Normal is a relative thing, but after some really warm conditions the past week’s weather has put our hatches and the fish’s behavior back in line to a normal progression.
The Upper Manistee and Boardman Rivers received some much needed rain and the rivers have cooled down and levels are good. Streamer fishing conditions have improved for those looking to hit the bigger fish when the bugs aren’t out. Olive, white and yellow streamers have been working well, but mix it up to find the fish’s daily preference.
Hatches have been sporadic, but on the right night, they have been good and varied. Look for Isonychias, Brown Drakes, Gray Drakes (Boardman), little Yellow Sally Stones, Medium Brown Stones, a few of the large salmon-fly stones, Bat Flies, Light Cahills, Tan Caddis and the last of the sulphurs to be coming off in the evening hours. It’s time to have your head lamps with you as the bugs will often go well into the dark. Stick around a little later as a few hex have been seen and they will build over the next week with the warmer and more stable weather in our forecast. This is the best time of the year to go after trout with dries.
The fishing on the Lower Manistee below Tippy is still good with trout eating a handful of flies from caddis, midges, scud and sow bug nymphs, BWOs and wet flies. Smaller baitfish/fry patterns have been working stripped and swung and the big stone fly has brought up some nice fish too. Streamer fishing has improved on this section with the increase in water flow and cloudy days.
Carp fishing has been a little tough in the past week with the change in weather and water temps. Wind direction is key and the warmer water is imperative to finding fish that want to eat. Look for the fishing for both Smallmouth Bass and carp to improve on the Grand Traverse Bays when we get some warmer weather once again. Crayfish patterns have been best lately, specifically Hadda’s Creek Crawler pattern since the fish are a little deeper and this pattern sinks quickly. Leeches and hex nymphs deserve a place in your box too with all of the nymph activity.
The Bluegills/Panfish on local lakes continue to provide fun for the fly angler. Top-water flies like min-poppers and spiders have been bringing fish up and smaller streamers like bead head buggers and minnow patterns are doing their damage sub-surface.Largemouth Bass have been getting a little more aggressive on top-water flies now that many of them have completed their spawning activities and if there are pike in the lakes you fish, don’t be surprised if they take the sliders, divers and poppers. Fish them quietly rather than big and loud until the weeds get heavy.