River Report - April 14, 2016
Well Hello Spring, Welcome Back
The beginning of April was a bit of a tease. We all somewhat thought that spring was here already, and that if it didnt slow down, it was going to be early, hard and fast. We all had a little suspicion of a late spring snow storm, but after the last few winters, we all had our hopes winter was over. Well, it wasn't. What followed warmer than seasonal temps in early April was freezing temps and 16"+ of snow; we even kept Boyne Mountain Resort open for skiing an extra week, and doubled the available terrain. We have now closed, but have one last hurrah for skiing and riding this weekend. But enough about winter and skiing, let's talk fish...
This was 2 weeks ago on the Upper Man...
This is today at Boyne...
What a difference a couple weeks makes. Spring is back, and it's making a strong appearance this weekend. We are looking at 60 and 70 degree daytime temps. The water temps have finally come back up into the 40s, and as far as everything looks, it's time.
Steelhead have started digging gravel again, and with the increased temps, it will only get better for the next couple weeks. The Boyne, Jordan, Sturgeon and Pigeon all have fish, with fresh gravel on the Boyne as of today. Expect a fresh push of fish out of Lake Charlevoix in the coming days. Black stonefly nymphs are going to be the go-to for steelhead in the high-sun, clear water days moving forward, but eggs always have their place. The run had barely started for us at the beginning of April, so we still have plenty of steelhead action forthcoming for guys looking for a chrome fix.
Two weeks makes a difference. But what a difference a year makes. This time last year we were hoping for the water temps to warm, hoping that anchor ice hadn't put too much of a hurt on fish, and that spring may actually arrive. This year, we already have dry fly action happening on the Au Sable and Upper Man. And I'm not talking about a rise form here or there...I'm talking guys already running floating lines and dry flies...and catching fish. Not many...but it's happening. And although I've had my 5wt Sage MOD in the boat for the month of April, it was more of a consolation effort to myself of days to come, than actually using it. Olives on the Au Sable, Black stones on the Upper Man...and even a report of hennies down around GR two days ago... Spring is coming...and opener should defintely have some good dry fly fishing coming with it.
With that said, the streamer game is back on. Water temps back into the 40s and the run off pretty much over, fish are on the hunt. As the water temps starts pushing into the upper 40s, bigger streamers will defintely hold their place for bigger fish. The Pigeon streamer fishes solid in the spring, and the Upper Manistee needs no introduction. The Jordan and Sturgeon take a little bit more to get the engine started, but don't rule them out. Please keep in mind that the Sturgeon is still running high, so even though the clarity is there, wading should be advised against until it drops a little bit more.
This pic just came into me from Wisconsin, so hopefully that sunny warm weather continues east towards northern Michigan. I think even the koozie is excited about spring.
Get to northern Michigan this weekend! Or this coming week, or next weekend. Spring is here, and we are looking forward to what it will bring.