There is no fooling that the steelhead run is behind schedule. Typically the run-off and rains have increased river flows encouraging fish to migrate upstream by now. With the cold winter, drawn-out thaw of snow (and not much of it) and cold nights, the water has been running lower, clearer, and colder than normal for this time of year – it’s been right about 40 degrees. Conditions are good for the wading angler as the water is easy to read with decent clarity and its levels, but the fish just don’t seem to be around partly because the number of fall fish that wintered over was lower than normal.
After some rain look for things to change as water flow increases. Tippy Dam pond above the dam on the Manistee river has melted quite a bit in the past week and should be ice-free by the end of the week which should help warm up the river. While there isn’t a significant amount of rain in the forecast, there is some and it should really kick things into gear and get those fish moving.
Good fly patterns lately have been green caddis, hex nymphs and egg patterns in shades of Oregon cheese and steelhead orange. On bright, sunny days look for fish to be in the deeper water and around wood and other structure. As fish begin to think about spawning look for fish to stage in the holes close to spawning gravel. It appears that this year’s run should extend a while and into May since it is slow to get going.
Just a reminder – a new fishing license is required April 1 and certain rivers/sections are now open. Some new rules exist too, check out the new MI-DNR regulation book.
Open April Dates: 24 & 26th
The Spring Newsletter just went out – click here to read and/or subscribe.
Spring Steelhead – From mid-March through early May on the Manistee and Betsie. Few dates available.
September Salmon – Dates are limited for fishing the Betsie River in early Sept. and later on the Manistee.
2015 Fishing – It isn’t too early to get your fishing trips planned for the year. Booking all species/seasons.