Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 23, 2014 Fall Fly Fishing Report-Steelhead and Trout

Late October Fly Fishing Report

Not much has changed in the past week in regards to fishing. The fall steelhead have been inconsistent and hard-earned as their numbers aren’t what they typically are for this time of year. The decent days keep us motivated and coming back as these fish test our determination but when they do play nice, it is awesome and is a testament to why we choose to fish for them.
The Manistee has dropped to closer to normal levels and the water has cleared up quite a bit with just a slight stain thanks to a week without rain. And, the sun came back out making it comfortable once the morning frost melts while increasing the water temperature which is just about 50 degrees.
There are very few salmon around right now and as a result the egg bite is starting to give way to a bug-bite – caddis, steelhead buggers, pheasant tails and even a swung fly.  With water temps as warm as they are, this can be a good time to get out and fish a big sink-tip and a big fly on a two-handed rod.
Trout fishing is reportedly good on the open waters of the Upper Manistee and AuSable rivers – look for the post-spawn behavior to be one that likes to pounce on a streamer.  If you come across spawning browns, please leave them alone to do their job of creating a sustainable fishery.
Good luck.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mid-October Fly Fishing Report October 16, 2014

Mid-October Fly Fishing Report

It’s the middle of October – fall colors are at peak but the salmon are past peak. The salmon are dwindling in numbers on local rivers like the Manistee and Betsie; it doesn’t appear that another push is coming. Sure, some may continue to trickle in but look for a lot of empty gravel and some carcasses wrapped around logs – it’s pretty much over. What they did leave behind are lots of eggs that are drifting downstream and the steelhead have been taking advantage of.
Steelhead numbers are also down so far this fall making it tougher than normal. But ever optimistic is the steelhead angler and with our recent downpour of rain this week (I may have burned out my bildge pump this month) more fish should start to migrate upstream. Water levels are up a bit and slightly stained on the Betsie and Manistee while the lower Manistee is stained pretty good with various tributaries contributing their silt and tannins.
Egg patterns in natural and pale colors have been working – golden, sockeye, apricot, grapefruit and Oregon Cheese have been working.  The nymph bite hasn’t been too strong but as the egg drop diminishes, look for that to change. More on egg patterns- click here.
Good luck,

Friday, October 3, 2014

TK;s October 2, 2014 Fly Fishing Report

October Fly Fishing Report

Another nice week of weather made for some good fishing, but marginal catching. Some days the steelhead and salmon played along nicely, other days they were simply not playing.
The Manistee has salmon in it and they are mostly on spawning gravel near Tippy Dam. There seems to have been a lull in the run as far as fresh fish moving up through the system but after an inch of rain today we are hopeful that some fish in the lake pointed themselves upstream along with some additional steelhead. Numbers of both species are less than normal for this time of year as water temps at the lake are still too warm to have fish concentrated and looking to move upstream. A lack of northerly winds on the lake the past two months – I believe – is largely behind the run being stalled. Some more seasonal weather is in the forecast which should help things get closer to normal.
The Betsie also has salmon in it and are mostly on gravel although being a smaller river it is easier to see some fish moving through the system and easier to target them. After the rain look for the water level to be up a little along with a little more of the “Betsie Stain” to add some color to it. I suspect the run on the Betsie will continue through much of October. Please keep in mind that the Betsie is a natural reproducing river and catch and release is important to a long-term and sustainable fishery.
With October comes the end of trout season on a number of rivers and sections there within.  The upper Manistee and lower Manistee remain open and the fall colors have been great on the upper.  With the rain today and the cooler weather, look for the streamer fishing to improve as fish are in their pre-spawn mood. Most of the Boardman is closed -check the DNR’s regulations on the other rivers for what remains open.
Good luck,

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trickle In Effect- TK's Sept. 19, 2014 Fly Fishing Report

Trickle-In Effect

The nice weather is continuing to hang-on leaving us a little behind in weather and our run of migratory salmon. With the lack of consistent (or at least a few days) of North or Northwest winds to really drive the water up along the shoreline with the fish, the salmon will continue to trickle into the area rivers. It is looking to be a long run on the rivers this year.
The Betsie – with it’s cooler water (low 50s) – has fish in it but there are more to come. With the calendar advanced and the cool water temps, some fish are starting to begin their spawning while some fish remain in holes.  For the bigger, brighter and fresher fish look for the deeper holes and pocket water to hold the aggressive fish – any consistent pattern this past week has been chartreuse with orange egg patterns and black stone flies but since they are salmon, sometimes you have to go through the fly box to find what might work on that particular day.
The Manistee also has some fish in it, but there are many more in the lake that need to point themselves upriver to improve the fishing. Looking at the forecast, I don’t necessarily see that happening but there are fish to be caught – just not as many as there should be for this time of year. A steelhead or two are within the river and like the salmon, these numbers will only increase with time.
Trout fishing reports have been mixed on the Upper Manistee. The higher water levels offered some good streamer fishing however it has slowed with the water dropping and getting closer to normal.  Look for this weekend’s rain to change that. The nice weather in next week’s forecast should get the terrestrials back to the river’s edge and hopefully on the water to get the fish looking up – the late summer/early fall can be a great time with terrestrials on those days when the bugs are active in the warmth. This time of year you pretty much have the trout fishing to yourself – enjoy it.
Good luck,

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It's Starting to Feel Like Fall Fishing-TK's Fall Salmon and Steelhead Report

After last week’s heavy rain, conditions have improved but salmon numbers are still off. The water came up significantly but has also come down since and clarity has improved making it almost ideal conditions especially with bright skies. Today’s wind out of the north should help push fish closer to river mouths and get fish sniffing around  looking for their native river and eventually head upstream. If anything it has been close to a month since we have had good north or north-west winds to get fish staged close which is why last week’s rain didn’t influence an abundant number of fish to migrate upstream. With today’s wind and rain it is starting to feel like fall and fall fishing.
There are some King/Chinook salmon in the Betsie and Manistee rivers but they have been hard to target as they have been on the move. Most years they stage very well but his year for some reason they haven’t been.  There hasn’t been a predominate fly pattern that has been working better than another so mix it up and hold on tight when you do hook-up as they are still fresh and strong.
The trout fishing has been off a little on the upper Manistee thanks to the high volume of water. This can be a great time for the streamer angler as water temps continue to dip and the days get shorter. When the water is stained and the angling pressure is light some of those ornery browns slip out of their cover and can eat big.
Good luck,

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Fly Fishing Report

Labor Day Weekend Fly Fishing Report

With Labor Day weekend here, we find ourselves with summer like conditions which might be fitting considering how long it took summer to get here.
The trout fishing on the upper-Manistee has improved especially when combined with overcast conditions.  Most days though when the sun is high and bright the fish are gone into the wood piles making for mornings and evenings the best time to be on the water. The Tricos are still around mid-morning but they are winding  down – like most mayflies this year their emergence was spotty. The smaller streamers have been working well when fished with a floating line and rapidly twitched. Terrestrials and rubber-legged attractors have been fun to fish with some days the fish really responding well to them – especially twitched.
Because of the nicer weather and lack of rain, the migration of salmon into the local rivers (Betsie, Manistee, Boardman) has been very limited. While we have had some rain – and more is expected – we haven’t had the winds to congregate fish near the river mouths that combined with the wind bring the fish in. Each year is different with the run so you have to be flexible even though in the past this time of year has been great.  I suspect that with the lake temperatures being what they are and the fish scattered, fish will trickle in until conditions unify. Look for the salmon run/migration to be long lasting and prolonged this year.
Good luck,

Saturday, August 16, 2014

TK's Fly Fishing Report for Traverse City Area- Manistee River, Boardman River

Cool-Down and Warm-Up Coming

A bit of a cold front came through the region slowing the fishing a bit, but providing continued cool water temps and a bit of rain that the rivers and fish both liked. You will still find the rivers in good shape and fishable including the Manistee and Boardman.
Hatches have been pretty much limited to Tricos in mid-morning – with late morning being the case after a cold night. Attractor patterns and terrestrials (hoppers, Foam and Rubber) are bringing some fish up to the surface and more often than not they are looking for that bug to be chugging, twitching and skittering rather than dead-drifted.  Below the surface, look for medium sized streamers fished on either floating lines or small sink-tip lines to tease some fish into playing our game.
Bass and bluegill fishing on the lakes is still a good bet with water temperatures staying cool. Some days are better than others and I suspect the forecast over the next 10 days will provide some stable and warm conditions ideal for getting these fish back on the feed.  Surface and subsurface flies are working – it’s just a matter of which or what they want any particular day.
With the recent rains, cool down and northerly winds, a few salmon have staged at the river mouths and even a few have slipped into the local rivers. The warmer weather in store should put a hold on the migration until later but there is no doubt fall is right around the corner – what happened to summer?
Good luck,
 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.