Trout fishing has pretty much moved passed the Hex hatch, although there is still a sporadic showing of bugs on certain rivers on certain days in certain sections. It’s proved difficult to predict when and where, but it’s always good to see those huge mayflies flying around. In all, it was a strange hatch this year thanks to the weather. On those days when good bugs were out, we had good fishing, but now it’s on to summer trout fishing.
On the Upper Manistee the Isonycia hatch has been good in the evenings. With the clouds, BWOs have been giving the fish a steady diet. Other bugs you can expect to see include: Light Cahills, Yellow Sallies, Golden Stones, and small black caddis. Tricos are just staring for those of you on the water before noon and look for the numbers to increase as warmer weather settles in for a period of time in the region.
The Boardman – Still some hex, but look for tricos to be the primary staple for fish feeding on the surface right now throughout the mornings with caddis in the afternoons and Lt. Cahills and Grey Drakes just before dark.
Both the Upper Manistee and Boardman are just coming into their “terrestrial “ season – that is, where grasshoppers are getting blown into the river and the fish grabbing them. Beatles, ants and rubber-legged foam creations can bring up some of the larger fish of the year. Experiment with size and action – some days they like dead-drift, other days twitched. Catch a trophy fish without a headlamp on! Like headlamps? Stay out after dark and throw the mouse/surface pattern.
The Lower Manistee River below Tippy Dam is still providing some good trout fishing since water temps have remained cool for this time of year. There is a mix of both trout and smallmouth bass in the river and look for the bass to continue to build in numbers with more heat and warmer water temperatures. Natural baitfish patterns ranging from 2 to 4 inches have been the most consistent producers of trout and smallies for the streamer fisherman, where wet flies and bead-head nymphs have been catching trout in the seams. Tricos should get going soon.
Regardless of where you choose to fish, the crowds are non-existent at this time of year and you can pretty much have a section of river all to yourself.
There are still some smallmouth bass in the bay with the early angler on a flat piece of water catching the fish. A carp here or there are around, but for the most part the carp fishing is done. Those who enjoy largemouth bass fishing are finding the weed beds in most lakes at the perfect height – that is providing cover, but minimal surface rafts getting in the way. Sliders, deer hair bugs and poppers are not only effective, but a fun way to catch fish – make sure your tippets are strong enough to pull a fish through the weeds.
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.