River Report - June 3, 2016
Well it's June, and arguably one of the best months to be a fly angler in Michigan. But then again, the other 11 months are pretty dang good as well. However, the next month offers some of the best hatch-match dry fly fishing east of the Mississippi. Dry fly fishing is the name of the game, and with the pure bio-mass and bio-diversity of insect life that pours from our rivers night after night for the next few weeks, it's sure a dang good time to be on the river.
Sulphurs are still available on most of our rivers, and with continued emergences each night, along with spinners, trout are still looking for those light colored bugs. Mahoganies are probably the top producing mayfly on the water right now, just based on the fact of the numbers and the commonality across the watersheds. Gray drakes have started, and several good reports across a few of the systems have the next few days looking like a good time to spend on the water with Gray drake spinners. On the smaller rivers, finding a good Gray drake spinner fall can sometimes be like trying to find a needle in a haystack since the females tend to fly a signicant distance upstream before dropping their eggs. However, if you can find spinners on the water, you can usually find trout feeding on them. The spinners typically congregate on faster stretches and riffles, so target those areas.
Isonychia, or Iso's, are the next Big thing. And when I say big, it's because they are the next of the major drake species. The drakes - Siphlonurus, Isonychia, Ephemera, & Hexagenia - Gray Drakes, Iso's/Slate Drakes, Brown Drakes & Hex - can get even the most seasoned dry fly veteran weak in the knees. Iso's typically are more consistent that the Gray drakes, and provide fairly dependable action throughout the month of June and into July. Even when hatching in smaller numbers, the trout seem to be looking for them. We always seem to come back to the discussion each year as to why the trout key in on Iso's as they do. Some of us think it's because they are significantly easier for a trout to profile a dark colored spinner against the 'blue hour' dusk sky, rather than a gray or lighter colored mayfly. Others of us just go the easy way out and say "they just taste good." Either way, the trout seem to look for them more so than other bugs during these months, especially in the earlier bit of the evening later in the month before Brown drakes and hex in the late hours.
Brown drakes are on deck. The Au Sable has them pretty much system wide at this point, and the Manistee is starting to see some smaller emergences here and there. We've seen a few coming off the beaver ponds of the upper Jordan, as the water temps are a little warmer than that of downstream. The big lakes have been kicking off drakes for a few days as well. Realistically, we are still a few solid days out before a good first emergence on most of the northern systems, and middle of next week to next weekend for some solid brown drake action in the tip of the mitt.
Waugoshance is still heating up well. The fish that had moved in prior to the holiday got beat up pretty bad, but the warmer weather has new fish coming in almost daily. The larger smallmouth are starting to show up and should do so for the better part of the next 2-3 weeks. Carp are starting to show up in better numbers as well cruising the shallows. Spawning activitiy has been limited, but should start more so in the coming week.
All in all, June is starting off with a bang, and we couldn't be more excited! It's nice to think we have a great summer ahead of us!