Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tricos and Terrestrials for Trout-TK's Fly Fishing Report

Tricos and Terrestrials for Trout

Our cooler summer is keeping  water temperatures nice and cool and the fish sassy.  Ranging from the upper 50s to low 60s and with a good flow, the upper Manistee and Boardman look a little different for this time of year.
Mid-morning hatches of Tricos have been taking place but vary a little based on how long it takes for the air to warm up; some mornings it takes a little longer for those small bugs to hit the water and the fish to look up.  There aren’t many other bugs on the water right now except for a light hodge-podge of mayflies – including Cahills, BWOs and Isonychias.  
With fewer bugs on the water and hatch to match, now is a good time to transition into the terrestrial fishing – that is hoppers, ants, beetles, cicadas and most patterns tied with foam and rubber legs.  As the summer extends these land-loving bugs find themselves on the water and vulnerable to trout. Fish them dead-drift with the occasional twitch and if that doesn’t work, put a lot of twitch and motion in them (not necessarily drag) for some reaction. 
Small streamers, too, are working when the surface activity isn’t taking place. Work the structure with weighted patterns on a floating line and see if you can’t tease some fish out of their bunkers.
The lake fishing remains good for largemouth bass and bluegill fishing. The bigger poppers and sliders have been fooling the larger bass where the small spiders, swimming nymphs and streamers are working for the bluegill/panfish. Weed growth and lily pads have been a great place to start as is structure near breaks in water depth. 
Smallmouth fishing in the lower Manistee remains an option for those looking to fish streamers for these fun fish. While they aren’t as big as the fish in the Bay, these bass keep it visual and are often eager to please.  This is not the ideal species for the beginner but for the angler who has the basic skills and looking for a fun way to further develop your skills.
Good luck.
Ted
 Tricos and Terrestrials for Trout – July and August  fly fishing for trout on the Upper Manistee River
Salmon- Fresh fish can enter rivers as early as mid-August and offer great fishing through September.
Fall Steelhead- From the end of September through November – this is the time of year for Steelhead.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

TK's Northern Michigan Fly Fishing Report for July 19, 2014

Traverse City Fly Fishing Report : Hex to Terrestrials

The trout fishing continues to improve on the upper Manistee as it seems more bugs are around than they were when they were supposed to. Or at least there are a few more fish looking up to eat.  Water temps are ideal as are the levels and the clarity is maybe a little too good right now making the lower light of morning and evening your best opportunity.
Some Hex bugs are still around in sections but are most likely unpredictable – have some with you if you are fishing into the evening and consider staying past dark. It seems the bugs are showing up just a little before dark rather than the typical after.
Other bugs to have include great Olives, Isonychias, Brown Drakes (yes – still one or two around) Cahills, little yellow sallies and golden stones. If fishing in the morning – tricos have been starting to congregate offering some fun fishing for some of the smaller fish.
Terrestrial fishing (foam and rubber leg) patterns have been starting to get some attention from the fish as summer progresses. Small streamers fished on light sink-tips or floating lines are a good way to tease out some fish this time of year. More on Terrestrial Fishing >>Click Here<<.
A few smallies are still around on the flats but they are hard to find because of the ever changing water temps. The same is kind of true with the carp – they have mostly returned to the deep. It was a decent year for these “golden bones” despite the water changing temps constantly.
Bass and bluegill fishing continues to be good on local lakes. Poppers and sliders are working well on the bass and the small terrestrials with rubber legs are doing a number on the gills/panfish. This is a fun way to spend a summer day – as either an experienced angler tricking bass out of the lily pads or a beginner learning the basics of fly fishing on the bluegill/panfish.
Smallmouth bass in the lower Manistee continues to be an option for the streamer angler or those that just like river smallmouth fishing.  This should only improve as the summer continues.
Good luck,
Ted
Terrestrials, Tricos and Trout – July and August  fly fishing for trout on the Upper Manistee River
Salmon- Fresh fish can enter rivers as early as mid-August and offer great fishing through September.
Fall Steelhead- From the end of September through November – this is the time of year for Steelhead. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11 Traverse City Area Fly Fishing Report

Bugs, Fish and Sometimes Both

Trout fishing continues to keep us busy chasing the unpredictable hex fly on the upper Manistee and other local rivers, but it has been fickle with swings in the air temps and other weather fluctuations. Some nights we find bugs and some of those nights the fish are looking to eat. Even the mosquitoes have been taking some nights off. Fishing remains tougher than it should be – at least in my experience but things are looking like they are improving a bit.
We have been experiencing a few more fish looking up lately and feeding on the minimal bug activity that has been occurring and some of the fish that have been missing from their typical places – it seems – are showing up and playing along. Other bugs to have in your fly box include little yellow sally stones, Isonychias, Summer Olives, Cahills, and some flying ants. Look for the transition from evening fishing to daytime terrestrial and early morning Trico fishing as we progress further into July but be prepared for hatches that shouldn’t happen as things try to catch up from a long winter, short spring and inconsistent conditions the past couple of months.
Fishing on the bay has slowed down as the carp it appears are mostly done with their spawning and have run deep again. With the long winter I expect there to be some opportunity to fish for them if you are looking to cover water. Look for them where the warm water is getting blown into shallow flats. Sun and wind direction are key as the Bay is still so cold and any turnover can shut a good flat down with one day of wind. Smallmouth bass in the bay are like the carp – offering some shots one day, and gone the next.  Crayfish are your best bet right now for both species and some minnow patterns like Clousers are ideal for the bass. Darker versions of the Clouser (orange and rootbeer) is a good one for carp.
Lake fishing for bluegill and bass continues to be good and a lot of fun. With more lily pads around the bigger bass are taking up residence nearby and eating your bigger patters or the bluegill that is on the end of your line. Frogs and poppers have been working well on the bass with smaller terrestrial patterns working on the bluegill. Flies like the Turks Tarantula have been catching some larger gills when stripped under the water and fished like a slider.
Smallmouth bass fishing in the lower Manistee river is just starting as water temps warm up and more fish migrate and populate the river from the lower sections. Streamer fishing baitfish patterns and fishing crayfish on floating lines are a great way to cover water with the crayfish fishing  being best near rocks. Some popper and slider action has been working on the surface but I suspect that will only improve as summer continues.
Good luck,
Ted
Terrestrials, Tricos and Trout – July and August  fly fishing for trout on the Upper Manistee River
Salmon- Fresh fish can enter rivers as early as mid-August and offer great fishing through September.
Fall Steelhead- From the end of September through November – this is the time of year for Steelhead.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

TK's Fly Fishing Report for Traverse City, MI July 2, 2014

The Hex Hatch

The Hex Hatch has begun on the upper-Manistee river but they have been spotty and with the ups and downs in the weather they have been inconsistent as well.  Seems to be par for the course this year.  The future/forecast is bright as we are looking to have consistent weather again which should make for some consistent fishing. Fishing has been off most days prior to the big bug emergence – mostly because of the lack of other bugs not hatching. One can expect to see bat flies, little mahoganies, isonychias, light cahills, golden stones and a brown drake or two as we wait for the nocturnal hex to appear. Like the Manistee, the Boardman and other local rivers have seen some hex in various locations. Click here for a hex pattern and how to tie.
Not into fishing into the dark? Try fishing a hex pattern – either a natural looking dun or spinner in the a.m. or on cloudy days for a  pleasant surprise. These hex flies are like floating cheeseburgers often giving fish that are ordinarily shy just enough incentive to eat on the surface during the day.
The river is running “full” of water thanks to the periodic rains we have been receiving.Streamer fishing is also a good alternative when nothing is happening on top; look for the low-light of cloudy days or early morning to offer your best chance. Being a holiday week/weekend you might witness a little more recreation on it from other anglers as well as canoes, tubes and kayaks so factor that into your plans. Oddly, sometimes the extra traffic gets fish out of their comfort zones and hiding spots and out into a place where you can present a fly to them.
The Bay is fishing o.k. for smallmouth and carp.  The past week the carp moved into the shallows and were on the spawn big time and offering some really good fishing. It seems that a lot of the spawning is over but you will still find fish in the shallow water if you look in enough places however getting them to eat has been tough. Persistence and good presentations are required to find the players. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another wave of spawning to take place as the long winter and cool spring really has things off in a lot of respects. Same with the smallmouth bass – a lot of fish have already come and gone, but look for a second wave of fish as well as the post-spawn fish looking to eat after their annual ritual.
Lakes and ponds continue to have some really good bluegill fishing going on right now. The bigger fish have slipped into the depths again now that their spawning is over, but you can find them moving back into the shallows to eat on cloudy days and evenings. The smaller fish are still around to make fishing fun for those learning how to fly fish. The largemouth bass mostly are done protecting their nests and are eating bigger flies both on and below the surface. Target the structure – drop-offs, weeds, docks and wood for your best results as the long bright days have them seeking structure until low-light periods.
Good luck,
Ted
Terrestrials, Tricos and Trout – July and August  fly fishing for trout on the Upper Manistee River
Salmon- Fresh fish can enter rivers as early as mid-August and offer great fishing through September.
Fall Steelhead- From the end of September through November – this is the time of year for Steelhead.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fly Fishing Report June 18, 2014 Traverse City-Hex Time!

Mid-June Traverse City Fly Fishing Report

Fishing is still sputtering a little and not quite in full-swing and going as it should for this time of year but each day is different creating inconsistency – which really is real-world fishing.
Trout on the upper Manistee and Boardman have been shy or perhaps coy. One day they will be out and playing nicely with others (us) and the next day it seems they have taken their ball and gone home. When bugs are out on the water decent opportunities present themselves but the fish seem to be demanding on presentation – it better not drag, it better be a good imitation and you better set the hook just right.  Oh yeah, and do it on the first cast.
The last hour of light seems to be the “golden” hour when/if the bugs are on the water. Look for the last of the sulphurs, gray drakes, a few isonychias, mahoganies, march browns, brown drakes and little yellow stones to be on the water. “Rusty Spinners” or Borchers in #12-16 are great at imitating many of the spinners that are on the water this time of year.  Bat flies belong in your box as they should begin soon. Lots of people are inquiring whether the hex have begun but because of the long winter, they are at least a good week to 10 days off in my opinion.  Learn more about the emerging mayflies  this time of year – “Trout Fishing before the Hex Hatch“.
Cloudy days offer better opportunities with the streamer as the fish tend to be away from the cut banks and log jams. Lots of chestnut lampreys are in the river and often on some fish right now which makes it a good place to start when fishing a big fly – brown trout hate these things. Click here for Lamprey Leech fly pattern. Other streamer colors to use include olive and yellow.
The lake fishing for bluegill/panfish and largemouth bass has been really good as the fish are in shallow and near the drops and relatively full of themselves and fiesty. Fishing lakes and ponds can be a blast with both dry flies or little streamers. As more weeds grow look for the bass-attack to become even better.
Fishing on Grand Traverse Bay continues to be off a bit thanks to the cold winter, shifty winds and the nature of carp themselves. They are getting closer to spawning, but finding them consistently has been difficult.  Cover water and keep your fingers crossed. Presentation is key and even then they sometimes don’t want anything to do with our flies. Thus the love-hate relationship we have with them as well as the sense of accomplishment when it all comes together. They really offer some of our most demanding angling skills and perseverance.  The smallmouth are moving into the shallows with some coming into spawn but most just cruising looking for food. Like the carp, cover water to find fish.
Good luck.
Ted

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid-June Traverse City Fly Fishing Report

Fishing is still sputtering a little and not quite in full-swing and going as it should for this time of year but each day is different creating inconsistency – which really is real-world fishing.
Trout on the upper Manistee and Boardman have been shy or perhaps coy. One day they will be out and playing nicely with others (us) and the next day it seems they have taken their ball and gone home. When bugs are out on the water decent opportunities present themselves but the fish seem to be demanding on presentation – it better not drag, it better be a good imitation and you better set the hook just right.  Oh yeah, and do it on the first cast.
The last hour of light seems to be the “golden” hour when/if the bugs are on the water. Look for the last of the sulphurs, gray drakes, a few isonychias, mahoganies, march browns, brown drakes and little yellow stones to be on the water. “Rusty Spinners” or Borchers in #12-16 are great at imitating many of the spinners that are on the water this time of year.  Bat flies belong in your box as they should begin soon. Lots of people are inquiring whether the hex have begun but because of the long winter, they are at least a good week to 10 days off in my opinion.  Learn more about the emerging mayflies  this time of year – “Trout Fishing before the Hex Hatch“.
Cloudy days offer better opportunities with the streamer as the fish tend to be away from the cut banks and log jams. Lots of chestnut lampreys are in the river and often on some fish right now which makes it a good place to start when fishing a big fly – brown trout hate these things. Click here for Lamprey Leech fly pattern. Other streamer colors to use include olive and yellow.
The lake fishing for bluegill/panfish and largemouth bass has been really good as the fish are in shallow and near the drops and relatively full of themselves and fiesty. Fishing lakes and ponds can be a blast with both dry flies or little streamers. As more weeds grow look for the bass-attack to become even better.
Fishing on Grand Traverse Bay continues to be off a bit thanks to the cold winter, shifty winds and the nature of carp themselves. They are getting closer to spawning, but finding them consistently has been difficult.  Cover water and keep your fingers crossed. Presentation is key and even then they sometimes don’t want anything to do with our flies. Thus the love-hate relationship we have with them as well as the sense of accomplishment when it all comes together. They really offer some of our most demanding angling skills and perseverance.  The smallmouth are moving into the shallows with some coming into spawn but most just cruising looking for food. Like the carp, cover water to find fish.
Good luck.
Ted

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 10, 2014 Fly Fishing Report

Fly Fishing Traverse City for Trout, Carp, Bass & Bluegill

Trout fishing has been improving now that water temps are where they should be for this time of year and the various mayflies, stoneflies and caddis flies seem to be closer to being on schedule after a slow start to the season.  The rivers are in good shape – they aren’t too high, or too low. Clarity is beginning to become an issue with the high sun and lots of it.
On the Upper-Manistee a handful of bugs can be found – typically in the last hour or two of light offering some technical but rewarding dry fly fishing: sulphurs, grey drakes, little yellow stones, caddis, great mahoganies, little mahoganies, medium brown stones and a few isonychias. This menagerie of bugs will keep you working through your fly box as each day – and even at times of day – they often have a distinct preference on which one they want to eat. Spinners have been collecting in the evening and falling to the water providing the most consistent flow of bugs – dark brown or rusty spinners in a variety of sizes from 12 – 16 are a must in your box right now and are a good place to start when tying on your first fly.
To learn more on the dry fishing over the next couple of weeks read “Trout Fishing Before the Hex Hatch.”
Pond and lake fishing for bluegill/panfish has been really good now that the fish have moved up into the shallows. Look for water near breaks and cover the structure – that is docks, fallen in trees, weed lines, etc.  Some pike and bass will play along too, so either target those bigger fish with larger rods and flies or hold on when they eat the bluegill you are trying to land. Surface flies have been the most fun and productive, but the small streamer and nymph have been most effective on the larger panfish.
Carp and smallmouth bass fishing is still sputtering in Grand Traverse Bay as water temps are much lower than normal for this time of year.  One day they are around and eating, the next day not to be found. Weather is crucial as the sun warms the water up and wind direction blows warm or cold water into the shallows – the fish like the warmer water.  Some crayfish are moving around and work better on cruising fish as they are easy to see by moving fish, however the smaller: crayfish, swimming hex nymphs, black b.h. buggers do better when the fish are nosing around in the shallows and focused on eating. Smallies are still cruising the flats but have largely remained pretty elusive so far this year for the wading angler.
Good luck,
Ted