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Sir Castalot
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there. I am contemplating a trip to the Pere Marquette in late March/early April (outfitter has my deposit for a planned multi-day trip with my son last year . . .long story) Is there a significant number (I know, it's all relative) of fish that enter fresh from the lake (rather than over-wintered fish) in that time period? I'd like to swing for fresh fish, and don't care to fish indicators or over redds. The time frame just happens to work and I've always wanted to check out that river. Plus they have my money. . . Thoughts?
 

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I have fished the PM in that time slot a lot over the past 20+ years but not recently.

There is no telling what to expect from the all determinant weather factor. We've had unfishable, blowout, into the trees high water; skinny water and few fish; and fresh rising water levels with scads of fresh fish. The DNR also used to hold fish back of weirs for their restocking programs but I don's know if that is still going on.

As for swing flies, much of the flies only water I fished near Baldwin were not ideal for 2 hand rod work. The typical holding areas there were fairly small. Down towards the big lake. there are deeper, wider, and more promising swinging waters.

Good luck.
 

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I have not fished the PM, but for the steelhead in this area, they say that 70% of the fish return up river in the spring. The only fall run strain around here are the Pennsylvania fish on the Erie. The Muskegon strain steelhead are a spring run strain.

Now of course fish were coming up the MI rivers starting in October, so I don’t think it is black or white. But what everyone here including my guide friends tell me is that March April is the best action for Steelhead.

Given the weather I am
Starting g to doubt the ice will be melted by June or July. I can’t recall it ever being I’ve 20 here.....
 

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I would suggest talking with your outfitter as soon as possible. Let them know what kind of experience you are looking for, and they can more than likely tailor your visit to you.
It really helps them and they appreciate knowing in advance what you want to do.
 

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I used to fish the PM a lot. Late March/early April should put you onto fresh fish, and some outfitters have the option of switching up rivers depending on conditions -- the Muskegon is less than an hour south and the big steelhead runs are generally a few weeks later on that tailwater fishery. The Big Manistee is north. Don't know who your outfitter is, but an increasing number of guides specialize in spey fishing. Ask. Chuck-and-duck (split shot and running line) is where the numbers are, and is still what a lot of guys use to get their flies down quickly into the short and deep holes and runs on the PM. If you haven't made your reservation already, do it now. Dates fill up quickly in those prime weeks in March and April.
 

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...Also, schedule a midweek trip if you can. The Pere Marquette is a small and intimate stream, and can feel very crowded, very quickly.
 

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Sir Castalot
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64 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, fellas. i know it's not an ideal swing setup but the trip was mostly about my kid and now that he's out of the picture I have more latitude and will consider the options, Naturally I have made clear my preferences and will do more spadework with the guides. My deposit is with the Pere Marquette River Lodge, so if any of you have experience with them, please weigh in. Again, thanks!
 
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