According to the calendar, winter has passed and I think we all are looking forward to spring, the fishing it brings and warmer weather. While we will bounce back and forth between the cold and warm, the days are longer and the sun is warmer and the good fishing will continue to build.
Steelhead anglers are finding mixed results. The bottom line is that water levels have come up some more and the temps remain cold, but are warming. While there are fish in the local rivers, it’s the angler with a good presentation in the right spot that gets the hook-up. Water clarity is a few feet and the levels should remain relatively steady as the snow melt continues to add to levels and no significant rain is forecast.
Patterns that have been working include: eggs in bold colors/combinations, large stones, leeches small black stones and hexes. Hold-over and fish that have been in the system for a few weeks have been coming out of deeper water just off of the main seam and fresh fish have been coming out of the faster water as they are moving through the system from the lakes. The smaller rivers like the Betsie, Platte, and Boardman will warm up faster on the sunny days and afternoon fishing could provide the best conditions.
Trout fishing has varied recently depending on the day. The bright conditions help make it comfortable for us – the anglers – but the steady barometer and high pressure seemed to have shut down the bite on trout. Look for those days where there is some sun mixed clouds to be best. The Upper Manistee and Au Sable’s Holy Waters and South Branch are open. Fish streamers with a slow retrieve and focus on tail-outs and structure. Try doing some Nymphing in the deeper pools with a bead-head if the streamer didn’t produce. Black stones are becoming more common on the warmer days and have faith that more bug activity will happen as the weeks pass and we get deeper into spring. Warmer water will only help things too.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!