Finally – March and March-Like weather.
The sun has been shining lots this week in Northern Michigan and the temps are on the increase. This should make for not only better fishing conditions, but catching too. Look for afternoon sun to bump water temps up just a bit and get fish more apt to move and eat your fly. This increase in H2O temps will also trigger the early black stone flies. As such, fish small black stones, as well as large hex patterns, rag eggs in various shades of “clown” and don’t hesitate to swing or drift a good size bugger/leech.
Water levels are good and depending on whether we get the rain that has been forecasted (we all know how accurate that can be) levels should remain stable. A little color is entering the rivers as some mud is flowing in with the thaw, but some color is good. Often at this time of year the water temps can actually remain cold if it is above freezing and there is no sunshine as snow and ice melts and enters the river at 33 degrees. Adjust your presentation and the water you fish as the weather and success dictates.
Trout anglers should look to fish the Big Manistee with nymphs near the Tippy Dam or the Manistee above the CCC Bridge. On the smaller water, try fishing medium sized streamers on the slow – almost like a dead-drift swing with some small bumps and strips to provide action. On the sunny days, look for fish to be sunning themselves on the sandy, shallow tail-outs; these fish are still smart despite months of little angling pressure – make your first presentation count!
Good luck and even better fishing.