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River Report: Upper Manistee River

2009 May 25
by Jordan Lindberg

1The weather is finally improving and even holding a bit steady and I spent yesterday on the Manistee with Bryon, John, and Brooke. We started a bit late in the upper part of Manistee, still in canoe country, but got tired of dodging the aluminum hatch on a holiday weekend. We  switched up to the Deward area after 4 P.M. to end out the day on the somewhat more remote waters up around Wolverine. The evening hatch was the predictable sideshow of overlapping hatches — compressed through a nasty winter and late spring — but it included a few sulphers and also a a smattering of mahoganies. The trout rose recklessly, and we got a few of them to hand.

It is hard not to love a spitting sulphur hatch in the fading light of a Michigan early summer, fishing through the silence of the upper Manistee, a contrail etching the sky. They are actually beautiful bugs, and bring eager strikes from the soup line of hungry trout. We’re mostly past the Hendricksons of middle spring, but a few here and there are still making an appearance, and the trout were taking those, too. Bryon caught “a smelt platter” (his words) of little trout on a swung soft hackle. We finished the night over Spikeburgers in Grayling. What a treat.

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