September 24, 2010
We received a significant surge of rainfall Thursday and more is forecast for Friday raising water levels and providing ideal conditions for even more Salmon to enter local rivers. If heading out you will find water levels high and stained so watch your step – I never had to empty my boat out as many times as I did yesterday – I’m guessing we received 2 inches in a few hours where I was fishing.
Salmon on the Betsie and Manistee have been coming and going as they do being a migratory species with a few more fish hitting spawning gravel and staying stationary as we get further into fall. Look for fish staging in the dark pockets and holes near the shinned-up gravel while the slots and tail-outs being a great place to target the fresh fish heading up stream with all the water. Fish probably won’t be holding in holes as conditions for moving upstream are ideal: high and stained water with overcast skies.
Bigger flies are your better bet with the dirty water: buggers, leeches, egg sucking leeches, larger patterns of the classics like hex and caddis (chartreuse can be a great color right now) as well as some of the bright stuff with some flash or the colorful patterns. Egg patterns should be a little larger (#6) than what we have been fishing for the same reason – so fish can see them. Typically when we get a blast of water like this we can have a mixed bag of fish including King/Chinook salmon, Coho/Silver salmon and a few Steelhead and lake run Brown Trout thrown in.
Trout fishing on the Upper Manistee has been good before this rainfall with fish chasing the streamer and coming up to eat on top. We have had hatches of BWO’s and small Isonycias #14 (I’m guessing, I could never get one in my hands) with fish taking them. With this additional water, look for the streamer fishing to be even better as the big browns often get ornery just before the spawn and more food is washing downstream. FYI – normal trout season ends on September 30 with some rivers and sections becoming closed to fishing. The extended seasons/rivers can be a great time to spend on the water chasing the bigger trout with streamers as most anglers are chasing the big migratory fish elsewhere.