The predicted El-Nino season forecast for this winter hasn’t, yet, materialized. Still, anglers willing to trek out in the winter conditions have been finding some fish to play with on The Manistee, Betsie, Platte and Boardman Rivers.
This time of year Steelhead are the primary target of those headed out. Now that water temperatures – while cold- have stabilized and aren’t dropping as drastically as they have been the last few weeks the fish bite is more likely to take place. This stability coupled with a little solar heat/sunshine is just enough to get fish to eat a well presented fly. Look for your drifts to be as close to perfect as possible for fish to play along. Lots of eggs on the smaller side of the scale with various colors paired with realistic looking nymphs like hex, stones and hare’s ears. With water levels down a bit and high degree of clarity, it’s fluorocarbon time but take time tying as cold weather, flouro and bad knots don't get along. There is a little shelf ice on the edges of the slower water sections, but not enough to keep you from getting on the river.
Take an extra pair of gloves, some hand-warmers, fleece yourself up and you should have the river to yourself. Think El-Nino and it might just come.
Good luck and Happy Holidays!