Pere Marquette River Fishing Report

Here's what's happening in Northern Michigan

March 19, 2023


Pere Marquette River Fishing Report:
I’m sure glad Spring is right around the corner! I’m getting tired of mother nature teasing us.  Winter landed again last week with some really cold temps, especially overnight.  We had a couple mornings with temps in the teens. We even saw 10 degrees on Wednesday.  The colder nights did start to drop the river a little and the upper stretches were getting clear.  Conditions should change again as we received a bunch of snow on Saturday and some rain on Friday evening. Water temps are still pretty warm – high thirties and forties.  Still finding mostly older Steelhead in the system with a few brighter hens scattered throughout the pools, runs and pockets. Look for fishing to get better with the weather these next couple weeks. The extended forecast looks like Spring will arrive with warmer temperatures and rain. Good Luck, tight lines !!!!!
FLY PATTERNS: The Alevin, Fry, and an assortment of natural orange Egg flies worked well last week.
OUTFITTERSNORTH PIC:  (above) Last week Bob set a personal best with an awesome day, putting every fish hooked into the net.  Was a stellar day and a great job and the Two Hearted tasted great too. (Below) Kurt with a great Steelhead taken on another winter day.


As water temps warm in the spring, pocket water fishing for Steelhead in smaller rivers, such as the Pere Marquette River, can be really effective.  The Pere Marquette River, as most of us know, gets an immeasurable amount of Angling pressure, regardless of what stretch you go to.  Many of these Anglers tend to hit the same popular runs on a consistent basis. I’m sure they kick out fish and can be productive. But as the water temps warm, those little pockets and dumps as I like to call them, can be a game changer when everyone else is fishing the normal spots.  When you figure out something new and have success, it can be a real confidence booster.  I have been fishing and guiding this river for twenty-five years now. I still try to force myself to fish different water – even if I’m in a stretch of river I see on on a daily basis during the grind of guiding season. I have learned those little spots can be very rewarding! If you get a fish out of one of those spots, it’s almost more rewarding than hooking one out of the same ‘ol spots.
Look for pockets that are deep enough to hide the bottom of the river. These pockets should have gravel above and below. In the Spring as water temps warm, I’ll see Steelhead enter their Pre-Spawning mode when they begin moving closer to the spawning gravel.  These fish will hide out in these pockets. When the river is seeing heavy traffic of foot and boat anglers, these spots can be ideal as fish get kicked out of the more well-known pools.  Steelhead will spook and take cover below the pools in these pockets and dumps.  These spots are ideal for Nymph and Egg fishing. I usually run an Egg on top for my point fly and pattern representing an Alevin, Fry, or Leech pattern. I like to use something with a little more movement to it.  This allows me to swing the fly out at the end of the drift with the hope of coaxing a fish’s strike response.  Pocket fishing can be a lot of fun and allows you to cover a lot of water at a faster pace.  Using a strike indicator or float is a great way to fish this type of water. If you choose to use a swing setup, lighten up the sink tip and tippet weight and run smaller Fry and Leech imitations.


Pere Marquette River Parr Fly

As March turns into April, the Pere Marquette River experiences an enormous hatch.  This hatch isn’t of insects, but of a small minnow that takes over the slower currents along the Pere Marquette River banks. This minnow becomes a staple diet for months for the migrating Steelhead and resident Trout that live in the river. These minnows transform over time starting as a little Alevin, then become Fry, and then transform to Parr. These Parr are wild Chinook Salmon. This is a must have fly to use anywhere in the Great Lakes basin in the Spring.

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!