Both the Muskegon and Big Manistee rivers can be fished from shore but on the weekends when the run is on, we call it combat fishing. If you have a boat, your chances are much better. Most guys use jet boats as there are numerous shallow areas. I have fished them for years with regular motors, but you need to be careful.
Rivers like the Little Manistee and the Pere Marquette can be accessed on foot along with a few less known rivers but much of the public areas are either difficult to access or are crowded.
Friends of mine that have been fishing are finding good numbers of fish and since we had this little warm up I know steel head are pushing up all the rivers that hold steel head.
I use my float boats because they are quiet, comfortable and stable. A jet is better on the Muskegon, but when I float it, I do as well as anyone. On the Pere Marquette, the float boat is king. You can see a picture of what I’m talking about in the group “Float Tubers”.
Two of the best rivers are in southern Michigan, the St. Joe and the Grand. They are big rivers but a boat is recommended. Lots of steel head, but the surrounding areas are not pristine. Both are urban.
March and April are the best two months, and they can still be cold especially March. If you decide to come, I would be happy to provide you with some access points once you decide if you will use a boat or fish on foot.
I caught this one right out my back door a couple of years ago.