Muskegon River Report
Michael Kirchner

Home Salmon Busters™ Great Lakes Info Tips and Trix Capt. John's Log


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. 

The fire tiger/hot tiger Hot N Tot color combinations and bright color Willys worm are the ticket for plugs. Tight liners are still having success with spawn bags even this late in the season. 

Water temp. is slowly rising to 37 current degrees. Water flow is slow at 1740 cubic ft./second but rising as they bring the dam backwater levels down. We are still a couple weeks away from prime time but its starting to be worth the trip for reasons other than scenery.

Good fishing and Good health,

Michael Kirchner

January 30, 2002

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. 

Tight liners have reported slow but steady action with small spawn bags and light line and moderate success rolling faster current areas. The water is extremely clear and slow at 1940 cubic ft/second and temperature has stayed steady at 36 degrees. The mainstay holes are empty of fish and unless weather conditions change causing river conditions to change I don't anticipate great success rates until more fish make the trip in from the big lake. 

Good fishing and good health,
Mike Kirchner

January 23,2002

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 areas. 

I have been able to get a few hook ups on the Hot -N- Tots again but the Willys worms and Warts still are doing better. Color choices seem to be returning to the metallic/sunny condition and solid darker colors for cloudy conditions and bright colors for morning pattern. Water temps are steady around the 35 degree mark. 

Most of my success has been from Devils Hole above Newaygo to Pine Street. Old woman's bend also is still holding some fish willing to duel with persistent anglers. In short, the fishing isn't great so if you don't have patience and time to blow on the river trying different techniques, now is not your best chance to hook fish, maybe next week. 

Good Fishing and Good Health,

January 9,2002

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 

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, 
Michael Kirchner

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,

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, 
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


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