Steelhead remain the primary target and the slight increases in water temp at mid-day can be the difference between fishing and catching. Sun helps with that and it hasn’t been getting awfully frigid-cold at night, stabilizing water temps rather than dropping more. Actually, we have been seeing a slight increase on the week-long average which might mean that March really is only a few days away.
Still, water levels on the Manistee and Betsie are low and it’s clear. As it’s been true all winter, fish with stealth, lighter tippets and make numerous presentations to find those fish to play along with. Then again, this advice holds true almost the entire year, but it’s more imperative now with the winter like conditions. Flies: pale egg combos, small black stones, alevins, hex nymphs and the bigger stones are good places to begin with fly selection.
A few trout below Tippy dam are eating the same flies suggested above for steelhead, but the trout angler would be better served tying on the midge pupa patterns like zebra midges and wd-40s for a nymph bite. Streamer fishing should be more of a traditional down and across with slight strips and bumps since we still have some cold water.
It won’t be long now before the steelhead fishing kicks-in with trout to overlap in April. The lack of snow fall might have an affect, but we can still get hit with some big snow so don’t put that shovel away just yet.