With some rain showers and cool evenings, our local rivers are in better shape than normal for the middle of August making for some good fishing. Streamer fishing for trout has been productive lately thanks to the rain. Best success has been from using small to mid-size patterns.
The Upper Manistee is looking and fishing good. Water conditions are ideal and the Trico hatches are continuing to bring fish to the surface. Majority of the fish are smaller and fun, but look closely for the snout of bigger fish sipping; being small flies, the fish don’t crash them like a large mayfly. In addition to the Tricos, a few Isonycias, Lt. Cahills, Little Yellow Sallies and BWO are hatching mostly in the late afternoon and evenings – just not significant numbers despite fish coming up to eat them on a good presentation. Terrestrials including hoppers, beetles, and ants are catching their share of fish as well as attractors like Chernobyl Ants and Fuzzy Wuzzys. Smaller hoppers have been working better lately, but it varies from day to day – mix it up.
The Boardman River, too, is looking good and has Trico hitting the water in the mornings – anytime from daybreak to noon – depending on how soon the air warms up. Daytime fishing includes hoppers and beetles and evenings with tan caddis.
The Lower Manistee is fishing well for trout due to the cooler temps. Small black and dun/gray caddis in the evenings and BWO’s fished in the film/slick can be challenging, but also rewarding. Nymphing with two flies has proven well with larger Beadhead patterns like Copper Johns and smaller BWO with midge tied below them. Streamers are catching some fish including smallmouth, but numbers continue to be low due to the cooler water temps. The USFW treated the lower river for lampreys this week, but this should be of no consequence to either you or the fish – in fact, without it our steelhead and salmon fishery would be hit harder by the parasites.
The Betsie and Lower Manistee Rivers have received a small push of salmon thanks to the rain last week. With the cooler water temps near shore in Lake Michigan, look for additional fish to migrate with each shot of rain we get. The fish this time of year are even stronger, so hold on tight and when they take you into wood and break you off, just retie and try again.
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.