Thursday, October 15, 2009

Northern Michigan Flyfishing Report 10-15-09

The recent cool weather and rain has our rivers fishing quite well. The high water from a week ago has dropped to almost normal levels, the water temps are slowly dropping to a typical range and the wind has helped put some leaves into the water. And yes, some snow has fallen too, but thankfully not enough to stick.

The Lower Manistee still has some color to it and the levels are almost normal for this time of the year. Salmon continue to bend the rod for those in pursuit with fresh fish still entering the river while others are doing their spawning thing. The steelhead fishing is good with some days better than others. When it’s windy and there are lots of leaves flowing down the seams, try some fly patterns which are a little bigger and/or brighter to help the fish distinguish food from fauna. Secondary seams, too, are holding some fish as they typically don’t have as many leaves and the fish don’t have to dodge them. There haven’t been any particularly “hot” fly patterns, but egg patterns in clown, Oregon Cheese and Orange/Golden have consistently taken fish as have steelhead buggers, caddis and hex nymphs.

The Betsie is still getting fresh salmon in addition to fish that have been in a little while and are now doing their spawning ritual. Some coho/silver salmon are in the mix as are a few steelhead. The typical patterns are working including lots of egg flies and nymphs like sparrows, caddis, black stones and hex nymphs. With the forecast weather, look for salmon to be in the Betsie for a few more weeks.

The Platte is really getting good numbers of fish in it being so close to the lake. A good number of cohos and kings can be found below the weir and close to Lake Michigan.

The Boardman in Traverse City has fish below the weir for you Urban Anglers. Since the weir went down late, there are what seems to be more fish below Sabin Dam than there typically is this time of year.

The trout fishing this time of year can be very good as the spawning browns and brookies get rather aggressive and the fish also take the shorter days to mean that it is time to fatten up. Another often overlooked aspect of the fall fishing is that there is still some dry fly action to be had. Blue Winged Olives (BWO) will come off on most afternoons in October and they can get some fish to come up for a bite. Other than BWOs, bring a selection of nymphs, and some streamers (a wooly bugger dead drifted at this time of year is a good call). Another thing to keep in mind about trout fishing this late in the season is, sorry to break it to you, that you will probably have the river all to yourself. Please do keep in mind that there are fish spawning, if you see them working a redd, please move on or watch but don't fish, there are plenty of other fish to target. Also don't wade through any gravel that looks recently worked.

Thanks and good luck!

The Northern Angler

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