Other than a change in the weather, not a whole lot has changed on the local waters since last week’s report.
After 10 days of warm days and nights, some cooler weather moved in the past week leaving the nights cooler than ideal for hatches and spinner falls on the Trout Rivers. Surface activity and hatches has been off a little on the Manistee, Au Sable and Boardman rivers, however covering water has found some isolated “hatch zones”. You can expect a smorgasbord of bugs right now: Sulphurs, March Browns, Mahoganies, Brown Drakes, Isonychias, Blue Winged Olives, Caddis, Little Yellow Sally Stones, Medium Brown/Yellow Stones, and more have been seen on the water and in the air.
Water levels are still o.k. but clarity is an issue – it is too clear. Stealth and long presentations are required for the larger, selective fish but a good drift with the right fly can make it all worthwhile. On the bright days, seek shade and structure where fish are still approachable rather than tucked deep in log jams or undercut banks. Streamer fishing has been challenging in the clear water however smaller streamers have taken some nice fish lately.
Grand Traverse Bay is still running cool and as such the carp and smallmouth bass have been slow to get going. Often when you do find the carp they are moving and not feeding. As the water warms up on the flats, look for the pre-spawn feed to take place with some of the better fishing of the year. The smallmouth bass, too, are plagued by the cooler water. As the Smallies are in pre-spawn mode also and nomadically cruising , they will eat a fly – baitfish imitations and Gobies area great patterns to start with
The smaller lakes and ponds are fishing better for bass than the big water of the bay. Small streamers and even some smaller poppers and larger dry flies are working. Bluegill fishing has been mixed – some lakes are better than others and require some time to find those larger fish looking to bend your 3 wt. rod. Look in any weeds/bulrush in a foot of water for spawning fish. They can be hard to get when they are hidden and tucked away, but it’s also a time to get some nice hand-sized panfish/gills/sunnies before they head deep again.
Carp and Bass – Look for these guys on the flats of Grand Traverse Bay through the month of June. Big Bugs – The month of June is the month of Big Bugs – Isonychias, Brown Drakes and Hex – dates available. Salmon – Late August and September is when the King Salmon start to migrate upstream – get ’em while you can. 2016 Dates – Now booking for the entire fishing season: trout, carp, bass, salmon and fall Steelhead.