Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Northern Michigan Fly Fishing Report May 20th, 2009

Summer-Like Weather in May

Water temperatures on the local rivers and the bay are increasing thanks to a big bright sun and warmer nights. On the Upper-Manistee, water levels are good but we are in need of some rain to add some color to the water –it is simply a little too clear right now as the fish are hiding in their bunkers when its bright. When it is sunny (and the forecast calls for more of it) look to have your best success in the mornings and evenings. These times of day, both, have bug activity – mostly spinners in the morning and emergers, duns and spinners in the evening providing the air temperatures don’t bottom out. The Boardman River too is warming up nicely and with it comes more bugs and some fish looking to cash in. Streamers are always a good bet when you don’t have bug activity, but don’t forget about nymphs either. There are still a few steelhead in the Boardman from Sabin Dam to the mouth.


Hendrickson duns and spinners, Black Quills/Borchers, Mahoganies, Black Caddis (#14 and #18), a few Sulphurs, March Browns, Tiny Stones, #10 Stones and more. Yes, one must have a loaded fly box this time of year to be prepared for what the fish might have a taste for.

Fishing below Tippy Dam on the Manistee for trout continues to be a good bet for both beginners and experienced anglers alike. The trout are still keying in on steelhead and salmon fry /smolt patterns sub-surface and the caddis numbers continue to increase providing some dry fly action. Soft-hackles are deadly on this river presented either as a dropper or on a wet-fly swing. Like Nymphing? Get your indicator out and pick apart those seams.

Bluegill and bass fishing is great this time of year. Look for the gills to be on their beds in the smaller, shallower (warmer) lakes right now. Like trout, big bluegill are hard to find so please practice catch and release when you find some. Bass are still mostly eating medium sized streamers as they are preparing for the spawn.

Carp fishing is still in the early stages and water temperature is more crucial than ever. The afternoons on warm, sunny days are your best bet and look for water that is relatively calm. These fish are pre-spawn and typically found in smaller numbers but respond eagerly to well presented flies. Small crayfish, clousers, gobies and buggers are ideal – remember to use fluorocarbon since there is practically no algae in the water right now. The smallmouth are still out deep but look for them to get shallow by mid-June.

If you are heading up North this weekend for Memorial Day, please note that The Northern Angler has moved. Our new address is 803 W. Front Street. Call if you need directions 231-9323-4730

Good luck!

The Northern Angler

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