Experience a Fall Fishing Adventure in Manistee County!

Fishing is a great way to spend time with family, friends or business acquaintances; the thrill of hearing the cry “FISH ON” provides a lifetime of memories. Whether it’s a line ripping salmon or a sky-rocketing steelhead jumping 6 feet in the air, you’re sure to catch on to the love of fishing while visiting Manistee County.

The Big Manistee River. Photo courtesy of 22North Photography, Brian Edward

The Big Manistee River. Photo courtesy of 22North Photography, Brian Edward

The Manistee River, which runs approximately 232 miles through the Northern Lower Peninsula, passes through several villages before reaching Lake Michigan at the City of Manistee. The river’s rocky bottom, fast moving cool water and vigorous currents with calm pools makes it a perfect habitat to hold and reproduce an abundance of fish. You can expect to catch steelhead as well as Chinook salmon and coho salmon on your fall fishing adventure.

Steelhead (Rainbow) Trout Also known as rainbow trout, steelhead are genetically the same as stream trout but can grow to a larger size if they live in Lake Michigan.One of the most exciting fish to catch, they can certainly be a challenge to get into the boat. Almost like acrobats of the lake, steelhead are known for high flying jumps with lots of twists and backflips.

Chinook (King) Salmon Chinook Salmon are also called King Salmon or Kings. This species will make up the bulk of your catch most of the year. Chinook average from 2-20 pounds, with 6-15 pounds being the most common. No other Lake Michigan sport fish pulls like a king salmon. A king typically matures in four years, and then returns to the river where it was born and prepares to spawn. Some of the largest kings are as much as 4 year old.

Photo courtesy of the Manistee County Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of the Manistee County Visitors Bureau

Coho Salmon Sometimes  referred  to as silver salmon, or just cohos, Coho salmon are similar in appearance to kings, but quite different when it comes to the fight. Cohos like to roll, jump and do whatever they can to get off the hook. Their average size is smaller than kings, typically between 1-6 pounds, but they can sometimes get much larger. Coho tend to travel in schools, so where you find one, there are usually many more.

Visitors to Manistee County can also book a fall fishing trip through several available charter companies, such as: Tilmann Outfitters: For river fishing, the Big Manistee is world renowned for its fresh, record setting Salmon, Steelhead and Brown Trout. Cruise down the Big Manistee with Captain Michael on either his roomy 18′ Sea Arc. We can fish the Big Manistee near the shoreline or in the deep holes for giant Salmon and Steelhead, or the near-shore coastal waters at the mouth of Lake Michigan.

Also, we can simply spend some time exploring some of Manistee’s unspoiled wilderness areas and abundant wildlife along the river. River Haven Guide Service: Fall Steelhead is possibly the most exciting fishing experience on the Manistee River. These fish usually start to show up around the first week of October. Feeding on the eggs of the recent salmon run, they are very chrome in color, hungry, aggressive and put up a fight.

Photo courtesy of the Manistee County Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of the Manistee County Visitors Bureau

First Class Charters: Ideal for families or corporate groups, the charter is led by an experienced U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain with 25 years of experience. This charter is great for fishing Salmon, Steelhead, Brown Trout and Lake Trout. The tour is docked 10 minutes from Lake Michigan on the Manistee River Channel.

Schmidt Outfitters: Schmidt Outfitters is a fly fishing outfitter that was established in 1976 in Wellston. They provide destination guide services on some of Michigan’s most famous trout, steelhead and salmon waters like the Manistee River, Bear Creek and Pine River. With professional fly fishing guides, a fully stocked fly shop, fly fishing schools, casting pond, it’s no wonder that anglers from around the world visit our waters and enjoy our services. You will, too. For more information about fishing in the Manistee area, go to www.visitmanisteecounty.com


About the author: Growing up in Manistee, Kathryn Kenny spent her childhood fishing on the Manistee River systems and the Big Lake with her two older brothers; a family tradition that has been passed down to her daughters. Kathryn is the executive director of the Manistee County Visitors Bureau.

Cool and Colorful: Golfing Manistee County in Autumn

Fall is a great time to golf in Michigan! Guest blogger Maralee Cook shares her experience golfing during the fall season at Manistee National Golf and Resort in Manistee, MI.

Autumn in Manistee County in northwestern Lower Michigan is all about cool and colorful. Lake Michigan tempers our weather well into October, and crisp, clear mornings give way to warm afternoons and evenings perfect for outdoor sports and viewing unforgettable sunsets.


A one-hour hop from Midway Airport in Chicago brings you to Manistee Blacker Airport for a cool, colorful, fall Fly, Stay and Play golf special.

If you’re a golfer, you know that there’s no better time to play and Manistee County has the perfect Fly, Stay and Play Golf Package. You’ll fly from Chicago’s Midway Airport to Manistee Blacker Airport for a quick one-hour hop across the Great Lake Michigan to stay and play unlimited golf at Manistee National Golf and Resort’s two spectacular 18-hole golf courses, Canthooke Valley and Cutter’s Ridge.

The package includes roundtrip airfare, luggage and clubs, shuttle service to and from Manistee Blacker Airport to Manistee National, and a $30 food voucher at Manistee National’s Osprey Grille.  And when you’re not golfing, you’ll want to unwind at the hotel lounge or the indoor/outdoor pool and whirlpool.

Manistee National Golf Course

Manistee National Golf and Resort includes at indoor/outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool.

Canthooke Valley, a traditional course, with stately oak trees crowned in umbers and siennas, offers gently rolling fairways planted in Kentucky bluegrass that set your ball up high for easy contact. Cutter’s Ridge, designed by Jerry Matthews, is set amid marshes and wetlands with bentgrass fairways and greens. In autumn the birches and maples on Cutter’s Ridge are aflame in brilliant reds, oranges and yellows.

Pure Michigan Golf

Manistee National Golf and Resort in Manistee, Michigan has two top-notch 18-hole golf courses.

If you’re looking for a little more nightlife while you’re here we’ll get you a shuttle to Manistee County’s  Little River Casino Resort with one of Michigan’s largest gaming floors, excellent restaurants and a wide variety of entertainment including concerts and comedy acts. Would you like to play Manistee County’s world class Arcadia Bluffs while you’re here? We can make that happen too. Greens fees are not included in the package price for non-Manistee National courses, but we’ll be happy to shuttle you to the Bluffs.

The package is only $399 per person for 3 nights midweek, or 2 nights weekend at $499 per person. And if you choose our weekend package, you’ll be winging your way to Chicago’s Midway on our 5 p.m. flight – plenty of time to be in your favorite chair at home for Sunday Night Football.

Check out Flymanistee.com or manisteenational.com  or visitmanisteecounty.com for more information or to make reservations.  And go to visitmanisteecounty.com for more information on visiting the City of Manistee on the shores of Lake Michigan and or our County’s other charming small towns.  You won’t want to miss golfing, shopping, dining, fishing, hiking or biking during our colorful fall.

Maralee Cook Maralee Cook is a freelance writer living in Manistee, Michigan.

Where is your favorite place for fall golf in Michigan?



Fall Colors in Manistee County Have Peaked!

Fall colors in areas across Michigan have begun to peak, and Manistee County is no exception! Today, guest blogger Maralee Cook, a Manistee resident, fills us in on how you can still enjoy fall in its prime during a visit to her hometown.

Manistee County’s gloriously hot and sunny summer has become a brilliant, colorful autumn.  The Great Lake Michigan is a deeper blue, the air is cool and crisp, and from the Manistee Pierhead light you can see north up the coast to Frankfort and south to the Point Sable Light.  The trees are topped with leaves in hues you find on an artist’s palette:  lemon yellow, gamboge, scarlet, vermilion, crimson, burnt sienna and more.  They line the shores of Lake Michigan, the banks of over 270 miles of county rivers, and highways and back roads that carry us past miles of charming towns, farmland and orchards on gently rolling hills.  Farm markets and Manistee’s Saturday Farmer’s Market offer bushel baskets overflowing with fall fruits and vegetables.  Colorful mums and bright orange pumpkins wait by the hundreds to come home with you and decorate your front porch for Halloween.  Come for an autumn drive, bike ride, canoe trip or to play golf or fish.  And there are lots of festivals and events during the rest of October, to round out your stay. 

Check out visitmanisteecounty.com with paper and pencil in hand, ready to mark on your calendar some of our special events.

  • West Michigan Juried Art Show at Hardy Hall in Manistee’s Ramsdell Theatre through Oct. 21.
  • “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” performed at the Ramsdell Theatre through Oct. 21
  • Josh White Jr. live at the Ramsdell Theatre Oct. 26
  • Metropolitan Opera’s performance live in HD of Verdi’s “Otello” Oct. 27 at the Ramsdell Theatre
  • Manistee’s Ghost Ship each weekend in October
  • Scarecrow conventions in Onekama and Arcadia all month
  • Twisted Trails Off Road Park Pumpkin Run and Team Kamikaze
  • Salmon running at the Little Manistee River Weir
  • Fishing continues (always!) in the rivers and lakes

Maralee Cook is a freelance writer living in Manistee, Michigan.

Have you visited Manistee County this year? Share with us in the comments section below!