The up and down, inconsistent weather has our Hex hatch continuing a little longer than anyone would have guessed at the beginning of the season. Numerous days of cool (sometimes cold) weather put the pugs on hold while little warm-ups triggered small emergences. The heat and sun forecast for this week should get those patient nymphs out of their beds and into the air and bring an end to the hatch. Water levels and temps are good for this time of year.
The Upper Manistee River has had sporadic hex bugs and the Isonycias have been pretty solid with the fish responding well. Other bugs include: Little Yellow Sally Stones, BWOs, Light Cahills, and some big stones. Look for Tricos to start shortly in the early mornings and small terrestrial patterns turning some fish as the day goes on. Evenings are the best time to experience a hatch of the bugs detailed above. After dark, try a mouse/large surface fly that moves water and casts a silhouette.
The Lower Manistee below Tippy Dam is still fishing well for trout as the water temperatures have remained cooler than normal for this time of year. Caddis, wet flies, midge and streamers are all taking fish. The smallmouth bass in this section of river is building each day, and so look for them to be the primary target over the next six weeks.
The Boardman is still experiencing Hex duns and spinner falls and the Gray Drake spinners continue to build above riffles at dusk. Have some Little Yellow Sallies, Light Cahills, Tan Caddis (#16/18) and some terrestrials in your box.
Ode to Carp. Carp fishing in the bays is pretty much done as they have been providing action for the last six weeks. The weather has made it difficult to pattern the fish – (when and where), but with this warm-up keep your eye out as you drive along the bay – you might just find a pod to fish to. Smallmouth bass numbers are dwindling as they are moving back into some deeper water, but look for fish cruising the shallow water during mornings and evenings. With the recent full-moon, crayfish molt and become a soft-shell favorite of smallmouth.
Lake fishing is prime for small and largemouth fishing. With the weed growth, look for the largemouth bass to come on poppers, divers and sliders – a great way to spend a morning or evening. Look for the smallmouth to be on the edges of drop-offs looking to eat crayfish and baitfish patterns. Bring a hex dun pattern too if you are going to be out late – some good surface action can occur as lakes often experience a long, drawn out emergence lasting up to five weeks.
Charter Boats on Lake Michigan are reporting healthy and large salmon so far this spring and early summer. This fall’s run that begins in late August continuing into October should be a good one. If you don’t have your dates reserved for a guided trip, start your planning and be in touch to ensure a day or two in a boat on the water doing battle with fresh, strong salmon.
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.