Last week’s hot spell helped kick-off the Hex hatch, but this week’s cool-down has shifted it into idle. The Upper Manistee and the Boardman rivers had respectable hatches lasting about five days, but with the cool down came fewer bugs – Hex and others. Our forecast is favorable looking forward, so look for the hatch to start up again and continue for sometime after we get the warmer weather back and some solar action.
While the hatches aren’t thick, we are still finding some bugs on the water. The cool evenings can bring spinner falls of Hex, which is almost magical; big fish that normally don’t come out in the daylight can’t help themselves when the meaty-Hex comes floating by. Make sure your flies are natural looking, your tippet a little lighter, and your presentation flawless. This can be some of the most spectacular dry fly fishing one can witness.
The Manistee has a smattering of bugs floating down the river right now – just not very significant numbers. Look for: Isonycias, Big Stones (both Golden and Black/Orange), Little Yellow Sallies, Epeorus/Quill Gordons, BWOs, Light Cahills and another yellow like mayfly I can’t seem to identify, but which is approximately a size 14/16.
The Boardman still has a few Brown Drakes, and the Gray Drakes should continue for a while. Caddis are popping as well as little yellow sally stones. Always have some BWO’s in your box – especially when it is cool and clouds are above the river.
Once the heat comes back to our local waters, look for terrestrial activity to build and be sure to keep things small. Tricos typically are here the first week of July but look for things them to be late, like most of the bugs have been this year.
The Lower Manistee below Tippy is fishing alright. Midges, fry patterns and caddis are your best bet right now. There are just a couple of Skamania Steelhead in the river right now, as they are every year at this time. Look for the smallmouth bass to get going once the weather warms up again and anglers shift from trout fishing to smallmouth for the rest of the summer.
The carp and smallmouth fishing on Grand Traverse Bay continues, but when it’s cool and cloudy, the fish simply aren’t easy to see, let alone to find. Scout and cover lots of water. This is when wind can make the difference since most of the carp are done with their spawning. Crayfish, hexes, Clousers and leeches/woolly buggers are working on both species.
Weed growth in the local lakes has begun and this can be a great time to target largemouth bass with top water flies. Don’t hesitate going sub-surface on the edges of the weeds and drops-offs for some pike.
Be safe this 4th of July weekend and be thankful for our opportunities to fish – we are truly lucky.
Ted Kraimer is a professional guide and fly tier, owner of Current Works Guide Service, and field editor for True|North|Trout. His fishing reports will continue to appear in T|N|T and on his website.