Even thought it’s a new year, not much has changed in the past week or so regarding fishing conditions. We continue to get hit by old man winter, but there are some windows of opportunity - be ready to get out when the next one comes around.
Steelhead continue to be the preferred target on those days when the weather is tolerable. Fish your nymphs and eggs with the best drag-free presentation you can for success. Late mornings are better as there can be a slight warm-up in water temps that can help with the bite. The warm-up doesn’t hurt us anglers either. With the water being so clear, small and natural looking patterns are best: caddis, stones, hex and eggs in pale colors like pink, light orange and “grapefruit” - pink and chartreuse combined in either a rag or nuke style egg pattern. Whatever fly you are tying on, use a little lighter tippet than normal; with the fish rolling and twisting rather than those quick surgess associated with steelhead fishing, you can get away with the lighter stuff until water temps start moving the other way again.
Below Tippy Dam on the Big Manistee, anglers are finding a mix of trout and steelhead to play the game. Other rivers in the neighborhood giving up some fish include the Betsie and Boardman. Fish the deeper water thoroughly for your best success – fish are not overly aggressive right now. FYI- the Upper Platte River is closed until spring.