River Report - April 6, 2017
The snow melted this week. Almost all of it. And it opened up some wonderful opportunities. And although most of Michigan is getting hammered with an April Snowstorm currently, Boyne is sitting in a little bubble of no snow, and I'm going to continue to take advantage of it with 70+ degrees this weekend.
No snow means a couple things for northern Michigan. 1) The frost goes pretty quick when we have warm days, which means warm dirt. 2) When the rain hits, like it did, the warm dirt equals warm water, which equals warmer river temps. and 3) No snow means two tracks.
Spring hit pretty strong this week. Guiding & personally, I was on quite a few different pieces of water this week. Black stoneflies were in the air on the warmer days. Chasin' steelhead on the cooler days. I ran the setter on some migratory woodcock and early season grouse while I still can - and did well. And I drove two tracks and listened to spring peepers - my final cue that spring has arrived.
Those two tracks offer something long anticipated throughout the winter months - new water. And I'm not just talking access to water that I've fished before - I'm talking NEW water. I grew up in northern Michigan and have been fishing these systems since I was a kid, and I still manage to find myself exploring each spring. That's one of the benefits of managing an outfitter and being a guide in an area such as the tip of the mitt.
We have a lot of water: Boyne River 22mi; Jordan River 24.9mi; Sturgeon River 40.8mi; Pigeon River 37.9mi; Black River 78.8mi; Maple River 6mi; Bear River 14.7mi; Manistee River 190mi ...for the sake of argument, let's keep it to the...Upper Manistee 38mi. That's 263.1 miles of quality 'mainstream' trout water...and that doesn't include the additional miles and miles of seasonal tributaries that open at the end of this month. We like to joke about a question we were asked... "What's north of the Au Sable?" Well, to put it in perspective, that 263mi+ I just mentioned is 20% MORE water than the entire mainstream, south branch, and north branch of the Au Sable... combined!
So when I say I find new water... I always do. I always try to make it a point to learn new water each spring. Sometimes it's a bust, sometimes it's a hidden secret never discussed, but usually, 'new water' falls somewhere in the middle... a respectable piece of trout water always ready to be explored.
But eventually, I regress. I return to my stretches and spots that I hold dear...however, each year I come armed with new knowledge, new understanding, new potential, and I learn those pieces of water ever so more intimately than the year before.
During the season, I still manage to get out and search for new water, but sometimes it's nice to reminisce on a piece of water you've been fishing since you were a kid.
Steelhead are starting strong in N.Mich and will peak around mid-month. Black stoneflies and Blue Wing Olives have started on several streams, and fish are starting to break the surface. Heck...hennies will be here before we know it. The streamer bite is better and better each day. The water temps are in the mid-40s and things continue to improve. Get out...get out now!
On a side note...we are now a YETI dealer. We've got what you need to keep things cold.
See you on the water~