April 11, 2012
"Well, We're Waiting"
A classic quote from the movie Caddy Shack comes to mind as we wait for some rain to inspire the remainder of the steelhead to move upstream. While we have had some rain and some snow, no significant amount has fallen and the steelhead run remains stagnate, stale and otherwise unprecedented. The forecast is calling for some this weekend and the lack of hot days has pretty much put water temps in check with normal readings for this time of year. Surf/Pier fishing reports indicate that fish are there also waiting.
There are some steelhead in the Manistee and other area rivers with spawning taking place as water temps hover around 50 degrees. By no means are there as many fish around as there typically is this time of year but still some are around. As a few fresh females slip in, they are quickly attended to by dark males looking to do their part. With water clarity a little too good right now, they are pretty easy to see. Look for more respondent fish to be in the darker slots and holes near the bright gravel and cover a lot of water. Drop-back steelhead continue to play the game as they head back to the lake making for some spirited fights since their minds are back to eating and not spawning. Smaller, natural looking egg flies in smaller sizes are choice as are smaller nymphs like caddis, stones and fry when fishing near the gravel and hex, fry, buggers and leeches are working in the runs.
Trout fishing is well under way on the Upper Manistee with some hendricksons, bwos and black stone flies emerging as the day gets warmer in the afternoons. Water clarity is dramatically clear so stealth goes a long way with the fish being in all sorts of water - not just bunkered in the deep, woody holes. Streamer fishing smaller streamers with slower retrieves is working well with the cold water temps, but be prepared to mix it up if you aren't getting the results you are looking for. Shaded water should demand your attention, but don't overlook featureless water. Look for the bugs to continue to build in density with time and warmer conditions - it's sure is a good to see trout rising again.