Little Manistee River Weir
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trout and Salmon Counted Spring and Fall
Historical Data 1968-2015
|Year||Spring Steelhead||Chinook||Coho||Fall Steelhead||Fall Brown Trout|
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.