Steelhead: October through April
Great Lakes steelhead are some of the hardest fighting and acrobatic fish in North America, and Western Michigan is one of the best places to catch them. When steelhead are present in the rivers in good numbers and the water and weather conditions are right, it’s not uncommon to catch 20-30 of these chrome beauties in a day. Our steelhead average 25 to 28-inches, with some fish reaching the 36-inch range.
Whatever your preferred technique: stripping streamers, indicator nymphing or beading, float fishing, centerpinning, or using conventional tackle Riverdale Outfitters can put you on the steelhead of a lifetime.
King Salmon: September and October
Chinook (King) salmon are the largest migratory fish we target in Western Michigan. Kings are big, angry, and strong. They’ve been known to tire grown men out, pull people into the water, and make many scream with delight.
Kings start to enter the area’s rivers in late August and by mid-September are plentiful in many of the tributaries we fish.
Brown Trout: Year Round
Brown trout were first introduced to the Pere Marquette River in 1884, and since that time they have flourished in the nutrient rich rivers and streams of Western Michigan. Earnest Hemming wrote about the trout in the legendary “holy waters” of the region for a reason, they are simply bigger in Michigan. The rivers we fish have produced several World Record holding brown trout, and no one familiar with the region’s water would be surprised if another record is broken soon.
Besides the resident browns that live in Western Michigan tributaries year-round, we also fish for Lake Michigan run brown trout as well. These fish can be truly massive and sometimes look more like King Salmon than trout. During the fall these lake run fish come into the rivers to spawn and feed on salmon eggs and smolt. Catching a 10-pound brown trout is a fish of a lifetime for most, and something we’ve helped clients achieve numerous times.
Rainbow Trout: Year-Round
Besides the migratory steelhead, we have a significant number of local rainbow trout that call the tributaries and lakes of the region home year-round. We target them using all manner of techniques including dry flies, streamers, nymphs, and conventional tackle. Often rainbows are a welcome accidental catch when we’re targeting salmon and steelhead. Their beauty, tendency to jump, and ferocious runs easily endear them to any angler lucky enough to tangle with them.