Lower Manistee Below Tippy Dam River Fishing Report 


June 2014



Michigan Guided Fly Fishing & Light Tackle Guided Fishing Trips on the Lower Manistee River for Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout.


  • Lower Manistee River Fishing (Tippy Dam) Tippy Dam is a tailwater fishery and provides great opportunities for salmon / trout / steelhead anglers as it has good access, and produces good numbers of  fish. 

(Steelhead / Trout / Salmon / Smallmouth)


The 2014 season is fishing well, but we are still behind! Cooler night time lows, rain, and a couple days in the 60’s has again dropped water temp and feed our fish well. The Hex hatch this year will fall well into July, and for some water such as the Rapid river Hex’s will be around into August.

Currently we are seeing good to great Iso hatches along with a few nights of scattered Brown Drakes. Stone flies have been in good numbers around the water, and have produced some great day time results. Larger Golden and Brown stones mixed with Yellow Sally’s and some smaller Olive Stones. Cahill’s, Mahoganies, Grey Drakes, and Sulphur’s round out the insect options. A few Hex Duns have been seen from back waters and are starting to hatch on a few of our local lakes in the area. I am looking at the last couple days of June to start seeing Hex’s, and look for the peak fishing in early July.

Day time fishing has been up and down and smaller rubber legged stones and Iso’s have been the answer. Terrestrial fishing has also started to produce with the use of Ant patterns, Beetles, and Damsels! Streamer fishing has still been productive in low light, overcast days, and has been best after local rains!

Night time fishing has been about the spinner fall. We have had some awesome nights with clouds of bugs, and others that only the fishing gods could explain why things were not in our favor. Mouse and Bat Fly fishing has started to produce, and has been pretty good on nights with little moon or light.

The local rivers in the area are starting to see more angler pressure in the evenings with the hopes of good Drake hatches and the Hex expected at the party anytime. Please remember you are not the only angler out there and you need to give space and respect to other anglers. I myself have been shocked at already seeing people walking in and posting for big bugs with no regard for private property and trash left behind. Expect a busy next couple weeks on streams in this area!

Fishing early in the morning has been pretty productive the past week. Mixed spinner falls and fish willing to chase streamers has been the end result. Fish seem to be looking up pretty good until around 9:00 am or a bit earlier on sunny days.  Fishing spinner patterns along structure and seams has been the ticket.

With everything being behind in 2014, and some of the arrangements that customers make a year in advance, we still have some fantastic dates open in July for Hex and night fishing.



Guided Fishing Services below Tippy Dam on the Lower Manistee River


Tippy Dam is a tailwater fishery and provides great opportunities for trout fishing as well as Fall Steelhead and Salmon! October and November can provide the hottest and best steelhead opportunities on this big water! Dec - March offers good to great fishing with little to no pressure. The key to winter fishing is the weather!  

 Trout / Steelhead / Salmon / Smallmouth Bass

   (Lower / Below Tippy Dam) Tippy Dam is a tailwater fishery and provides great opportunities for trout fishing as well as Fall Steelhead and Salmon! May and June can provide great hatch opportunities on this big water!

 Steelhead / Trout / Salmon

Best time of the year for trout on the lower Manistee river

June marks the annual  Iso "Isonychia" (Slate Drakes on the Manistee river), the Hex "Hexaginia limbata" hatch (Pere Marquette River, Manistee River, and AuSable River), The Grey Drake  "Siphlonurus" Hatch, and great fishing with "Giant stone flies" (Pteronarcys California) on our Michigan waters. If you are interested in booking a prime date in advance for great dry fly trophy trout fishing in Michigan (open days limited) call or e-mail for more information.

*Fall Steelhead: Late Oct and early Nov are the best times to find good numbers of fall steelhead behind spawning salmon. Water temps on the Manistee will drop below 40 degrees in late Nov - Dec. 




The lower Manistee River below Tippy dam is fishing well for trout, and winter steelhead! Look for great fishing with warming nights! 

 Jon's Guide Service offers Guided Spring steelhead fishing, summer trout fishing, late summer smallmouth fishing, and fall salmon fishing and fall steelhead fishing on the Manistee River. Guided Fishing year-round below Tippy Dam (Wellston Michigan) to Lake Michigan and the town of Manistee Michigan for Steelhead, Salmon, Smallmouth, and Trout fishing opportunities on light tackle and fly gear.    

 Hatch chart for Lower Manistee River



Contact us if your looking for a great "Michigan steelhead trip, or a salmon trip of a lifetime." We offer streamer fishing, drift fishing, Float & Indy rig fishing, Spey.

*New* body bait and spinner trips for Salmon & Smallmouth. This is a great experience, and a great family trip.

Salmon / Trout / Steelhead fishing on Michigan's Famous Big Manistee River 


The incredible World Record Manistee River Brown caught by Tom Healy 

weighed 41 lbs. 7 oz.


Ways to rig for Michigan Steelhead


Photo Gallery

Current River Flow data




Michigan Fly Fishing & Light Tackle Guided Fishing Trips on the Upper Manistee River for Trout.









Hatch chart for Upper Manistee River





Heavy rains (2 inches or more) can slow fishing due to large numbers of worms that are washed into the river! Fish pass food quickly, and the bite is back on in a matter of days!


Manistee River "Flies Only" Fly Fishing Guide Service








Cell # (231) 590-3483 


  Trout fishing on Michigan rivers!


Salmon / Trout / Steelhead


Taking Booking for 2014




Manistee River Guided Fly Fishing & Guided Light Tackle Fishing Services



The Manistee River in Michigan, is also known as the “Big” Manistee or "Big River", runs into Lake Michigan, and has a great resident trout population (one of the better rivers to fly fish in the Midwest) with great runs of steelhead and salmon below Tippy Dam. 




It is a medium sized trout stream in its upper reaches (CCC Bridge area) and a large dynamic steelhead and salmon fishery   


When the demand for trout fishing slows in the fall in the upper section, salmon pick up the pace in August, with some great early streamer fishing.  Large runs of Chinook and Coho salmon enter the river in September. Fall run steelhead follow the salmon into the river and top the list of great fish on a fly in early October


(steelhead enter the river to feed on salmon roe). 




Originating a few miles to the east of Mancelona, the Manistee flows south for approximately twelve miles while paralleling the famous AuSable River which is just a few miles to the east.  The difference between the two rivers is that after paralleling each other, the AuSable turns east (Grayling .Michigan) and flows into Lake Huron while the Manistee turns southwest, travels across the state and flows into Lake Michigan (offering many miles of great fly fishing opportunities).  The Manistee flows for nearly a hundred miles from its headwaters to Lake Michigan.


The best trout water is found in its upper reaches from the vicinity of Mancelona Road (M-38) downstream over thirty miles to M-66.  This stretch of river is small at first (approximately 15-25 feet wide) and gradually gets larger and swifter as it nears the M-66 Bridge (approximately 100-120 feet wide).  The upper reaches of this stretch are home to beautiful brook trout and some great brown trout in small water.  The farther downstream you venture the more brown trout you will find and the bigger the fish!  There is also a healthy population of rainbow trout in the lower reaches of this section (rainbows up to the 10lb range can be found).  The size of the fish can vary greatly, so cover a good amount of water. A guide and a drift boat can help your chances at a trophy trout! The overall consensus is that the farther downstream you venture, the larger the fish (there are very large trout found in the mid to lower reaches of this section).




Access can be found in many areas along the Manistee River.  Access to the upper section of Manistee River can be found near M-38 (Mancelona Road) and is best fished with a light fly rod (3-5 weight).  Below Mancelona Road you will find access in the town of Deward off of Fayette Road, County Road 612 Bridge, the CCC Bridge area (King Rd), and Sharon Bridge area.  There are also plenty of other areas to access the upper river (see map). 






 Access to the lower river can be found from numerous side roads off of M-55.  River Road (parallels the north side of the river) and East River Road are found near the river, and lead to Tippy Dam.  North High Bridge Road crosses the river a short distance below Tippy Dam (High Bridge Access) while other roads parallel and lead to the river (see maps). 


 fallen logs, undercut banks, deep runs, beautiful pools, and sharp bends all creating good holding habitat for trout.  In the upper reaches, you will find a lot of overhanging brush and good cover to provide shelter for the trout. 




There is a special regulations area for artificial flies only ( M-72 downstream to CCC Bridge). 


This is a productive stretch of river that  has  good access and a lot of goodholding water (good numbers of trophy trout).  The special regulations put upon this stretch have helped to preserve this great resource. "Catch and release and the future will remain".


Below Tippy Dam is the area of the Manistee River known for its quality runs of steelhead and salmon.  Every year anglers come from around the World to fish for the thousands of steelhead and salmon that enter its lower river (no fish ladder at Tippy Dam).  The water is big and in some areas very tough to wade.  A Guide and a boat will certainly help to cover the water. 


 The river below Tippy Dam flows aggressively towards Lake Michigan over a sand and gravel bottom.  Fallen logs, deep pools, swift runs, and charming riffles all help to create classic holding water for steelhead, salmon, trout and smallmouth bass.  Bear Creek is a feeder to the Manistee that is found on the north side of the river.  This creek is also an excellent fishery for steelhead and can be found along River Road near where it enters the Manistee or off of Coates Highway to the north. This feeder stream to the Manistee can produce some great fishing!


The Manistee River is most famous for its steelhead and salmon fishing, but produces some of the best trout fishing on a fly in the united states at times (Hex hatch).  Trout fishing is excellent and provides anglers with exciting action on both the surface and subsurface for a wide size variety of trout from little brookies to large shouldered brown and rainbow trout.  Hatches are prolific stirring the surface with hungry trout during the spring and summer.  Streamer fishing can produce big chases from monster brown trout in the spring, and during high water periods throughout the year.  Steelhead and salmon can be caught on Great Lakes fly patterns; egg flies, Hex nymphs, caddis larva, stone fly nymhs, as well as wet flies, spey flies, leeches, and streamers.  If you’re looking for an excellent Lake Michigan tributary for exciting steelhead and salmon fly fishing or for a great trout fishery to wet a fly, take a look at the Manistee River.




Fall Steelhead fishing on a fly can be awesome below Tippy dam from October through December. Water temps can turn these silver bullets into freight trains, and make some of the larger fish almost unlandable! Fishing with a guide will allow you to cover water and get you over the best fishing the river has to offer.




Although the access and wade fishing is good on this river, the use of a guide will always provide a safe, exciting educational experience, and put you on the best fishing the river has to offer at that time of year.




Jon's Guide Service offers guided fly fishing and instruction on Michigan's Manistee River  




Map of lower Manistee river below Tippy Dam



Map of Manistee River from Tippy Dam to Lake Michigan









 Phone # (231) 518-0118


Cell # (231) 590-3483 




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