Fishing is still sputtering a little and not quite in full-swing and going as it should for this time of year but each day is different creating inconsistency – which really is real-world fishing.
Trout on the upper Manistee and Boardman have been shy or perhaps coy. One day they will be out and playing nicely with others (us) and the next day it seems they have taken their ball and gone home. When bugs are out on the water decent opportunities present themselves but the fish seem to be demanding on presentation – it better not drag, it better be a good imitation and you better set the hook just right. Oh yeah, and do it on the first cast.
The last hour of light seems to be the “golden” hour when/if the bugs are on the water. Look for the last of the sulphurs, gray drakes, a few isonychias, mahoganies, march browns, brown drakes and little yellow stones to be on the water. “Rusty Spinners” or Borchers in #12-16 are great at imitating many of the spinners that are on the water this time of year. Bat flies belong in your box as they should begin soon. Lots of people are inquiring whether the hex have begun but because of the long winter, they are at least a good week to 10 days off in my opinion. Learn more about the emerging mayflies this time of year – “Trout Fishing before the Hex Hatch“.
Cloudy days offer better opportunities with the streamer as the fish tend to be away from the cut banks and log jams. Lots of chestnut lampreys are in the river and often on some fish right now which makes it a good place to start when fishing a big fly – brown trout hate these things. Click here for Lamprey Leech fly pattern. Other streamer colors to use include olive and yellow.
The lake fishing for bluegill/panfish and largemouth bass has been really good as the fish are in shallow and near the drops and relatively full of themselves and fiesty. Fishing lakes and ponds can be a blast with both dry flies or little streamers. As more weeds grow look for the bass-attack to become even better.
Fishing on Grand Traverse Bay continues to be off a bit thanks to the cold winter, shifty winds and the nature of carp themselves. They are getting closer to spawning, but finding them consistently has been difficult. Cover water and keep your fingers crossed. Presentation is key and even then they sometimes don’t want anything to do with our flies. Thus the love-hate relationship we have with them as well as the sense of accomplishment when it all comes together. They really offer some of our most demanding angling skills and perseverance. The smallmouth are moving into the shallows with some coming into spawn but most just cruising looking for food. Like the carp, cover water to find fish.