Trout fishing continues to keep us busy chasing the unpredictable hex fly on the upper Manistee and other local rivers, but it has been fickle with swings in the air temps and other weather fluctuations. Some nights we find bugs and some of those nights the fish are looking to eat. Even the mosquitoes have been taking some nights off. Fishing remains tougher than it should be – at least in my experience but things are looking like they are improving a bit.
We have been experiencing a few more fish looking up lately and feeding on the minimal bug activity that has been occurring and some of the fish that have been missing from their typical places – it seems – are showing up and playing along. Other bugs to have in your fly box include little yellow sally stones, Isonychias, Summer Olives, Cahills, and some flying ants. Look for the transition from evening fishing to daytime terrestrial and early morning Trico fishing as we progress further into July but be prepared for hatches that shouldn’t happen as things try to catch up from a long winter, short spring and inconsistent conditions the past couple of months.
Fishing on the bay has slowed down as the carp it appears are mostly done with their spawning and have run deep again. With the long winter I expect there to be some opportunity to fish for them if you are looking to cover water. Look for them where the warm water is getting blown into shallow flats. Sun and wind direction are key as the Bay is still so cold and any turnover can shut a good flat down with one day of wind. Smallmouth bass in the bay are like the carp – offering some shots one day, and gone the next. Crayfish are your best bet right now for both species and some minnow patterns like Clousers are ideal for the bass. Darker versions of the Clouser (orange and rootbeer) is a good one for carp.
Lake fishing for bluegill and bass continues to be good and a lot of fun. With more lily pads around the bigger bass are taking up residence nearby and eating your bigger patters or the bluegill that is on the end of your line. Frogs and poppers have been working well on the bass with smaller terrestrial patterns working on the bluegill. Flies like the Turks Tarantula have been catching some larger gills when stripped under the water and fished like a slider.
Smallmouth bass fishing in the lower Manistee river is just starting as water temps warm up and more fish migrate and populate the river from the lower sections. Streamer fishing baitfish patterns and fishing crayfish on floating lines are a great way to cover water with the crayfish fishing being best near rocks. Some popper and slider action has been working on the surface but I suspect that will only improve as summer continues.
Terrestrials, Tricos and Trout – July and August fly fishing for trout on the Upper Manistee River Salmon- Fresh fish can enter rivers as early as mid-August and offer great fishing through September. Fall Steelhead- From the end of September through November – this is the time of year for Steelhead.