Big Manistee River

Live the experience through our daily fishing experiences.
The section of the Manistee River from Tippy Dam in Wellston/Brethren, Michigan to Lake Michigan is referred to as the Big Manistee River. It is approximately 25 miles in length and flows through scenic rural Manistee County. Tippy Dam is a hydro dam that was built in 1918.

Considered the best trout fisheries east of the Rocky Mountains, anglers are always fighting to land the steelhead/rainbow trout that were introduced in the river in 1875 and the king salmon in the 1960s.
Guided trips are offered year round for steelhead, trout, and salmon. Dates for steelhead are October thru May and mid-August thru late October for salmon.
April 11, 2022
Steelhead Fishing Still Steady on Big Manistee Despite Recent Rain and Cooler Temperatures:

Steelhead fishing has still been steady on the Big Manistee despite recent rain and cooler temperatures. The water is still high, but it is starting to clear up and temperature is on the rise. There is a lot of fresh fish in the top few miles but plenty of people fishing too. We are starting […]

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March 10, 2022
Big Manistee River Spring Steelhead Fishing:

Day 1 - March 9th: Steve and Dave came with me for a couple of days of filming. We got off to a good start hooking up in our first spot but lost that fish right away. After a few little moves, we had our first fish of the day in the net. Following another […]

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March 6, 2022
Spring Steelhead Fishing Begins on the Big Manistee River:

In between trips to Minnesota to ice fish, Mitch and I went out fishing in hopes of finding some late winter steelhead. It did not take us long before Mitch had our first fish in the boat. A few drifts later and I was on the board too. We fished for about 3 more hours […]

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March 29, 2021
Big Manistee River Spring Steelhead Fishing:

Cold wet weather and a big crowd did not slow Eric and his dad, Steve, down today. We bounced around wherever we could and hooked a steelhead or two in almost every spot. Steve got us started right away with a 13 pound chrome male that put up a great fight! It ended up being […]

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September 8, 2020
September 8, 2020:

Fishing is getting better near Tippy Dam every day. While most of the fish are still in the middle to lower parts of the river, there are groups of fish every day showing up in the normal holes on their way to the dam. Most days we are fishing the middle sections of the river […]

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August 27, 2020
April 15, 2020:

As a result of being unable to guide or fish out of a motorized boat due to COVID-19 pandemic, I have not been on the Big Manistee River since April 8th when I had my son out for a few hours. The colder weather that we have been having has the river temps in the mid-40s. […]

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July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020:

The Big Manistee River is running warm just like the Muskegon River is currently. If we get a little cold spell, we might be able to get out after some trout; but if not, there are smallmouth bass around and biting. King Salmon season is just around the corner starting next month so don't wait […]

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March 17, 2020
March 17, 2020:

Water temperatures are on the rise and water levels are coming back down to normal. This is a fun time to be on the river as there are fishing staging near spawning flats and fish in the holes with new fish moving up. The cold mornings have been a little slow; however, after it warms […]

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March 1, 2020
March 1, 2020:

With the warm weather that we have been having, I took a break from ice fishing and spent the day with good friend, Mitch, on the Big Manistee chasing steelhead. Being 50 degrees out and a Sunday, there were a few other boats and shore fishermen out. We fished around a little bit up by […]

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October 17, 2019
October 17, 2019:

Fishing has been good for both steelhead and salmon, with steelhead on the up-swing and kings on the down-swing but still a lot around. The best steelhead fishing seems to be the middle section of the river (Rainbow to High Bridge) with some fishing moving in behind the spawning salmon. Bob and Jim fished with […]

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