Fall is here, the smallmouth and pike bite continues to be good and the salmon have arrived. Here’s the latest from the frontlines on the Grand River and it’s tributaries.Continue reading
Welcome to September and the beginning of the Fall. The Grand River and its tributaries are in great shape and morning water temps have dropped to the upper 60’s with day time temps in the low 70’s. Here’s the latest from the frontlinesContinue reading
The Grand River is in fantastic condition, low and clear to slight stain with temps in the mid to upper 70’s. Here’s the latest from the frontlines and all things Werkman Outfitters.Continue reading
After a deluge of rain a couple of weeks ago, the Grand River has come down nicely with almost perfect stain. As long as we don’t get any major rain events, things are setting up nicely for a banner next two to three weeks. Here’s the latest from the frontlines of the Grand and its tributaries.
A few weeks ago the Grand River hit flood stage as a result of the watershed getting 6+ inches of rain over two days. Just because the Grand was blown out, didn’t mean we stopped fishing. Once the rains subsided, we rerouted to the southern tributaries to chase smallmouth. As the rivers have continued to drop, the fish have continued to come to the dinner table.
With the high water we’ve been using streamers and spinners to cover water. Those clients that cast right too and almost on the structure have been rewarded with solid fish….but that’s the key, you need to get right up tight to the structure. If not, you’ll miss the opportunity. If you’re new to fishing, just listen to the guide and don’t be afraid the get hung up. If you do, we’ll get you unhooked. Eventually, you’ll make the cast that hits the zone and you will be on one.
As we’ve always said, you don’t need to travel hours north to have have a fantastic fishing experience. With that said, we spent some time with Rachael Ruiz from Eight West showcasing the Grand River. Take a look.
I cannot say it enough, the next two to three weeks are shaping up nicely for some really good fishing. If you’ve been putting off giving us a call, now’s the time.
Capt. Tom Werkman aka "The Old Man"
After an unusual start to the spring, as a result of wild temperature swings and little in precipitation, the smallmouth are becoming more predicable and we are finding them in their usual summer places. Here’s the latest from the frontlines on the Grand River and its tributaries.Continue reading
After a slow start to the spring smallmouth and pike season, fishing is improving on the Grand River and its tributaries.
Water temps are now consistently in the low to mid-sixties and should only get warmer with the near term forecast. The Grand is currently at it’s mid-summer level and is slightly stained. This can provide for some excellent fishing opportunities as the spawn winds down and the fish start to move into the deeper holes and stretches.
In order to get fish to net, we’ve been having to mix things up on a daily basis. It seems one day they want bait, while next day they want an in-line spinner and we are definitely maximizing the bite windows.
For those of you that follow our adventures, “The Old Man” dropped “The Kid” off at the airport last week for his annual pilgrimage to Alaska. Each year he guides on the Naknek River for Naknek River Camp and Katmai Trophy Lodge. Max will back November 1, just in time for the start of the fall steelhead season. If steelhead is your game, book early as we tend to fill up fast.
Hey, summer is a great time to get on all the smallie and northern pike action. Warm weather, no crowds and we have the river pretty much to ourselves. Give us a call, book a trip and get on our calendar. Come and enjoy all that a Michigan summer has to offer.
- Tom "The Old Man" Werkman
Temperatures have been all over the map, which is not making the fish happy and we need rain. We’ve also been spending some time exploring new water for trout. Here’s the latest from the front lines.Continue reading
Spring has definitely arrived in West Michigan and it almost feels like summer. With said, the steelhead fishing is quickly subsiding on the Grand and the other rivers we fish.
We find ourselves quickly transitioning to smallmouth and northern pike. For me, this is the best time of year to fish, no crowds, warmer temps and a lot of actively feeding fish.
Water temps are in the upper 50’s to low 60’s on the Grand. This means that whatever steelhead are left the system, they’ll quickly spawn and beeline it back out to Lake Michigan. Both Max and I would like to thank all those that booked with us for the spring run. Here are just a few highlights.
With the current water temps, we are starting the see both the smallmouth and pike activity picking up. Many of the fish we have brought to net have been found on the shallower flats, where they are actively feeding. Try using inline spinners in #4 and #5 blades in the colors of resident baitfish. It’s a little too early for creature baits, although you can’t rule out a bite or two.
From here on out, the warm water bite will only continue to get better. The pre-spawn smallmouth bite will soon be in full force so give us a call to get on our spring, summer and early fall calendar.
Captain Tom Werkman
We have now reached what most consider the coldest time of year, air temps have been in the 20s-30s and water temps have been in the low to mid 30s.
With these cold temperatures, this means the steelhead will be very lethargic and in their winter water. Target deeper water anywhere from 5-10 feet. One helpful tip is to adjust your float every few drift to get close to the fish. They don’t want to move very far for food in colder water.
These fish could be eating a variety of presentations this time of year so mix up your drift by changing out beads frequently. Use 8mm and 10mm bead in peachy, orange, and yellow colors and smaller spawn bags with 4-8 eggs in white, chartreuse, and pink colored bags. Jigs tipped with 2-3 wax worms in pink colors as well will work. Don’t be afraid to mix and match with a bead on top and a spawn bag on the bottom.
Winter is a time of year to enjoy the solitude and how pretty the river can look. High numbers of steelhead aren’t common with cold water temps but it’s hard to beat having the river to yourself most days.
We are starting to full up our prime time dates for the spring steelhead run in March and April, so give us a call to get on the calendar.
Captain Max Werkman “The Kid”
The Grand River near Grand Rapids, Michigan has many opportunities to fish. Anglers can target anything from bluegills in the lower river bayous to smallmouth bass and pike in the upper sections of the Grand. However, its fishing for Grand River steelhead that gets many anglers excited.
Steelhead will spend around one year in the Grand River after hatching from an egg and return to Lake Michigan as smolt to grow. While in Lake Michigan, they will spend up to three years continuing to mature and eventually coming back to their natal river the Grand to spawn. Unlike salmon, once they spawn, they will then return back to Lake Michigan. These steelhead will continue to return and spawn in the Grand River for up to six years before dying. This gives these fish lots of opportunity to grow to huge sizes, sometimes exceeding 35 inches and 15 pounds.
The Fall Run:
Fishing for Grand River steelhead will depend on many things in the fall. Depending on water levels and conditions, steelhead start their push into the river during the middle of October and continue through December. Typically, we need good amounts of rain to bring these fish into the Grand and up into Grand Rapids. The fall run starts my favorite time of year to fish. There is nothing like watching your bobber float down river and seeing it disappear in the blink of an eye. Before you can even comprehend what happened, you are hooked up on a big dime bright and angry steelhead. You cannot tame these fish. More times than not, they find their way off the hook. With that said, sometimes you win the wrestling match and get to hold onto one of these Grand River steelhead.
As the season progresses and we move into winter, this is when we start seeing less and less people in the river. This is solitude season. Bite windows are small and inconsistent but fishing can still be good. Temperatures are cold, equipment gets frozen, and hands go numb. Steelhead start to hold in deep, slow winter time water. Float fishing these spots can be painful, as a result of how slow the current can be, but this is where they live when the water is 35 degrees or colder. The fights aren’t as epic, as the fish are lethargic, in the cold water but they can still pull pretty dang hard. When the days start getting longer and the temperature starts to get warmer, the spring push is on everyones mind.
Starting in March, we see more pushes of fresh chrome. The spring steelhead coming in are mixed with the more colored up fish from the fall and winter. Grand Rapids sees tons of fish from mid March to mid April. This is the ‘peak’ of our steelhead run but it is also when there is the most pressure on the river. Nothing really beats catching steelhead in a t-shirt with the warm spring sun out in downtown Grand Rapids. Once we start to transition into early summer, the steelhead season is about over. In the early weeks of May steelhead start to return to Lake Michigan. These are what we call “drop backs”. Steelhead that are beat up and exhausted from spawning in the upper section and tributaries of the Grand River. This typically marks the end of steelhead season and the anticipation for the up coming fall run begins.
With Grand Rapids being located so close to the Grand River, this gives many people and anglers lots of fishing opportunity to experience the fight and witness how awesome steelhead truly are through out each season.
Captain Max Werkman