The recent hot weather has made for some good fishing, but the time and place is key right now to really cash-in. Trout anglers are finding that the bugs are consistent with this time of the year on the Upper Manistee and Boardman Rivers. Since it has been hot, the emergence and spinner falls have been relatively condensed to the last hour or two of daylight. You can expect to see sulphurs, Isonychias, the last of the Mahoganies & Light Hendricksons, March Browns, Little Yellow Stones, Medium Brown Stones and the Brown Drakes should start anytime now. Caddis have been popping off throughout the day – not a blanket hatch often with heavier bugs in the mornings and evenings, too.
Streamer fishing has been tough since the water is low and clear – some badly needed rain will do a lot to change this. Sadly the weather man isn’t predicting any – lets hope he is wrong but in the meantime, target the low-light times of the day and/or, really go deep into structure to get them to play. The Lower Manistee below Tippy Dam is fishing decent with caddis, wets and mid-sized streamers. There are lots of suckers and carp spawning right now so a nymph fisherman would be well served to nymph some small egg patterns behind them to pick off the trout eating all of the eggs coming down the pipeline.
The Carp on both West and Grand Traverse Bay are in pre-spawn rapidly approaching spawning time. It’s a great time to get on the warmer flats and sight fish to some real bruisers. Mixed with them and in other places are some great Smallmouth Bass. The typical flies have been working: crayfish, leeches, weighted hex nymphs (click here for tying instructions) and small goby patterns. Lots of water has warmed up so most of your favorite places should have fish looking to eat a well presented fly.
The Bluegill/Panfish are in the shallows of most local lakes and are defending their beds. Top-water flies have been working well: poppers, spiders and tarantulas – great action and is a lot of fun for beginners learning to fly fish or for the seasoned angler who can’t make it to the river. Hang a small beaded nymph underneath a dry if you aren’t getting the attention you are looking for. If that doesn’t work try real small streamers with a bead, stripped slowly. Bass, too are on some beds and others are still in pre-spawn – good fun.
As you can read, there is so much to choose to fish for right now – call for a trip if you are looking to get on the water for any of the above species or what’s going to hatch soon (think: Hex). Safe travels to all of you heading Up-North for the Memorial Day weekend.
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.