As we approach late May the Mayflies are starting to become more prolific and varied on the upper Manistee, Boardman and Au Sauble Rivers. The next month offers our best match-the-hatch dry fly fishing of the year – make sure your boxes are filled and varied and your fly casting accurate – those selective risers only give you so many chances.
Most of the dark Hendricksons have come and gone but you will want some dark spinner patterns for when they hit the water. With the cool evenings, the spinner fall has been more of a tease – look for the next warm evening to provide a good fall of bugs but don’t overlook late mornings. Light Hendricksons are more common and a few Sulphurs are emerging more commonly in the evenings which should continue to be one of the key bugs over the next two weeks. It’s also time to have March Browns and Black Quills in your fly box as this is the time of year they make their annual appearance. The Medium Brown Stoneflies have been around and when fished blind with a skitter- and-twitch, some nice fish are playing along. Don’t forget that Black Caddis will remain prolific most evenings right at dark for the next couple of weeks.
Streamer fishing has remained inconsistent. As the chestnut lampreys are more active this time of year and as such, brown, slinky streamers can be a great choice. Other good colors lately include: olive/white, brook trout (olive/tan/orange), and yellow/brown. With the water being low and clear, smaller streamers can be a better choice when fishing smaller water, whereas the bigger, deeper water with its holes are better fished with a big often articulated streamer. Streamer fishing remains a great choice as you fish before dry flies and surface activity.
The local lakes have been fishing very well for both panfish/bluegill and bass. As the darker bottom lakes warm quickest, anglers will find the bigger gills spawning in shallow water. This is a great opportunity to catch fish that are normally too deep for the fly angler. Dry fly activity has been best when it is flat and calm where as smaller nymphs like damsels, brassies and soft-hackled hare’s ears fished with a slow, swimming retrieve has been best sub-surface. The bass have been taking both surface and subsurface flies, but smaller baitfish and sculpin streamers have been real effective.
We are still a week or so away from having carp and smallmouth on the flats of the bays thanks to the cold winter and some recent cold nights. We still have frost advisories so cover up your plants and keep your 8 wt. ready for when we get a few days of bright sun and no wind – that usually heats the water significantly which brings the fish in from the depths it’s right around the corner.
With Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer begins so be sure to drive safe, share the water with other anglers and enjoy the local fishing.
Trout Season – Streamer & Dry Fly fishing is ideal throughout May on the Upper Manistee & AuSable Rivers.
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.