The last few days have felt very spring-like with warmer temperatures, numerous rain showers and even a few mayflies. With rivers running full, trout anglers will find the streamer fishing to be ideal with slightly stained water and a tendency for the fish to be out feeding on all the food drifting downstream. Trout can be in feeding lanes where a streamer can either entice or elicit one of those big brown trout to play – a worm/night crawler/lamprey looking pattern will do the former where a big articulated pattern designed to draw out a predatory response will do the latter. It can take a lot of casts between fish, but often the fish can be substantial when casting the big rods and the big flies. Patterns tied in either yellow or black are a good place to start.
Some Hendricksons have been coming off on the Manistee with some fish coming up to eat as the water temperatures increase. Bug density and surface activity will increase in the weeks ahead and look for a lot of the other bugs to overlap as emergence schedules condense as the late start to Spring rights itself. Other bugs to be prepared for right now include black caddis, blue wing olives and black quills. Check out theBorcher’s Emerger if you haven’t already – it’s a good pattern that represents a number of different bugs when tied in various sizes.
Steelhead continue to come into local rivers, but we are well past peak as fish trickle in and leave fast with water temps in the 50s. Smaller rivers like the Platte, Boardman and Betsie have fewer fish in them while the big Manistee with a heavier flow of water has been a little more consistent. The steelhead are mostly on the spawning gravel and the drop-back fish are resting in the bigger holes and runs eating big before heading back to the lake. These drop-back fish are ideal for the two-handed caster looking to swing into fish.
The trout in the Manistee below Tippy are still close to the dam and the spawning steelhead taking advantage of their eggs as food. Look for the streamer fishing down there to pick up over the next week as fewer steelhead are around and the big sturgeon have them feeling uncomfortable in the gravel sections where they are spawning.
Lake fishing for bluegill and panfish is on the cusp of starting. Some local lakes with shallow depths and dark bottoms have just begun but most of the fishing is behind since it wasn’t that long ago that they were still covered with ice. Look for this fishing to kick off over the next week also.
Trout - May is a great time for mayfly emergences and streamer fishing before June’s Drakes, Isonychias & Hex. Hatches and Big Bugs - Few dates remain in June for the big bugs - Isos, Drakes and the Hex. Steelhead and Salmon - While Spring is late getting here, it’s not too early to reserve your Fall Dates.