Pere Marquette River Fishing Report

Here's what's happening in Northern Michigan

DECEMBER 3, 2023


This week felt more like fishing in late January and February rather than November.  Air temperatures dropped like a rock and so did the water temp. We did get a few inches of snow which was just enough to make the boat ramps a mess. I was hoping with a little warmer weather Saturday, we would see the snow melt and river bump up a little. As I’m writing this, it’s still snowing here on this Sunday morning.  I’m not going to sugar coat it! Fishing has been hard all season, and this week the fishing was much tougher due to the colder water temps. Add in the low numbers of Steelhead in the system and you have a prescription for “tough fishing.” The steelhead already in the system are really scattered throughout the whole river.  Putting in long days and covering a bunch of water or hitting a lot of pools is key.  We desperately need a major weather change and rain bad.
FLIES: Flies that have worked have been smaller Leech patterns and Olive Sculpins both with little to no flash depending on time of day. Small Egg Flies tied in more natural colors and smaller Hare’s Ear nymphs and Hex’s Nymphs worked well with the Trout this last week.
PIC:  (Above) Mike with a nice little chrome Steelhead on a cold day.
A Streambank Stabilization & Floodplain Restoration Project is taking place around the railroad bridge over the river between M-37 Landing and Green Cottage Access Sites. Due to an active restoration site, there will be no boat access between the M-37 and Green Cottage Access Sites for the period of time listed below:

October 23rd– December 31st, 2023

Please avoid boating & wading through this section of river for the duration of this project.

*Signage will be updated to reflect the end of this project and the reopening of this section of river to boat access.

Sorry for any inconvenience. If you have any questions, please contact the Baldwin Ranger Station at (231) 745-4631


lucious leech
October and November Fly of the Month is the Luscious Leech.   This Egg-Sucking Leech pattern has been my go-to fly for Swinging small rivers in search of Steelhead for over twenty years now. I still consider one of the best patterns in my box. This fly should work really well this fall if the PM stays as low and clear as it is right now.
You can find the fly recipe over in my FLY BOX


When Steelhead fishing in the fall, be sure to watch your depth when Swinging Flies, Indicator fishing, and even Chuck and Duck.  Don’t fish too deep. Fall Steelhead on the Pere Marquette River, are usually on the move. Steelhead will transition from one area to the other when water temps are warmer this time of year.  While these Steelhead are resting in pools and runs, these fish are suspended in the water column.  Using a really heavy of Sink-tip or too much split shot can hurt you more than help you this time of year. You won’t need be on the bottom with your presentation. These Steelhead can be very active and very curious this time of year. While swinging flies, I have sometimes found these fish to like a fast moving fly. They want to hunt it down.  That’s one of the reasons Fall Steelhead are so special for a Fly Angler to pursue. Other sport fish throughout the world like Tarpon, Permit, and Trout, were meant to be chased with light tackle. Compared to using big flies to chase Steelhead, the thrill of the hunt, the exhilarating hookups, and intense fighting, is what makes pursuing steelhead so much fun this time of year. These are prime examples of why we need to protect the Wild Steelhead population on all the rivers throughout our State.

I am Jeff Hubbard. I grew up in West Michigan with a real love for the outdoors. After guiding in Alaska for a few years, I returned to my favorite rivers and streams, here in Michigan. Among these, the Pere Marquette River is my favorite by far. I have spent many years next to this great river in the town of Baldwin and have a great love for this great natural scenic river. I became a professional guide in 1998, and fishing still remains a real passion to me.

I’m a licensed USFS Special Use Permit holder and State of Michigan Permit holder.  This allows me to fish the whole water shed of the Pere Marquette River.  I am fully insured and CPR Certified. I run Full and Half Day Trips, Instructional, walk and wade, or float trips.

Always feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions or ideas!  Thank you for stopping by!