Pere Marquette (PM) Conservation [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Pere Marquette (PM) Conservation

12-14-2001, 09:11 AM
Pere Marquette Watershed Council (

This is the primary conservation group for the river. Will give you a understanding of why many fly fisherman fall in love with this river. It is a 24/7 fishery for salmon and steelhead, open all year. Trout season is last saturday in April to September 30th.
Large fly fishing only no kill area in upper section of the Middle PM branch. Protected National Scenic river designation for over thirty years. First brown trout fishery in america. Still has an excellent brown trout fishery with complex hatches. It is not an easy river to score on though, you have to know what you are doing here. There are big browns, and more now with no kill of any trout for the last two years in the fly fishing section.

All fish are wild trout and salmon !

Not that I want to further increase the publicity to this river but it has national publicity since the sixties when Ernie Schwiebert wrote the famous article "Portrait of the Pere Marquette" in Out door life. He said then it was the only river in America that was instantly known, by just two letter "PM". I now can see why after fishing it since 1979 why it is nationally known and loved by all those which get the opportunity to fish it.

PM is in the heart of Manistee national forest which has a number of other excellent trout and salmon rivers within a one hour drive of Baldwin, Michigan which is the town closest to the flies only no kill section. Ausable, Big Manistee, Little Manistee, White, Platte, Pine, Muskegon rivers are all other excellent options, etc..

If you are steelhead or trout fly fisherman put this on your life time goals list. The steelhead and salmon runs are very healthy as well as the native trout.

One last thing this area, which not many or any areas I am aware of is the Hexigenia Limbata (Michigan Hex Flys). largest of the may flies. Emerge at 10 PM or later in late June through July. Fish in the dark with dry flies to large browns. Quite an experience fly fishing in the pitch dark and exciting when you hit the hatch correctly. This is when the big browns are most likely to be hooked, landed is another story.


12-14-2001, 02:13 PM
Sounds good, I've definitely got my sights on it someday. I'll trade you for a Cape Cod striper trip or a pacific northwest fling for summer runs and coho.

12-14-2001, 02:31 PM
Defintitley my next priority is PNW summer or winter steelhead ?

Which do you think there is a higher probability of success and solitude pursuing ? Also do you really need a guide ?

Cape cod stripers sounds intriguing also but once steelhead take over your psyche it is hard to stop the pursuit if you know what I mean

12-14-2001, 03:07 PM
Oh yeah, I know what you mean alright! The steelhead is my favorite gamefish, bar none and I have experience in both pursuits.

But having said that I would have to stand in defense of the mighty striped bass by saying that ol' linesides is no less of a quarry once you are talking about trophy sized fish on the fly rod with both feet standing on the shore, wading. Of course stripers are easier to catch overall because they are eating actively, but a 38-40" bass requires as much time investment as a steelhead on a fly. The key difference is that smaller stripers are plentiful, where you don't get smaller "bonus" steelhead between trophies like you do stripers. Whether good or bad, this obfuscates the comparison - but I believe a trophy striper and a trophy searun rainbow are both magnificent trophies to catch on a flyrod and take about as much effort to achieve.

As for your first question, your chances of finding steelhead to take your fly, in short sleeves and on dry lines and surface flies, sometimes several hookups in a day - are highest in the fall. The chances of catching the fish of a lifetime, a native chrome monster of epic proportions in the glacier tinted flows that will test your skills and patience to their limits - is highest in the late winter/spring. Both are unique and equal in their own way.

I also know all about making that choice as well. :confused:

12-14-2001, 08:00 PM
Never did much fishing for stripers except for some limited surf casting in the hudson river and NJ shore with out any major success except for some small ones. I suppose they would be fun wading in the flats and tidal rivers etc..

Really I am more a winter steelhead fisherman and trout nymph wet fly fisherman than a dry fly man. Suppose the late winter steelhead of PNW is my next goal. I checked the weather today out there and they must be getting pounded by rain, all rivers are rising etc.. Sounds like the fishing is very variable.

Wonder how you plan a trip out there with even a 50% chance of hitting right for the weather, river conditons, and the fish are there. As most times with steelhead it is a roll of the dice.

Which has the better fishing now BC, Washington or Oregon ?

12-15-2001, 08:50 PM
All things considered BC is really the best destination of the three, although there are great options in all three. For instance, you can fish around in Washington and wonder if it could get any better or hit the rivers just right in Oregon and have the trip of a lifetime within two hours of Portland. It's hard to say which has the best steelhead fishing but in all cases you are in steelhead country.

There are too many factors to say which is "the best". Personally, I have the most experience in Washington so I would be just as pleased to go there as anywhere in the world. There are those who know the Oregon streams like the back of their hands and given a choice would choose their homewaters first. Certainly in terms of native steelhead size and numbers and other factors like willingness to take the dry fly BC is tops. But there are probably nameless creeks in Alaska that have strong runs of steelhead that have rarely if ever seen a fly. And we can't discount Kamchatka, which we know has runs of big wild steelhead that have never really been exploited. From what I know of the Great Lakes and from fishing in the Lake Ontario tribs myself I know there is some incredible angling to be had there as well.

You might consider other factors like who you might be able to 'hookup' with too. Tough choice freind - you might just have to try them all!

12-15-2001, 09:07 PM
Thanks, I think it will be Washington for late winter steelhead.

Hope a nine weight 9.5 foot fenwick is enough rod ? Can't see using my ten weight but I have it if needed. 8 weight is my favorite for steelhead but probably not enough rod for the winter runs.

Such problems :confused: