Lots of rain has fallen over the past 10 days and the rivers look like it.
The Upper Manistee river continues to be challenging with high water, sporadic bug emergences and fish that are mostly uncooperative. Finding times when both the bugs and fish are active has been rare with the occasional good day to keep us coming back. Even the streamer fishing – under ideal conditions – has been off. Give the river 4 or 5 days to drop to normal levels and clear up and by then Isonychias should be emerging more steadily – typically in the evening and up to dark if temps stay warm. In the meantime if you are headed there you will want the following flies: mahoganies, sulphurs, little yellow stones, epeorus, brown drakes, isonychias, big golden stones, BWO’s, small black caddis and a lucky rabbit’s foot. I’ve often been accused of telling it like it is.
The Boardman has been tough to fish the past couple of weeks with the higher water, but Brown Drakes and Gray Drakes have been around with a few sulphurs and caddis in the evening. The AuSable, too, hasn’t been fishing up to its reputation with bugs and fish being off. Lots of water in that system also has had its impact on the river as the fish are able to eat well sub-surface with the higher water.
Carp fishing on the bay has improved as fish are starting to show up a little more in the shallow water as they near their spawn cycle. The water in the bay is still pretty cold so wind direction, intensity of sun light and overnight temps have a significant impact on the fishing the shallow flats. A few smallmouth bass have moved into the shallows but look for the smallmouth bass season to be spread-out and focus on cruisers and darker water for your best biting fish.
Bluegill fishing on the lakes has slowed down some for the large gills as they have abandoned their beds and moved back deep. Some lakes and ponds tend to run behind while others spawn over a protracted period and with some searching you should find those fish. By now the fish that spawn tend to really protect themselves in the structure with bigger predatory fish looking to eat them. On the up-side, the largemouth bass fishing has improved with more fish eating sliders/diving frogs and poppers. Same routine – look for fish in and around the lilly pads and drop offs for your best action.
Trout Season – June is the month of the big bug dry fly fishing on the Upper Manistee & AuSable Rivers.
Summer Fishing – Terrestrial and Trico fishing in July and August on the Manistee, Bluegill and Bass on Lakes.
Fall Steelhead – Late September through November is the time for sassy steelhead on the Lower Manistee.