Our long winter is mostly gone but is keeping a foot in the door as the forecast calls for some cooler than normal temperatures for this time of year. Days when it gets into the 40s and the sun makes its way out lets us know that it is Spring Steelhead time.
Water levels are on the rise on local rivers and starting to get color to them but things are still fishable. This can change quickly after a significant rain and the smaller rivers like the Betsie are effected more. Our near-record setting snowfall has left a lot of snow in the woods and I suspect it will be a while before it is all gone and as it continues to melt expect river levels to increase. As more water comes in and water temps warm up, look for some fresh fish to move in from the lakes. Click here to monitor the Manistee River’s flow and temperature below Tippy Dam through the USGS website.
Majority of the fish in the Manistee migrated in the fall and stayed the winter. With water temps in the upper 30′s they are in a classic pre-spawn mood and are found in deeper staging water near the gravel sections and in the slower holes. Fishing isn’t what it usually is for this time of year but each day is different and after the winter, most people are just happy to be out fishing regardless of how hard one has to work for them.
I have seen some stoneflies flutter on the water making them an ideal fly pattern to tie on as are the other spring classics – green caddis, steelhead buggers, and fry patterns fished in tandem with egg patterns. Chuck and Duck/bottom bouncing and float fishing good ways to cover the water and look for fish to move to secondary lies as angler pressure increases, water levels rise and new fish migrate.
Just a reminder – new fishing licenses are required starting April 1st.