We need them. … Rain. Everything is dry around Northern Michigan and our rivers and steelhead run reflect it. Anglers will find the local waters to be clear and low and under bright skies.
Steelhead are in the local rivers, but not in the numbers associated with the first of April. Fish are slipping up the Manistee and Betsie thanks to the recent full-moon, but a good rain will really kick things off again. Anglers looking to make lots of good casts are hooking up and are rewarded for their perseverance. The fish we have been getting are a mixed bag: some new ones that are chrome and hot, to spawning fish to drop backs.
I don’t have a “hot” must have pattern right now, but the usual suspects are producing fish as the flies are switched-up throughout the day. Lots of small black stones have been popping off in the afternoon so be sure to have those in your fly box for sure. I am always running a tandem rig: one egg and one nymph. Water levels are stable in the low 40’s and I expect that to increase with the forecast. With these temps, anglers are finding more than steelhead as the walleye and suckers have started to come in, but not in big numbers – I suspect they too are waiting for that rain we need.
Trout fishing on the upper-Manistee has been decent for those with a sink-tip and streamers. Fish are throughout the water from skinny tail-outs to the deep, lumber infested holes. Good motion in the fly and diligence not to pull the fly away from the fish are key as there are lots of chasers and the retrieve needs to be a little slower than when fishing in May.
With April 1st , waters like the upper Platte are open to anglers – check your regulations for more information. It’s also time to buy your new 2010 fishing license.
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.