River Report - February 8, 2016
Sorry for the lack of reports lately... January was a fairly quiet month with the colder weather. However, things are definitely on the up-and-up!
For the last week or so, we've had some great weather patterns resulting in warmer temp
eratures, mid-afternoon sun, and increased water flow and color due to some snow melt. At night, Mother Nature still likes to remind us that it is still winter with some drops in temperature, but overall, the fishing has increased 10-fold this week over what we saw in January. Mild winters are a blessing, especially after the last two deep freeze years we had.
I've been able to spend time on the water doing a little bit of everything lately. Indi fishing for steelies, slow-bottom-dragging swingin', and nypming for trout. All have been somewhat productive, but indi fishing for steelhead in the later parts of winter, especially during these warm periods, is one of the most productive methods to put a bend in your rod. With that said, a buddy of mine was able to get into some nice little brownies and a brook trout or two nymping recently.
For steelhead, focus efforts on the Stugeon, Pigeon, and Boyne. The Boyne seems to peak when we've had some run-off and the fish enter the river again. Unlike the Sturgeon & Pigeon, the Boyne doesn't hold over a lot of steelhead. Because it is such a short fishery, fish will enter during spate events with increased water flows and turbidity for cover, feed, and then drop back out to the lake during deep-cold, clear-water periods. However, the Sturg & Pi[d]ge hold fish throughout the winter season, and they are typically pretty scrappy fish. Strong, FAT, lake-run Bobotrons from Burt & Mullet. Eggs have still been a top producer - in bright colors - even though any remaining eggs in the system are so faded they look like a piece of snot. Even in the Sturgeon & Pigeon, where there isn't a king salmon run, big bright eggs still have validity - case in point, the fish to the left were all caught on bright, #10 nukes. My buddy Alex & I, and subsequently, Andrew & I, had some serious conversations this week regarding the reason that steelhead still hit bright eggs even in the dead of winter. It is decided that it is so deeply engrained in their physiological makeup and history of 30,000+ years (upwards of millions of years back to the first of the Oncorhynchus species) of evolution of eating eggs, and lots of eggs, along the Pacific Rim, that 150 years in the Great Lakes ecosystem doesnt cause it to just vanish. So throw eggs and be proud you are fooling those chromers! Salmon fry should start to emerge and produce a viable food source in the systems which have king runs - Boyne & Jordan - so make sure you have some small fry patterns.
...February also means LBS...Little Black Stones. These little buggers hold a wonderful place in the heart of the winter fly angler. The nymphs can be extremely productive for all species - Brooks, Browns & Steelhead during February. And sometimes, just sometimes, on a warm, sunny February day, you'll have enough of these little buggers emerge into adults to produce some fish on or near the surface - although a rarity, it is a treat to catch a trout on a dry fly in February. The majority of the action still remains subsurface, so keep that in mind.
We have two great events coming up!
Matt Supinski will be here on Saturday, February 13th for his Selectivity clinic. This event is FREE, but if you are interested, please RSVP to the shop, as space may be limited.
We will also be hosting the Fly Fishing Film Tour again at Boyne Mountain Resort on Saturday, February 20th. Tickets are $15.
For more information on both of these events, click here.
One more thing... Simms Fishing Products is finally starting to ship more of the G3 Bootfoot waders. After months of working with Bogs Footwear on the boot platform, it seems they have gotten it right. I received my pair and I can tell you that these things are a game-changer when it comes to winter fly fishing. One of the things that keep people away from the river in the winter is tight wading boots which results in numb, cold feet - Cold feet are for weddings. If you layer properly, and have nice warm tootsies, winter fishing can be as fun, or even more exciting than some summer time experiences. If you would like to order a pair of these waders, please give us a call at 231.549.6064.
Hope to see you soon!