Trout fishing on the local rivers has been good for those looking to fish the hatches. After last week’s cool weather the bugs have been emerging and spinners returning to water throughout the afternoon with heavier numbers in the evening. With nice weather that’s forecast, look for the bugs to get back on schedule and make it an evening game. Both the Upper Manistee and the Boardman River have experienced Sulphurs, Mahoganies, medium brown Stones, Black Quills/Borchers, March Browns and some caddis tan/brown caddis – #14. The riffle sections of the rivers have seen largest numbers of adults coming back to lay their eggs so look for the fish to sip the small spinners in the slick water just downstream. It’s a great time to have a lot of rusty spinner patterns in your box to imitate all of the spinners hitting the water.
The Lower Manistee below Tippy Dam continues to fish well with sub-surface patterns. Being a tail-water, the nymph bite is best, but keep an eye out for risers. The larger fish aren’t coming up so much, but staying down eating unsuspecting fry and stocked trout; those fishing streamers should start off with baitfish patterns like T&A Bunkers, Fin Clips, Deceivers, C&F Minnows and Cheech-Leeches to imitate the bigger fish where smaller fry patterns swung, dead-drifted and/or stripped are picking off both small and larger fish. Obviously mix it up to find out if they are being picky.
The bluegill/panfish and bass fishing on ponds continues to get better now that bright sun is warming up the water after the cool nights. Look for the gills to be on beds in the warmer lakes and don’t hesitate to fish with small nymphs if they aren’t coming to your spiders and poppers; I like brassies, damsel nymphs and bead head pheasant tails. Bass are moving closer, too, to doing their spawning thing so fish with some streamers and smaller top-water poppers and don’t be surprised if a pike enters the picture. Carp are starting to build again in the bays and since it is pre-spawn, they will eat the well presented fly in the afternoons after the sun warms up certain flats. Look for all “warm-water” fishing to improve over the next month for some of the best angling.
If out on the waters and in the woods, don’t play with matches – things are too dry and we can’t afford to have another forest fire start.
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.