The dog days of summer are upon us and the heat has mostly been keeping our fishing to the low light hours of morning and evening.
Trout fishing has been decent for brook and brown trout on the upper Manistee and Boardman Rivers. The Trico mayfly hatch has been very reliable for about a month now but it appears they are winding down – look for these size 18 and 20 flies to be around in the morning anywhere from 8 until 10:30.
Despite the warm days the water temperatures have remained in the mid-60s. Even though we have experienced a significant lack of rain, the river levels surprisingly are in good shape.
One advantage of our dry conditions has been the presence of terrestrials on the water – that is ants, beetles, grasshoppers and even cicadas. Attractor patterns that suggest large terrestrials – foam and rubber-legged patterns – have been bringing some nice fish to the surface and very small streamers fished on floating lines around submerged wood has produced too. August isn’t necessarily a time to catch the big trophy trout, however it’s a great time to lighten your rod up and have some fun with the fish that do want to play. And those big fish will surprise you from time to time and show themselves – even on your line testing your 3 and 4 weight rod’s ability.
Bass fishing has been good on the lakes but the better times are before noon and after 5. Focus on weed beds/lily pads and play with some poppers – it’s fun when the largemouth sip a popper only to have the next one crush it. The bluegill fishing that had been really good has is now good but like the bass, fish the gills/panfish when the sun isn’t the highest.
Bass fishing on the lower Manistee has been a little tougher than it should be. Not sure if it is the heat or clear water, but they haven’t been playing nice. With a full-moon around the corner look for crayfish to become an important part of their diet so focusing on rocks piles and edges with a crayfish pattern as a place to target.