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
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 steelhead fishing has improved as we received some much needed precipitation. The Grand popped at around 5,000 cfs and has dropped nicely now around 3700. The river is in great shape with some stain to it, perfect conditions for steelhead fishing.
The water temp is around 33 degrees, which means many of the fish are in their winter spots. With that said, however, we are still seeing some fresh fish entering the system. If you stick to it and can tolerate the cold, you’ll be rewarded with fish.
Many people miss out of some of the best steelhead fishing of the year for fear of feeling cold. If that’s the case, then just try a half day. Otherwise, if you’re up to it and want to get outside from all the “stay at home orders” then book a full day.
2021 is just a couple of weeks away and we’ll soon be into the spring steelhead run, which typically starts in March and runs though the end of April. Prime time spots are starting to fill up, so give us call and come and land one of the fastest freshwater fish on the planet.
Captains Tom & Max Werkman
Let me start off by saying we do salmon trips. Landing one of these bruisers can be the thrill of a life time. They can be big, powerful and full of chaos and attitude
But with the change of the season also comes a change in the river. The summer filled solitude, quietness and lazy floats can, at times, bring crowded rivers and bumper boats.
With that said, there are still pockets of solitude for the angler who is looking to get away from it all. This time of year the northern pike start to get more aggressive. As the water cools, the pike bite comes alive as they start to put on weight for the coming winter.
Right now, the water temp in the Grand River is in the low 60’s and we are seeing these “advocates of the devil” appear more and more in their traditional waters. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to specifically target these guys you’ll need to hunt for them, cover lots of water. Like salmon, you’ll have good days and not so good days.
Why pike you ask? While the salmon can easily get you into your backing, the pike won’t. But the visualness of a pike take is something you won’t forget. As you strip the streamer you’ll be able to see the pike come out of nowhere and smack, with all the aggression of a salmon, your fly.
It seems our best action comes on stripping streamers. We have been using Schultzy’s Sculpin patterns and have found good success with them. For some reason the way they flow through the water as they’re stripping has an enticing affect on the pike that they cannot resist. Casting is key during this time as you’ll need to get tight to structure. Use a good pair of sunglasses, I like Costa’s, so you can see the underwater logs, root balls, and rocks as a lot of times the pike will hide under and close to those. Mix up your strip, from quick and long too slow and short, even during the same retrieve.
Fall is really on of the best times of the year to get on the river. There’s so much opportunity for the angler to catch multiple species of fish. From salmon and steelhead to northern pike and smallmouth bass. We still have availability this fall, so give us a call and book your trip.
- Captain Tom Werkman
The Grand River is low. The gage in Ada, for a brief period, dipped below 6.75 feet. Even with the recent rains the river didn’t pop all that much and is coming back down quickly. Clarity went from gin clear to slightly stained. With no rain in the near term forecast, it should remain that way for awhile. The river temps remain in the upper 70’s.
The near term forecast calls for below normal temps. Hopefully, that will drop the river temps below 70 degrees. Once that happens, the pike activity should begin to improve as we saw for a brief period a couple of weeks ago when a strong cold front moved through.
Fishing has been good. As the river has dropped the smallmouth start to hold more in the bucket water, near structure and just along the seams. If you find all three of these in one location fish it. Patience and persistence is being rewarded and will bring fish to net.
Salmon are not showing up yet in the middle section. It’s too early and the water is too warm. Steelhead season is just around the corner. The best time to fish for these on the Grand will be starting at the end of October right on through December. For those of you that fish with Max, he will be back from Alaska by November 1 so give us call and get a date booked with him.
I have to say, the last three months have been incredible for us as a business. Thank you! Thank you to all of our clients that have booked and rebooked with us. Yes, I enjoy getting people on fish and seeing the smiles and laughter that comes with a great day on the river. However, more importantly for me, I enjoy the relationships that are being built! Until next month…..
Captain Tom Werkman
The Grand River continues to be in great shape and is fishing well. It’s low and water clarity is the best we’ve seen in quite sometime for this river. When we do get rain, the grasses are acting as filer to help keep the clarity in check.
With the recent cold front, water temps are in the low 70’s. The smallmouth continue to be in their summer patter and tight to structure. Lately it seems that the afternoon bite is the strongest, although we are getting fish through out the day.
If you’ve ever wanted to fish an urban river and feel like you’re 1,000 miles from nowhere, now’s the time. So come and Experience Grand Rapids and all the fishing opportunities the Grand River has to offer. Give us call today.
Captain Tom Werkman
With the recent warm temperatures in West Michigan spring is on everyone’s mind. With that, steelhead fishing is back. After a long winter of deep snow and polar vortexes the cabin fever can be broke by hitting the rivers. Here’s our fishing report.
After the recent flooding event in West Michigan, over the past few days we’ve been able to get out on area river to do some fishing.
Depending on the day, fishing has been good, but a lot of these fish are still dark, hold overs from winter. We have seen a few chrome ones mixed in, which is a sign that our spring push of fish is just about to arrive.
As the water slowly starts to drop and water temps start to rise into the lower 40’s, the fishing will be getting better and better.
Lately, we have been targeting both spring spots such as buckets and pockets behind good gravel. In addition, we are also targeting the deeper runs and winter holes. We have been finding fish in both areas but most are they are still in deeper runs.
With the first fish of our spring run showing up a lot of these fish have spawning on their minds. That means on thing, eggs. Try using 8mm and 10mm beads as well as egg flies. Colors such as glow roe, peachy king, and peach roe have been bringing fish to the boat.
In the higher flows like we are currently seeing, we like running a bit larger floats. 11-15 gram floats with a shot pattered to match the float accordingly. This will slow your drift down a bit more to give the steelhead a chance to see your presentation.
If you haven’t check out our short film on “Gifts of the Grand” here it is. We partnered with Experience Grand Rapids and Aaron Peterson Studio to showcase the environmental comeback and fishing opportunities that exist on the Grand. The film was shown at the Mountain Film Festival in Saugatuck this past weekend.
Remember to use caution while wading in fast water and while on gravel. Leave spawning fish alone to do their thing so they can make more wild steelhead for all of us.
Captain Max Werkman
September has been an active month for us at Werkman Outfitters. This is our fishing report for September 24, 2018 for the Grand Rapids to Lowell section.
The annual migration of the salmon has started on the Grand River and the steelhead will be close behind. In addition, with the cooler air, lower water temps and shorter days, the smallmouth bass and northern pike bite has increased as they start to fatten up for the long winter.
The Salmon & Steelhead Front:
One my way to a guide trip this past week, I drove over the I-196 bridge in Grand Rapids and saw what looked like 100 fisherman at the Sixth Street Dam. Clearly, they were after Chinook and Coho.
I am not sure on whether or not they’re having success but I can tell you that we are seeing small numbers of salmon showing up in the Ada to Lowell section. If you up there, try fishing wiggle warts, thundersticks, spinners and skein in the deeper holes and feeder creeks, especially the cold water feeder creeks. Early mornings and late evenings are the best times. I got to say it is tough up there right now, just with the low numbers we are seeing. The near-term weather shows rain and temperature drops, perfect for sending more up. The water temp was still pretty warm with mid-day temps in the low 70’s.
Smallmouth & Northern Pike:
If you want to get in on some of the best jaw fishing of the year, the fourth quarter is your best bet. These guys are fattening up for winter and are in their fall feeding frenzy mode. The water has dropped and cleared up nicely from the all the rain we had a couple of weeks ago. As a result, we have done some sight fishing along breakpoints and weed lines. Try fishing everything from streamers, to Mepps and crankbaits. If streamer fishing, go with 220 sink tip to keep from dredging bottom. Right now, it’s not unusual for us to land smallmouth in the 16 to 18 inch range with a few near 20. There is a reason why God made few of these over 21. They pack a punch.
After a couple months on sabbatical, the pike are showing backup as the water temps cool. We have been finding them in their normal hunting grounds around the slack water, particularly around rock structure. Again, streamers, Mepps, deeper diving Rapalas and double bladed willow leaf spinner baits are your best bet.
We still have some October and November dates open so give us call or like us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates. Fall is here, so no matter what you do, get outside and on a river.
– Captain Tom
July 22, 2017:
The Grand River continues to run stained in the middle sections but it is coming down. Hopefully, if the rain can hold off for awhile, clarity should improve. Water temps were in the low 80’s this past week but with the rain we had last night and couple of cloudy days the water is now back in the upper 70’s
River traffic is next to nothing. As a matter of fact, many days we are the only boat on the water and only share it with a few bald eagles, osprey, king fishers, herons and some deer.
With that water being as stain as it is you’ll want to use streamers, articulated ones are working best. Color combinations include, yellow brown, orange and green. 300 grain sink tip on an 9 ft 8 wt with a 4 foot 10 lb. leader has been working the best to get the fly down to where the fish are. It’s a bit aggressive, and you may get lodge in some wood or rock, but it’s what’s producing right now.
When stripping, use slow, irregular retrieves so the fish has time to see the streamer as it goes by. It’ll be difficult with the stained water but look for contours, seams and pockets to find fish. You may have to make a few casts before one hits. Remember, be patient, you want to cover as much water as possible and move as much water as possible to get the fish’s attention in these conditions.
As the day progresses toward early evening switch to poppers. Us a 4 ft. leader with floating line on a 6 wt with a fighting butt as your combination. Yellow and green poppers seem to be working the best. You’ll want to cast right up to the bank with these, as many of the fishing are tight up against it.
The Grand River has many different fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and northern pike. At Werkman Outfitters, we take full advantage of that by chasing after multiple species using multiple techniques. So come join us on the river and fish different.