger Hot N Tot have been the ticket with plugs.
Good fishing and good health,
The recent warming trend has made fishing
more comfortable in the recent week but has done little to improve
fishing success rates on the Muskegon River. Water flow is way down to
1800 cu. ft./second which helps in the fact that the fast action plugs
don't work so aggressively as to spook the fish and increased boat
control working the holes and runs mean you can better target prime
Good Fishing and Good Health,
I have conceded defeat in my search for steelhead on the Muskegon River this last week as Mr. Metalhead has settled down for a winter nap. Water temp dropped to 34-36 degrees due to the runoff and the water is so clear it makes gin look dirty. Consequently the fish can see a line very easily and will not be fooled easily. Being skunked on two short trips, I turned my attention to scouting with my eyes and electronics to find where the fish were hiding. Good numbers of fish were found hiding behind log jams and rocks and on the front edge of drop-off areas which helps explain why normal backtrolling techniques were not working. With the fish being lazy and cold and wanting to stay out of areas that would require them to expend energy to maintain their position, I switched my techniques accordingly. I have never found a good sporting and fair method to catch and fight fish out of log jams so I concentrated on the drop-offs. Using ultra slow drop back techniques with anchor and oars, I was able to coax a few hook ups with dark-colored deep running wiggle warts. The fish would hit them as they came over the drop off as a self-defense to maintain their position. Hopefully the upcoming warm stretch will loosen up the fishing and awaken our friends from their nap. Good fishing and good health, Michael Kirchner
January 3, 2002
Now that the holidays are over, we can all find more time to pursue our metalhead friends. Cold and snowy have been the conditions since Christmas on the Muskegon River. The water temp. has dropped consistently for a week now and is hovering around 38-40 degrees. Twice last week I was able to keep the ramp shoveled off long enough to fish for a few hours.
All the fast action lures have shut down and become unproductive with the colder water temps. I did not even get a hit with Hot-n-Tots, Wiggle Warts or Flatfish of any color last week which is rare. The only thing working for me was slower action lures like the thunderstick jr. and the shad rap with the small bill and rattle traps. With these lures no color pattern was evident. I was able to hook up three times with the Black Willys Worm with green accents on one trip, but only if I ran it off the front hook mount thus running the lure shallower than normal for backtrolling. Unfortunately I can share only my experiences last week as I did not encounter another angler anywhere between Bridgeton and Newaygo (Something about ice in the eyelets or frozen toes-Whimps!)
Some of the wader fisherman were having success in Newaygo and at the Dam using 2-3 egg spawn bags and 6-8 LB test line as the water is extremely clear and if the fish have to work for it they are taking a close look first. All my action has been when the sun is out between noon and three o'clock when the warmer sun has coaxed the fish out of hiding.
Good fishing and Good Health,
December 19, 2001
Fishing has generated moderate success this week on the Muskegon from Maple Island to Croton Dam. This fish are spread out and are being fussy as most tactics are successful for only short periods of time.
The largest concentrations are from Newaygo to the High Rollaways and Thornapple to Pine Street. Darker solid colors like green and blood red are producing best. Spawn rollers are switching to smaller dime-sized bags and light line to combat recent line shyness with decent success.
Keep changing your offerings frequently and don't be stubborn on one tactic too long to increase your success.
Good Fishing and Good Health, Michael =================================================================
December 11, 2001
Mother Nature has been credited with an assist this week as fishing has been great on the Muskegon this week. Stable high water levels with water returning to clear and stable air temperatures have all contributed to great success for plug pullers and rolling spawn techniques alike. On overcast days the color of choice has been green, with the Hot Shot and Hot-N-Tot producing best. In the sunny days they are slamming anything metallic that you can throw at them from the tackle box. The latest run that was holed up at Maple Island has moved upriver and good numbers are being caught all the way up to Croton Dam. Kudos go out to the township, who have rebuilt the launch site just below the Dam. With a new ramp, restrooms and paved lighted parking lots, this previously neglected site has been returned to a first class access area, check it out as the pressure was light in that stretch of river during the fall construction. Good Health and Good Fishing, Michael =========================================================
December 5, 2001
Slow best describes the fishing success, fast best describes the river current. More rainfall last week brought the water levels up on the Muskegon. This with the dirty water and warm temperatures have drastically slowed the action.
The patient person who has time to spend working the holes very thoroughly has the best chance to hook into steelhead. Reasonable numbers of fish still exist from Croton to Thornapple but the fresh runs seems to have holed up near Maple Island and are not interested in many offerings.
If you plan on wetting a line this week plan on a whole day to increase your odds of success and cover as much water as possible.
Good Fishing and Good Health, Michael ======================================================
November 30th, 2001
The Muskegon River continues to show good numbers of fish between Newaygo and Pine St in the 6-10 lb range. If it finishes as it started, this year should rank up there as one of the best for steelhead. Many anglers are hooking into a fresh run of fish near Maple Island and success rates are high for boating fish. Water is on the rise and tea colored from all the rain. Solid color, fast action plugs are starting to catch up to metallic in terms of success. Hot Shots in the red and blue colors are doing well along with bronze Willy's Worms but the gold Hot-N-Tot is still the best. Boat control with the current high winds is the biggest challenge currently. On calm days head for the river for your best chance to dance with some metal beauties. ======================================================
November 20th, 2001
Consistent, best describes the action on the Muskegon River right now. Water level is slowly dropping but still ideal. Water clarity is returning to gin from tea colored, not enough to produce line shyness, yet! The water between Bridgeton and Pine Street is producing the best with the hot plug still being the metallic gold Hot-N-Tot with the red lip. Metallic colors are out fishing the patterns and solids right now 5 to 1 even on overcast days. Many people are still having success tight lining spawn bags near Newaygo but this is expected to subside as it typically does in late November. Fish are on the move leaving the deeper holes and suspending in the shallower troughs near the banks. If your favorite hole isn't producing try that little trough you always meant to do, but never did, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised. Good fishing and Good Health to You, Michael Kirchner