Things are starting to feel and look a little more like Spring lately. The grass is greener, buds are popping and the thermometer has been north of 50 degrees a few times. There is no doubt that we are a couple weeks behind on Spring getting here in earnest as the skim ice that formed on the Bay the other night demonstrated the reality. But there is hope.
The forecast calls for a continuation of warmer temps and some rain which will improve fishing. Trout fishing has been tough on the Manistee as the fish continue to stay sub-surface eating free-drifting worms and waiting for the water temps to increase and more mayflies on the surface. It is really the time for the streamer fisherman as the fish are hungry, predatory and not looking up too much. I suspect that with the warmer days predicted ahead conditions will align and we will start seeing some more bugs on top – most notably the anticipated Hendricksons. This can be a favorite time of year for anglers – covering the water with streamers then switching over to dry fly rods when the bugs stat coming off. Have some ‘Henies” in your box along with black stones, black caddis, and blue wing olives. In the month ahead look for a number of bugs/emergences to overlap and be condensed as conditions and calendars synchronize.
Steelhead fishing has declined a little as the warmer water temps pretty much encouraged a lot of the fish to do their deed and leave. With the absence of a significant rain there doesn’t seem to be a push of fresh fish entering the system, but rather a trickle of chromers. The warmer weather has made fishing pleasant and a few steelhead to hand makes it that much better. The Betsie and Manistee have cleared up nicely leaving a slight stain to the water – temps are around 50 degrees. Now is a good time for the two-hand casters to get out and focus on drop-back steelhead as they tend to put the feed bag back on before returning to the lake. Trout fishing below Tippy dam is starting up but majority of the trout are still behind the spawning steelhead eating eggs.
Steelhead -While it is currently Spring Steelhead time, it’s also time to book your fall steelhead dates. Trout - May is a great time for mayfly emergences and streamer fishing before June’s Drakes, Isonychias & Hex.