muskegon river fishing report

“Muskegon River Fishing Report: Catching the Best Fish in English Waters”

Overview of Muskegon River

Muskegon River

The Muskegon River is a 227-mile-long river in Michigan that runs through the west-central part of the state. The river starts at Houghton Lake in Roscommon County, and it flows through the counties of Osceola, Mecosta, Newaygo, and Muskegon before finally emptying into Lake Michigan in Muskegon. The river offers excellent fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels, and it is particularly noted for its abundance of steelhead, trout, and salmon.

The Muskegon River is a tailwater fishery, which means that the water in the river is regulated by the nearby Croton Dam. This creates a consistent water temperature and flow, which provides an excellent habitat for fish. The river’s banks are also lined with trees, which creates great cover for fish and ensures that the river remains a healthy ecosystem.

Anglers can fish the Muskegon River year-round, but the best fishing typically occurs during the spring and fall. During the spring, steelhead and brown trout are abundant, and they can be caught using a variety of techniques, including nymphing and streamer fishing. In the fall, salmon begin to make their way up the river, and they can be caught using a variety of methods, including drifting eggs and using spinners.

Overall, the Muskegon River is a beautiful and productive fishery that offers anglers a chance to catch some of Michigan’s best fish. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a novice, the Muskegon River has something to offer everyone.

Current Fishing Conditions

Current Fishing Conditions

The Muskegon River is currently at an ideal temperature for fishing. The water is crystal clear and perfect for spotting the diverse population of fish that inhabit the river. Recent reports have shown that fishing for steelhead, brown trout, and smallmouth bass has been very productive.

Steelhead is a popular fish species to target on the Muskegon River. They are known for their acrobatic displays and powerful runs, making them a fun catch for both experienced and novice anglers. The steelhead on the Muskegon River range in size, with some weighing up to 15 pounds.

Brown trout are also plentiful in the river, with many anglers reporting successful catches. They are known for their beauty, with a distinct golden-brown color and brown spots on their sides. Brown trout are also a challenging fish to catch, as they are known for their skittishness and wary behavior.

Smallmouth bass have also been active in the river recently. They are a hard-fighting fish that are great fun to catch, especially for younger anglers or those new to fishing. The smallmouth bass on the Muskegon River typically weigh between 1-4 pounds, making them a fun catch without being too overwhelming.

When fishing the Muskegon River, it’s important to use appropriate tackle and bait for the specific fish species you are targeting. Steelhead, for example, can be caught using both fly fishing and spinning techniques. Brown trout tend to prefer smaller flies or lures, while smallmouth bass will often bite on live bait or artificial lures that mimic small fish or insects.

If you are planning a fishing trip to the Muskegon River, it’s important to check the local weather and water conditions before heading out. Additionally, be sure to take all necessary safety precautions, such as wearing a life jacket and being aware of any potential hazards in the water.

Overall, the Muskegon River is a great destination for anglers looking to catch a variety of fish species. With optimal water temperatures and recent reports indicating productive fishing, now is a great time to plan your next trip to this beautiful river.

Best Fishing Spots

Best Fishing Spots on the Muskegon River

The Muskegon River is a renowned fishing destination in Michigan for a reason. With its diverse waterways and abundant fish species, anglers of all levels can experience a memorable fishing trip. If you’re planning to visit the Muskegon River, we’ve compiled a list of the three best fishing spots in this area.

Croton Dam

Croton Dam

Croton Dam is one of the most famous fishing spots on the Muskegon River since it is a popular spot for anglers in search of steelhead and salmon. The dam’s tailwater produces a year-round fishery, with steelhead and brown trout in the fall and winter, and salmon in the summer. The river’s preserved area offers an abundance of clean and clear water that supports a healthy aquatic ecosystem, making it an ideal spot for fly fishing.

Thornapple Launch

Thornapple Launch

Thornapple Launch is in the upper region of the Muskegon River and provides a peaceful fishing experience with its abundant fish population, including brown trout, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass. The Thornapple Launch has excellent fishing conditions, with plenty of places to wade, providing a great environment for fly fishing. Since it’s a secluded area, it is an excellent spot for fishers who prefer to avoid large crowds that come with highly frequented spots.

Henning County Park

Henning County Park

Henning County Park provides several access points to the Muskegon River, which is ideal for both wading and floating, well-known for its brown, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass populations. The peaceful surroundings of the natural scenic vistas, combined with the availability of different fish species, make this park a fantastic spot for fly fishing. Additionally, accessible to disabled individuals, it is available with specially designed fishing areas to accommodate their needs.

In conclusion, the Muskegon River is a haven for passionate fishers and those seeking to take a break and enjoy the environment’s relaxing nature. With the inclusion of Croton Dam, Thornapple Launch, and Henning County Park in your fishing itinerary, you will undoubtedly have unforgettable memories and live to tell tales of your fishing escapades.

Recommended Fishing Gear

Fishing Gear

Fishing on the Muskegon River can be an exhilarating experience, especially if you have the right gear. The first thing that you need to consider when preparing for your Muskegon River fishing trip is the type of fly rod, line, and fly that you will use.

Muskegon River is known for its steelhead and trout, so you cannot just use any regular rod, line or fly. To make the most of your fishing experience, it is best to use a 9-10 ft fly rod, 7-8 wt lines, and a variety of nymphs, streamers, and dry flies.

The 7-8 wt line is ideal for casting heavier flies such as streamers, and it can handle larger fish as well. On the other hand, the 9-10 ft fly rod provides more control over the line and helps you to cast accurately while the variety of nymphs, streamers, and dry flies ensure that you will be prepared and have a chance at catching different types of fish.

When it comes to fishing on the Muskegon River, you cannot forget about the waders, boots, and vest. Walking into the river with only boots and jeans may not be enough. The waders allow you to move into the river and stand for long periods of time, while the boots provide good traction on the riverbed. A fishing vest serves as storage and organization for your fishing gear, so it is important to keep it within reach.

Lastly, you may want to consider bringing a pair of polarized sunglasses. They improve your visibility into the water and can allow you to see fish movements and behavior, making it easier for you to catch them.

In summary, the right fishing gear can make a significant difference in your Muskegon River Fishing experience. Ensure that you have a 9-10 ft fly rod, 7-8 wt line, a variety of nymphs, streamers, and dry flies, as well as other important accessories such as waders, boots, vest, and polarized sunglasses.

Choose the Right Location

Muskegon River Fishing Location

The first step towards ensuring a successful fishing trip on the Muskegon River is choosing the right location. The Muskegon River is a big river that stretches for miles, making it important to identify the best spots for fishing. The best places to fish on the Muskegon River include the Croton Dam area, Newaygo, and below Thornapple. These areas hold healthy populations of rainbow trout, steelhead, and smallmouth bass, which are some of the most sought-after species in the river.

Fishing Techniques

Muskegon River Fishing Baits

Using the right fishing techniques can help to increase your chances of catching fish on the Muskegon River. When fishing for smallmouth bass, use crayfish or jigs, while rooster tails or spinners work better for steelhead and rainbow trout. Also, try to match your bait and lure to the prevailing water conditions. For instance, during the summer months, bass tend to stay in shallow, cool water, so consider using topwater lures or pitching a jig into deeper areas.

Be Mindful of Water Conditions

Muskegon River Water Condition

Being mindful of the prevailing water conditions is critical to successful fishing on the Muskegon River. Pay close attention to the water temperature, clarity, and the flow rate. Knowing these factors can help to identify the right bait and lure to use, and the best time to fish. For example, during the spring months, steelhead are more active in the water, and they tend to feed aggressively, so it’s a good time to use roe or fly-fish nymphs.

Fishing Equipment

Muskegon River Fishing Equipment

Using the right fishing equipment can spell the difference between a successful fishing trip on the Muskegon River and a disappointing one. Invest in a high-quality fishing reel, rod, and line for the best results. Also, depending on the species of fish you are hoping to catch, consider using different types of bait and lures. For instance, when fishing for smallmouth bass, use a medium-power spinning rod with a 6-8 lb test line to achieve optimal casting distance and accuracy.

Pack the Right Gear

Muskegon River Fishing Gear

Lastly, remember to pack the right gear for your fishing trip on the Muskegon River. This includes a fishing net, polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a first aid kit. Also, wear appropriate clothing that matches the weather conditions, and a good pair of waders or boots if you plan to fish in the water. By packing the right gear, you can enjoy a safe and comfortable fishing experience on the Muskegon River.

Safety Precautions

Muskegon River Fishing

Fishing on the Muskegon River can be a great experience for anglers of all skill levels. However, it is important to take appropriate safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

One of the most important safety precautions for fishing on the Muskegon River is to wear a life jacket. The river can have strong currents in certain areas, and a life jacket can potentially save a life in case of an accident. It is also a good idea to have a float plan and let someone know where you will be fishing and when you plan to return.

In addition to wearing a life jacket, it is important to practice good hygiene while fishing on the Muskegon River. This includes washing your hands thoroughly before and after handling fish, wearing gloves if you have an open wound, and avoiding any contact with fish or water if you have any open cuts or sores on your hands or arms.

Following local fishing regulations is also an important part of fishing safety on the Muskegon River. These regulations can vary depending on the time of year and the type of fish you are targeting. It is always a good idea to check with local authorities to ensure that you are following all applicable fishing regulations.

Another important safety precaution is to be aware of your surroundings, particularly if you are fishing from a boat. Pay attention to any hazards in the water, such as rocks or submerged debris, and be on the lookout for other boats or kayakers that may be in the area. It is also important to be courteous to other anglers and boaters, and to give them plenty of space while casting or maneuvering your boat.

Finally, it is a good idea to bring appropriate equipment for your fishing trip, including a first aid kit, a cell phone, and any necessary medications. It is also important to dress appropriately for the weather, and to bring plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized while fishing on the Muskegon River.

By taking these safety precautions, anglers can enjoy a safe and successful fishing trip on the Muskegon River.

Best Time to Visit Muskegon River for Fishing

Muskegon River Fishing in Fall

The best time to visit the Muskegon River for fishing is during the fall and spring months. Fall is the time when the river gets stocked with salmon, steelhead, and brown trout. The fall season brings with it not only the beautiful autumn colors, but also the most productive fishing season. During this season, you can find the fish in the deeper parts of the river, and you can easily catch some big ones.

The Muskegon River is also a great place for fly fishing enthusiasts during spring. The prime time for fly fishing is from late April through May, when the water is clear, and the fish are hungry. You can catch brown trout and rainbow trout using dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. The spring season is perfect for those who prefer cool weather conditions and a quiet atmosphere.

Types of Fishes Found in Muskegon River

Muskegon River Fishing

The Muskegon River has a wide variety of fish species that can be caught by anglers. Some of the most popular fish species are:

  • Steelhead
  • Salmon
  • Walleye
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Brook trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout

The Muskegon River is known for its healthy fish population, so you are likely to catch one of these species on any given day of the year.

Fishing Techniques in Muskegon River

Fishing Techniques in Muskegon River

The Muskegon River offers ample opportunities to use different fishing techniques. Some popular fishing techniques that work well in Muskegon River include:

  • Fly fishing- using flies that mimic the insects found in the river’s ecosystem.
  • Spin fishing- using spinning lures and baits that can be cast far into the river.
  • Bait fishing- using live bait, such as worms or minnows.
  • Trolling- using a small motorized boat to tow a line behind the boat with a bait or lure.
  • Drift fishing- using a weighted line to drift bait along the bottom of the river or to mimic the water’s flow.

No matter which technique you use, it’s essential to have the right gear, such as the appropriate rod, line, and hooks. Anglers can hire local guides to know the latest trends and techniques and improve their chances of catching a fish.

Fishing Regulations in Muskegon River

Muskegon River Fishing Regulations

Fishing is regulated in the Muskegon River to ensure that the fish population remains healthy and abundant. Some of the regulations that anglers should be aware of include:

  • State and federal fishing licenses are required for all anglers aged 17 and above.
  • Fishing seasons and limits vary by the fish species and the time of year.
  • Certain areas of the river are designated as catch-and-release zones.
  • Anglers should follow catch-and-release guidelines to minimize the impact on the fish population.

It’s essential to obtain the necessary permits, adhere to fishing regulations and follow ethical and sustainable practices while fishing in Muskegon River.

Getting There and Accommodation

Muskegon River Fishing cabin

The Muskegon River is located in Michigan, USA, and is easily accessible by car. Anglers can reach the river through Muskegon, Big Rapids, and Midland. The river has many places that offer accommodation, such as camping grounds, lodges, resorts, and cabins. Many areas offer riverside camping with barbeque pits, picnic tables, and electrical connections.

Before planning your trip, check the weather, have appropriate clothing, and also inquire about safety precautions to have the best experience. It’s essential to carry drinking water, a first aid kit, and other necessary supplies that can come in handy in case of any emergencies.

Guided Tours in Muskegon River

Muskegon River Fishing guided tours

If you’re a beginner or prefer to fish with a guide, consider booking a guided tour. Many outfitters and guides offer services that cater to all skill levels. You can book a half-day or full-day trip with a guide, who can help you navigate the river, provide tips on fishing, and ensure your safety.

A guide offers more than just assistance in catching the fish; they can provide local knowledge, equipment, and save your time by taking you to the best spots. Many local outfitters offer fly fishing lessons and fishing equipment rentals. It’s essential to book your trip in advance to ensure availability and to know the tour’s specifics such as trip duration, departure times, and fees.


The Muskegon River is a fantastic fishing destination, with ample opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. By following the tips outlined above and taking proper safety precautions, you can enjoy a successful and memorable fishing trip on this beautiful river. Whether you prefer fly fishing or spin fishing, the Muskegon River has something for you. Carry the right gear, adhere to fishing regulations, and keep sustainability in mind, and you’re guaranteed a great time.

Fishing in Muskegon River

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