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anybody else noticing fewer amount of fall steel in the rivers the last couple of years just curious what people thoughts are on the fact that does less salmon mean less fall steel its beginng to look that way from last couple of years noticed a lot less out in the lake also just curious what people thoughts are im on the river alot and hope its not a sign of things to come

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seems to me, the steelhead fishing remains good in the spring the last few years. Fall migrations really depend on the water levels in the river. Fall kings have to run to spawn, fall steel do not need to run, just strictly feeding. On my local rivers it seems that if the water is low in the fall, steelhead will only trickle into the river. This was the case last year on the big manistee. Im not a professional, just my observations.

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  • 2 weeks later...

When fishing the pm river last spring it seemed like fewer steelhead but I did see some fair sized ones. When fishing the pentwater river last spring it seemed like a normal run at a later date than usual. The water was lower levels than the prior year. These were my observations.

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Steelhead don't run in the fall to feed, they run because that's how they are programmed. Steelhead have been running rivers in fall since they were introduced in the late 1800's...way before salmon. However, the do sit behind salmon and chow down because that's easy food rather than chasing bait fish. So as the salmon trickle out steel and browns switch from eggs to baitfish naturally. But they still can't ignore a good spawn bag drifting by. I used to fish fall/winter a lot with a couple very very accomplished fly fishermen and learned a lot from them. Now with kids I don't get as much river time, if any.

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  • 2 weeks later...

With less salmon migrating the fall steelhead are coming into the river later in the fall. The ones that I am catching are much larger but the numbers of fish are down. In the 1990's I used to land 10+ river steelhead pretty much every trip. Right now it is a skunk with a few caught here and there. I don't think that I have landed a steelhead under 5 lbs this fall. Not a problem catching spring steelhead I think that they come to Northern Michigan from all over the state due to colder and higher water. I know of places where if a guy wants to hike in to untouched waters you can see spawning steelhead by the thousands. They are there you just have to find them.

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Spawning steelhead are very much like a salmon they will take advantage of river conditions. If a river is high and muddy a steelhead will go upstream 100 miles or more in a couple of days if it can. They will spawn fast and use the high muddy water to escape and go back into the lake. Once the water is back to normal you will see lots of redds with few fish on them. Some of these fish will hole up so instead of fishing gravel get on the holes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was in Ludington and I saw fishermen on the breakwall. I understand they may be catching brown trout. At Scottville , I noticed several boats launched on the pere marquette river after steelhead. A place that may be of fishing information in this area would be Captain Chuck's Sport Shop in Ludington.

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