It’s March with longer days and a sign of things to come. It has been a long winter and it appears that it’s not coming to an abrupt end, but rather teasing us with additional sunshine and some days ahead with temperatures above freezing.
The number of sub-zero temps and polar vortexes the past months has had an influence on the region’s rivers. Most rivers are frozen over or have significant shelf ice extending from the river banks on smaller rivers like the Betsie and Boardman making it hard to access; the Manistee is mostly open from Tippy Dam to High Bridge. If you are heading out be aware of those large chunks of ice as they break off and float downstream – they literally can be deadly.
Water temps are in the low 30′s but having a little sunshine makes a difference for fish and fisherman alike. Steelhead can be found in flat tail outs or even fully exposed on sand flats warming up this time of year. Keep an eye for those areas when fishing and focus on the deep and slow holes as fish are still somewhat in hibernation and waiting for another degree or two warm-up. With salmon fry and alevins starting to increase in numbers it’s a good fly choice when fished in tandem with an egg pattern. Other good fly choices this time of year include hex nymphs and black stones.
The good news is that a little bit of sun and some above freezing temps can start to knock down the near-record setting snow banks and get our spring steelhead season going. The strong run of steelhead from the fall are still in the rivers and will ensure good fishing until the run-off brings in fresh fish from the lake – it should be a good, long spring steelhead season.
My guess is that trout fisherman will find the hatches to be off a week or two, but one never knows as a significant warm-up or weather event can change things. One thing is for sure – it’s been a long winter and I’m looking forward to some hydro-therapy.
Steelhead -With fish in local rivers Spring steelhead fishing should start as soon as the weather changes.
Trout - May is a great time for mayfly emergences and streamer fishing before June’s Drakes, Isonychias & Hex.
2014 Fishing - It’s not too early to start booking your 2014 dates – reserve you place in the boat today.