If you thought this past fall had a great run of steelhead, looks like the real push is still on the way.
Every fall, fishermen from all over the central part of the United States, and even some farther out, flood the Great Lakes tributaries, streams, and rivers of Lake Michigan to chase chrome. Usually this bonanza of fishing is started by the annual king salmon run. At this time, the steelhead follow in close behind and hang around all winter for the spawn.
However, if you are one of those anglers that only fish the fall, you are missing out, big time.
Stemming from a recent phone call, Chad Betts, owner and operator of Betts Guide Service, knows a thing or two about the upcoming spring steelhead run. As he said, only about 40% of the actual run of fish come in through the fall. The remaining 60%, show up in the spring. They are also much bigger.
“The real deep push comes later in the spring,” Betts said. “Usually, it gets the best around the 5th or 6th of April, but it really starts to kick off around Valentine’s Day. Between these times, you can catch eight to ten fish per day.”
Speaking of those days, Betts offers two options to get out on the water with him and his team. The first option is a 7:00am to 3:00pm. For those that want to try to sneak in some time on the water after work, there is a 3:30pm to dark trip as well.
The presentations that Betts uses to catch these spring steelhead is nothing that doesn’t also work in the fall. As he said, it’s all 11.5 foot rods, long leaders, and egg patterns. From there, Betts looks for any deeper holes in the five foot to eight foot range and focuses on the front end of the holes. It’s there where the fish often hold.
“When the water temps get between 38 and 42 degrees, you start to notice a difference,” Betts said. “The Michigan micro stonefly hatches in size 12 to 14. The fishing activity really picks up and we also run a stonefly pattern off the beads to match it.”
As Betts said, there is always room on the water if you want to book to a trip. If you are planning on it, be sure to check out his fishing reports and forecast page to get a good idea on when the best time to meet up would be. For all other info, make sure you are following his guide service on Facebook. They are always posting pictures of huge fish.
WATCH: Organize Everything With This DIY PVC Fishing Rod Holder