Trout fishing has made some strides over the past week, but things are still a little behind. As the trees are just starting to grow leaves, we are seeing a few more bugs on the water and some fish eating them.
The Upper Manistee, Au Sable and Boardman all have had decent hatches of Hendricksons recently, it’s just a matter of finding some rising fish to make it that much better. The rising has been sporadic with some fish playing along but with warmer weather forecast, water temps will warm and we should have more surface activity from the fish as well as increased density and a variety of bugs. Hendricksons should continue and look for sulphurs and black quills to start any day as some hatches overlap. It’s always good to have some BWO in your box as well as black caddis/mother’s day caddis. It wouldn’t hurt to have some mahoganies in your box, too. A good pattern to have to represent a number of flies this time of year is the Borcher’s Drake and Emerger.
Between hatches, fish streamers for trout- olive and copper, yellow, and black have been best for me lately. Check out George Daniel’s “Streamer Envy” article in the June-July edition of Fly Fisherman magazine for a good perspective on streamer fishing.
Steelhead are winding down but are still sprinkled throughout the area’s rivers. I suspect this week’s warm weather will really push them along in their spring ritual and eventually back the big lake. The Manistee , Boardman and Betsie all have fish in them – it’s just a matter of finding them. Drop-back fish are fun to target this time of year as they sit in the bigger, deeper water putting their feed bag on – perfect for the two-handed/spey caster.
The lakes and ponds are just starting to fish as the panfish and bluegills move from the deeper water into the shallows. Look for the shallow water with dark bottoms and even cool marshes or creeks dumping warmer water into them to offer the better early season fishing. This can be a ton of fun with a few bass thrown into the mix, too. Pike are still in the shallows and offer the big fly caster an opportunity before they start to move deep again.
The Bays are well behind schedule thanks to the long winter and subsequent cold water. The bass and carp aren’t much of an option right now, but for you die-hard carp anglers, look for a few days and nights of consecutive warm weather a some sunshine and you might just find a couple of cruisers in the shallows. You’ll want your waders as the water is still very cold.
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.