Trout Opener has come and gone and besides some of the traditions that took place over the weekend – it just doesn’t feel like it. Cooler than normal weather has been lingering and combined with the long winter, things are still behind – including the steelhead run.
Steelhead continue to swim up local rivers and with the water temperatures in the mid to upper 40s, they are focused on getting in, spawning and returning to the big lake. Most area rivers like the lower Manistee below Tippy Dam, Boardman and Betsie have come down but are still full or have a slightly increased flow. Clarity has improved but the Manistee is still darker than normal. Few suckers have come in which is an indication that more steelhead should continue to provide opportunity for a while.
Egg flies in Oregon Cheese, Steelhead Orange and Light Roe have been producing as have green caddis and fry patterns. As clarity improves and temps increase look for the swing bite to offer two-handed anglers a chance to get their fish on.
The upper Manistee is looking good with just a slight stain to it making for decent streamer fishing which is good since little is hatching. If you are headed out with a dry fly rod be sure to have some small adult stones and BWO patterns with you as they have been around sporadically. With the water still cool, look for a slower retrieve on your streamer to perhaps get that fish to pounce. Flies with lead eyes that kind of have a jigging motion can really get fish to play this time of year.
Ice is just leaving or has recently left the local lakes and a nice sunny day can get some nice pike in shallow to warm up making them a fun target for those looking to throw a big fly for a big toothy critter.