River Report - May 26, 2016
How do I say this without sounding too overly excited...?
It's good. It's really good. It's really really good.
Heck, screw formalities...it's borderline phenomenal. This is the type of early season that us Michigan dry fly anglers live for!
We have had a few thunderstorms this week, with some being severe, but very short lived. The rest of the day has been filled with sun, some clouds, and 80+ degree daytime temps. With temps typically staying in the 60s or high 50s, drakes are soon to join us again. The Au Sable has yet to start, but there is a good possibility they may see bugs starting as early as this weekend. Once the Au Sable goes, then it's the Upper Man, and then we start moving north about 5 days later, so look for drakes to start around next weekend in the tip of the mitt. This is dry fly hatch matching at its finest. We have the tail end of hendricksons, borchers drakes, mahoganies, sulphurs, caddis and stones of various types...and drakes are coming soon to a river near you. Sulphurs have started well on the Upper Manistee, and the northern tier rivers will soon see the little yellow bugs. Between the sulphurs and the mahogany spinners, evening fishing has been great. And unlike early season where the spinner fall is limited to the last bit of daylight and a short window, between the caddis in the afternoon, the sulphur emergence, and the several types of mayflies spinner out each night, we typically have a solid few hours of dry fly fishing each evening.
For the guys & gals less interested in technical hatch match dry fly fishing, prospecting and 'daytime playtime' for brookies is holding very well. A parachute adams, a pearl & elk caddis, and a wet skunk variation is about all you need to catch as many brightly spotted fontinalis as your hearts desire. There is something about those beautiful little fish that is almost dreamlike. When you put a little brookie to hand, and stare down at it, it captivates your mind. I've seen trophy brown trout hunter and saltwater anglers have an almost trance-like respect for an 8" brookie. There is just something about them. On top of that, they like to eat, and it can make for a very exciting afternoon on the water.
All our rivers are in fine condition. The Jordan is always a little slow to join the party, but she is starting to come into her own, and the brookie fishing up top is great. The Pigeon and Black are doing very well. The Upper Manistee is great. And the Maple & Sturgeon are heating up just dandy.
Bright blue skies, aqua-hued water...did someone say 'flats fishing'?! Waugoshance is great right now! Typically we look for Memorial Day to Independence Day for the flats fishing for smallies and carp at Wilderness State Park, but Andrew made a quick run up the other day to check things out and put a couple dozen smallies and a handful of carp to hand in the afternoon. Just like the trout fishing, everything is on par to a great year. Wooly buggers are the name of the game for the next week or so...once the gear guys get onto it, the fish will start to be a little more discerning. Goby and crayfish patterns are the hot ticket at Waugo, as their primary food source is bait - leave your corn and cottonwood flies in Kansas...our fish hunt! I've had a few people ask me questions about carp this week, so I'll leave this out there... When looking for carp, look for those that are interested in eating, not spawning. You need to find the solo guy that decides he wants to take a break from the party, don't just cast in the middle of the pod. Make a few casts at the likely suspects, and if no interest is shown, move on. "But Ethan, you don't leave fish to find fish!" Aha, you missed a word... [Feeding]... 'You don't leave Feeding fish to find fish.' If they aren't eating, pack your &$*# and start looking for the next pod. Smallies are a little less discerning. They like to keep their bedroom clean. So if something comes close, even if they aren't hungry, they'd like to move it outside...a little vacuuming and zing...off to the races.
It's too good in northern Michigan to stay at home for Memorial Weekend! We have so many opportunities at our finger tips. In between all the fishing, and barbequing, and family time this weekend, please take a moment to remember the real reason for this holiday. And it's not Veterans Day, that happens in the fall. Memorial Day is for the fallen - the brothers and sisters that didn't make it home. Those that paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can continue to live and breathe this wonderful northern Michigan air, and call this place home.
I'm going to leave this little tidbit for a sneak peak of what is yet to come. Ian knocked on this donks door the other night, and he came out to play. Pretty sure it's a sin to mouse before drakes and hex are winding down, but with a fish like that, who the hell cares!