River Report - March 30, 2017
Hi folks! Welcome back to spring. It's getting warm in northern Michigan, and that mean's we are gearing up for another wonderful season here in the tip of the mitt. I have a few go-to signs that spring is coming... little black stoneflies, the return of eagles, trumpeter swams, and sandhill cranes, and the peet of the woodcock. All these things tell me spring is on it's way, and I look forward to them each year.
I've had a couple opportunities lately to get out on the water and enjoy some early spring fishing. Steelhead are still the prime target right now, with the southern rivers at peak or past by this point due to the early melt. We have some skippers in the systems up this way, but we are really just getting started - the normal gravel hasn't really be touched much yet. Water temps are climbing into the 40s now, so it won't be long. Eggs and nymphs are the go-to, and make sure to hit the buckets, as the trout are keying in on the egg buffet floating down the river.
Trout fishing is definitely on the up-and-up. Nymphing is producing those fish behind spawning steelhead, but with the increase in water temps, streamer fishing is definitely starting to improve. On those slow days, don't be afraid to dredge...get those flies near the bottom and fish them slow - a floating line with a long leader can help in these cases as you have better control of the fly on the bottom. As the temps climb, switch to the streamer lines and find those fish that are becoming more aggressive as their metabolisms increase. Flies big and small produce fish in spring conditions, and directly impact your overall goals... numbers - fish smaller bugs; quality - fish larger bugs. Andrew managed to get this nice one last week on a slow-twitched grumpy muppet.
Little black stones are one of those bugs that I really look forward to. No, I don't consider it a key species in my box, nor do I spend more time fishing it rather than going under the surface. However, it is a spring indicator for me, and every so often, you nail an emergence that brings fish to the surface. Last week I was able to get a couple up top on LBS and was pretty geeked to start my dry fly season in mid-March.
We've received most of our spring shipments in for the season, and still have some new stuff rolling in each week. I'm really happy with the offerings this year - full fly bins courtesy of Umpqua Feather Merchants, Catch Fly Fishing, and Montana Fly Company. Solid new pieces from Simms Fishing Products. The new X rod from Sage. And a few others that I'll just have to let you come in and check out yourself. We are open daily - come stop in and say 'Hi!'
Well... the eagles are back, the trumpeters have been flying by tootin' along, and the sandhill cranes are doing that weird dinosaur call thing they do in the fields that have yet to be planted. And the woodcock. The woodcock are starting to return and do their little peet and dance of spring courtship. The final key to the forthcoming season... spring peepers and hendricksons!
See you on the water~