The last couple of weeks has provided some opportunity to get on the water with some warmer than normal days for the season. It is now winter and while it isn’t white outside, the thermometer isn’t showing a lot of red, either. The long term forecast calls for below freezing temps which pretty much puts us into winter fishing mode.
With both air and water temps as low as they are, look for window of opportunity to get out when the conditions are right – no or low winds, slighter warmer air temps and maybe a little sunshine (do you remember what that is?).
Steelhead are scattered throughout the rivers (Manistee, Betsie, Boardman) – there are fishable numbers but you will want to cover water and look for those fish that want to eat. It’s a good time to fish indicators and look for fish to be in the slower, deeper water often just inside the seam or bubble line. With the rivers full thanks to recent rain, you can get away with a larger egg pattern fished in tandem with a natural looking nymph; this time of year patterns with a lot of movement to them like hex nymphs are a good place to start.
Trout fishing has slowed but still remains an option for those looking to fish streamers and nymphs. If fishing streamers, go with a shorter sink tip or even a floating line with a weighted pattern and really slow the presentation down while implementing a lot of action into the fly as you cover the slower water – both holes and slots.
This time of year it’s just good to get outside and on the water since we haven’t traded the fishing poles for ski poles just yet. Keep in mind that some sections of some rivers close at the end of the year. Not into winter fishing? Here are some ideas to stay busy this winter.