Always our most popular season, that probably says it all.
There is no question that west Michigan is the place to be for Great Lakes salmon fishing. The Manistee, Pere Marquette and Muskegon Rivers have some of the largest and most dependable salmon runs in the state, offering miles of cool and clean waters.
We feel that the peak salmon season begins August 15th and will run to November.
Early Salmon, Mid August to Mid September
We declare our peak salmon season to begin August 15th and will run to November. Mid August through mid September is a time for hard hitting, tough fighting salmon that are fresh out of the Lake Michigan. These silver rockets will eagerly smash spinners and crankbaits but they can also be caught on streamers while fly fishing.
While the early bit has excellent fish quality the dependability can be spotty.
Late Salmon, Mid September to November
As the season progresses the number of fish entering the rivers increase, peaking in the end of September or first part of October. If your looking for fun dependable action then latter in the season is for you. Mid October into November offers a mixed bag with fall steelhead.
Other Salmon Options: Piers, Beaches, Harbors and River Mouths
While most people are aware of the the Lake Michigan trolling charters and river opportunities, many have never heard of or experienced any of the lesser known salmon possibilities. While timing is often everything these opportunities can be unbelievable when the bite is on.
Fly Fishing Gear for Michigan Salmon:
Fly Rods for Michigan Salmon — 8 to 10 weights. With the size and power of salmon they are our gear testers, we commonly wreck several outfits a season trying to land these beasts in some of our smaller streams. Two-handed “spey rods” are also a practical and popular choice for salmon.
Fly Reels for Michigan Salmon — A strong and smooth drag is critical, salmon will put everything to the test. The reel needs to be able to hold enough backing for long runs, you don’t want to lose the big one because you ran out of line.
Fly Lines for Great Lakes Salmon — Roll-casting is the rule for most of our salmon fishing. With this said, we over-line both our single and two-handed rods by anywhere from 2 to 3 line weights. You will also want a running line for chuck-n-duck, it is the only option if the water gets high.
Clothes and Waders for Great Lakes Salmon — Waders are nice and recommended but never necessary. Always bring more cloths than you think you will need. No cotton, it is too hard to dry and retains little warms when wet.
Flies for Michigan Salmon — Early in the season and in the lower parts of our rivers we use large bright streamers. As the season progresses and the fishing heads toward the graveled areas we use slightly smaller and sometimes more natural colored fly patterns.
Michigan Salmon Flies:
Morlock’s 4 Eyes
Martinez’s Steelhead Caveman
Morlock’s UV Rabbit
SS Bugger (Steelhead/Salmon Bugger)
Martinez’s Halloween Caveman
Grau’s Easy Sculpin
Crystal Egg (Estaz Egg or Sparkle Egg)
Nuke (nucleus) Egg
Glow Nuke Egg
Grau’s Tracer Bullet (fancy)
Below we have put together a reference list of the steelhead information on our site.
Great Lakes Salmon Articles:
The Kings of Lake Michigan by… Brandon Butler
Timely Strategies For Salmon and Steelhead — Great Lakes Rivermouths by… Jason Daley & Kevin Morlock
Salmon… The Right Way by… Kevin Morlock
Hooked on Salmon by… Jason Daley
Pere Marquette Salmon by… Bill Konway
Other Salmon Information and Salmon Reports:
Third Coast Fly