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Little Manistee River Weir

Little Manistee River weir from down stream

Little Manistee River weir - official brochure

The Little Manistee River weir is an egg-take and salmon harvest facility which is operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division. The weir is used to block fish on the Little Manistee River in the spring and fall of the year. Steelhead eggs are taken in the spring and chinook salmon eggs are taken in the fall at the Little Manistee River weir. The eggs taken at the weir are sent to state fish hatcheries where they are reared and stocked all over Michigan. Eggs are also supplied to several other states.

Driving Directions to the Weir

Historical Data 1968-2013, Trout and Salmon Counted Spring and Fall

Photo of staff harvesting eggs from fish

Spring Steelhead
The weir is normally put in place sometime during the first two weeks of March, depending on weather. The weir remains in place until the quota of steelhead eggs is reached. This usually occurs by the middle of April, but may run later depending on weather. While the weir is in place, all fish passage is blocked. During egg-take operations, unripe "green" steelhead are usually counted and passed upstream, to sustain the "wild" Little Manistee River steelhead run. Once the quota of eggs is reached, the weir grates are removed, allowing steelhead to jump the dam and proceed upstream. The dam boards are left in place as a sea lamprey barrier until mid-July.

Fall Salmon
The weir is usually put in place on, or about August 15th, and removed on, or about November 15th. While the weir is in place, all fish passage is blocked. Chinook salmon eggs are taken usually during the first two weeks of October. All salmon ( coho, chinook, and rarely pink) that show up at the weir are harvested by the DNR in cooperation with a private contractor. All steelhead and brown trout that show up at the weir during the fall are counted and passed upstream.

Photo of eggs in buckets being fertilized

Little Manistee River/Manistee Lake Fishing Regulations
The Little Manistee River, from Johnson's Bridge downstream to Manistee Lake is a Type 4 Stream, which allows all tackle types, and allows anglers to harvest five trout and salmon, with no more than three fish that are 15 inches or larger in size. Minimum size limits are 10" for rainbow trout (steelhead), brown trout, coho salmon, and chinook salmon, and 8" for brook trout. From 300 feet below the weir down to Manistee Lake, the river is closed to fishing from September 1-November 14, and January 1-March 31. The January 1-March 31 spawning closure also applies to the Flies-Only stretch (Type 5), which runs from Spencer's Bridge to Johnson's Bridge. See the DNR's Inland Trout and Salmon Guide for stream maps and further details. Another pertinent spawning closure is that the southeastern end of Manistee Lake is closed to fishing from September 6-October 15 or when the quota of chinook salmon eggs has been taken. See the DNR's annual Fishing Guide for more details.

Photo of fish in weir race way

Little Manistee Weir Facts

No steelhead are stocked by DNR in the Little Manistee River. The run consists mostly of naturally reproduced fish and strays from other rivers.

The Little Manistee River weir is the only steelhead egg-take facility in the state of Michigan, producing the Michigan Winter-Run strain of steelhead.

Steelhead yearlings from the Little Manistee River strain are also stocked in Lake Erie tributaries by the State of Ohio, and also in southern Lake Michigan tributaries by the State of Indiana.

The DNR information hotline for the Little Manistee weir is 231-775-9727, extension 6072. The hotline is updated daily during times of heavy activity at the weir.

Other salmon weirs in Michigan
Other salmon harvest weirs in Michigan are located on Medusa Creek near Charlevoix, on the Boardman River in Traverse City, on the Platte River near Honor (upper and lower weirs), and on Swan Creek near Rogers City. Coho salmon eggs are taken at the upper Platte River weir, and chinook salmon eggs are taken at the Swan Creek weir.

Little Manistee River Weir
Trout and Salmon Counted Spring and Fall
Historical Data 1968-2013

Year Spring Steelhead Chinook Coho Fall Steelhead Fall Brown Trout
1968 1,640 11,230 60,248 1,322 28
1969 996 26,288 25,186 3,043 36
1970 1,405 34,190 108,400 7,411 123
1971 5,031 21,213 59,123 7,622 69
1972 7,403 24,994 2,314 3,561 5
1973 6,588 16,476 11,872 1,926 48
1974 3,684 24,156 6,129 3,488 161
1975 7,183 29,228 15,863 6,121 238
1976 1,874 16,159 24,505 578 106
1977 10,480 11,136 25,255 2,031 98
1978 7,240 20,230 23,696 320 51
1979 3,540 22,925 27,925 640 100
1980 4,505 15,761 50,004 1,111 28
1981 6,307 11,811 14,656 849 101
1982 4,100 14,358 18,458 347 62
1983 5,091 39,359 26,968 3,100 43
1984 7,950 32,632 33,982 1,909 141
1985 6,517 34,006 15,256 6,356 177
1986 7,036 22,131 16,724 4,720 99
1987 6,315 31,841 15,101 1,450 48
1988 8,432 12,519 4,467 1,050 27
1989 5,102 18,338 14,023 1,130 29
1990 4,411 19,499 10,030 1,521 55
1991 6,109 21,067 12,300 3,666 113
1992 4,597 15,866 13,441 3,054 104
1993 6,156 12,911 18,096 1,702 118
1994 4,411 11,886 562 2,849 126
1995 3,553 13,004 394 351 31
1996 9,057 17,090 2,572 5,249 174
1997 7,096 15,433 781 915 123
1998 4,005 7,170 1,463 888 28
1999 4,484 18,621 519 662 39
2000 4,239 13,029 600 319 74
2001 7,029 18,279 911 2,262 59
2002 6,290 19,385 538 120 38
2003 3,209 14,419 616 1,404 43
2004 2,571 15,618 1,102 1,074 60
2005 3,483 11,075 2,100 665 53
2006 2,949 12,772 238 417 56
2007 2,880 10,946 303 738 50
2008 3,441 5,169 172 406 58
2009 4,191 8,274 126 343 86
2010 1,961 5,776 203 91 32
2011 3,196 14,124 1,815 901 40
2012 4,818 12,327 1,333 283 103
2013 3,667 6,427 1,021 988 80
TOTAL 226,219 811,148 671,391 90,953 3,561
Average 4,918 17,634 14,595 1,977 77



Driving Directions to the Weir

From north of Manistee:
Travel South on US-31 to M-55 intersection, turn east onto M-55 and follow to Stronach Road (about 3.5 miles to large sign), turn south onto Stronach Road and follow to the bend in the road (sign for Old Stronach Road and Weir), turn east onto Old Stronach Road and follow down the hill and over the Little Manistee River (new timber bridge) and past several houses to the "T" turn east (east is Old Stronach, west is Carty Rd) and follow past where the road changes from asphalt to gravel, go about 1.5 miles to the drive on the left across from the federal campground, follow this down the hill to the parking lot in front of the facility.

From south of Manistee:
Travel north on US-31 to Stronach Road (BP gas station on the south end of town), turn east on Stronach Road and follow to the base of the hill (across from PCA plant), turn south and follow around the south end of Manistee Lake (this is still Stronach Road), at the playground turn east onto Old Stronach Road and follow up the hill to the bend in the road turn east onto Old Stronach Road and follow down the hill and over the Little Manistee River (new timber bridge) and past several houses to the "T" turn east (east is Old Stronach, west is Carty Rd) and follow past where the road changes from asphalt to gravel, go about 1.5 miles to the drive on the left across from the federal campground, follow this down the hill to the parking lot in front of the facility.

From east of Manistee:
Travel west on M-55 to Stronach Road (large sign), turn south onto Stronach Road and follow to the bend in the road (sign for Old Stronach Road and Weir), turn east onto Old Stronach Road and follow down the hill and over the Little Manistee River (new timber bridge) and past several houses to the "T" turn east (east is Old Stronach, west is Carty Rd) and follow past where the road changes from asphalt to gravel, go about 1.5 miles to the drive on the left across from the federal campground, follow this down the hill to the parking lot in front of the facility.