River Report - May 19, 2016
Well here we are... half way through May already. It's sort of bittersweet to think that spring is transitioning to summer so quickly, but the weather here lately has been summer one day, winter the next, and back to summer. She's been a little bipolar lately, but Mother Nature is finally deciding she is going to be nice and start being her summer self again.
The bugs haven't seemed to mind all that much. Emergences have still been going off without much hesitation, and with the recent warm up, the rivers have been a cloud of bugs. Trout have kept par, even with some of the cooler evenings limiting the late evening spinners on the water.
May is for mayflies - hendricksons start the party...and we are well into hennies, but will likely hold them for one more week here in the north country, but then come the mahoganies, the bochers drakes, and onto the march browns. Sulphurs have started on the Au Sable system, and will soon join the party in the tip of the mitt.
May is for mayflies - BUT, it's also for stoneflies and caddis. Stones & Caddis have been prevalent, and some of the cooler days with high sun have fish feeding on caddis due to the copious amount of bugs on or near the water. Caddis are an interesting family of bugs. There are black caddis, olive caddis, etc etc etc...SO. MANY. CADDIS. However, many days they can make for fun fishing, especially for brook trout. Popcorn caddis...those little light colored caddis that look like bouncing popcorn kernels are the main player on the scene right now. When fishing a ditch that is primarily loaded with brook trout, and caddis make an appearance (which, from there through the end of summer is pretty often), skating a caddis across the surface, or twitching it near structure can make for some pretty aggressive takes. The trick with caddis and stoneflies is action...forget the dead drift. Many days when hatch-match dead driting is proving futile, I'll tie on a small caddis, or a medium sized stone, and fish down and across with a twitch & swing. Throw a soft-hackle or hares ear dropper 12-18" off the bend, and it's game on. Brook trout seem to be more easily fooled by the caddis skate, but I've had my fair share of surprises with nice mid-teener football brownies that come out of the wood to smash a skated caddis.
The weather has continued to follow the roller coaster trend of this spring, with days in the 70s, and nights dropping into the low 30s. This has caused the spinner flights to happen a little earlier in the evening. Typically you need those nice warm, 50+ degree nights to hold the spinners into the later part of the evening, and the low light conditions that typically prove to show the larger brown trout, but similar to yesterday, which resulted in an afternoon jaunt over to the Pigeon & Black, we beat up on the brook trout through emergences of a multitude of insects, and had our fair share of fun before the temp decided to drop around 7pm. Instead of waiting for a spinner fall that probably wouldn't happen at 45 degrees, we grabbed beers and elk burgers at the Elkhorn and called it a night.
However, the forecast looks solid, and it seems like summer is finally here. Say goodbye to the cool spring nights, and say hello to flip flops, warm evenings, bonfires and spinner flights. Sulphurs are on deck, and with the weekend temps pushing into the 80s, they may even start on the Jordan River and in Pigeon River Country, so make sure you're taking your box of highlighter yellow and sunburst orange #16s & #18s to the river, because it may just start tomorrow. The only way to know to know for sure, is to get out on the river and find some bugs, and with 'em, some fish as well.
This weekend will be stellar for dry fly fishing in Boyne Country. Grab your waders, your rod, and set the GPS for "Up North."