The Upper Manistee is fishing decent for the dry fly guy looking to cast Hendricksons. There are decent numbers of bugs emerging and spinner dancing, but with the cold nights and mornings, things haven't been predictable as far as hatches and spinner falls. The next few days have some stable night temperatures and warm days forecast so it should be good. After that, the weather man tells us we should expect some rain for a few days which is more than needed. Water levels are low and clarity is a little too good, so look for the rain to make for some ideal conditions and great streamer fishing. Other bugs have included small black caddis, black stones, and black quills/borchers. Sulphurs and March Browns deserve a place in your box as they could get going a little early this year because of the warm weather. The Boardman - with its cooler water temps - do have some Hendricksons popping and the numbers should really build over the next couple of days with the warmer weather. This river is one big riffle so go to your favorite section of the river and enjoy some great fishing close to town. Don't forget your personal bug spray as the "other bugs" are building in numbers too.
The Lower Manistee below Tippy Dam is fishing well for those swinging smaller streamers and wets. The nymph angler is catching lots of good fish on smaller nymphs and eggs and from time to time is surprised with a remaining steelhead which is a lot of fish for the 5 wt. angler and water temps in the 50's. Streamer fishing comes and goes depending on the day, but the bright sun we have had lately is never favorable. When it's on it's on! and a rare steelhead has been known to eat the "trout" streamer. Bait fish looking patterns are a good bet since the DNR loads the river up each spring with hatchery supplemented fish that the bigger trout notice and take advantage of. Click here to read about fishing patterns that look like stocked fish. As always with streamer fishing, mix your patterns up until you find a shape and color that they like. This is a great place to learn and/or refine your streamer fishing skills with good numbers of fish in the system that are having hunger pangs now that they aren't eating piles of eggs drifting from the steelhead, suckers and walleye.
Yes, there are a few steelhead around in the local rivers, but not in strong numbers. Expect the run to extend a few more weeks, but with just a few fish coming in and some dropping back. In other words, there will be fish around, just not many. It's a decent time to swing a fly and look for that aggressive fish in the warmer water. The Boardman in town has had a good number of fish in it lately for those looking to fish in the urban setting for a few hours.
The Bluegill are moving towards the shallows on some of the smaller, shallower and warmer pond/lakes but it's still a little early for them. After the warm weather and warm rains, we should see more activity with some additional bass moving in too. Remember, with trout opener, Pike and Musky are now fair game as well as catch and release bass fishing. The lakes are gin-clear so a long cast and fluorocarbon is suggested.