The Beginning of June
Northern Michigan has been a whirlwind of weather this spring. With the jet stream positioned directly above us, there has been little consistency, plenty of rain, and temperature swings. However, hope is not lost...and those anglers who have been willing to endure the daily changes without getting discouraged have been rewarded for their efforts.
Consistency has been the limiting factor. There have been some really good days, with a lot of days in between where we've had to work for it.
Diversity is key - whether it is the ability to change your technique mid-day in order to match conditions, or giving up a day of trout in order to chase bass or panfish. Compared to "normal" springs - whatever that means - the day to day rise has proven difficult... cold weather keeps the bugs in the trees, rain kills off the spinners, or whatever it may be - perhaps it's just that the trout don't want to look up. With that said, anglers who have been successful have changed things up... instead of dead drifting a dry fly through a proven lie, we've been swinging soft hackles across riffles, nymphing deep runs, and ripping streamers in a month when the dry fly is generally queen (Let's be honest... in June, dry fly is king) - some have even been throwing the hairball at midnight a few weeks earlier than they normally would. The numbers have been lower, but quality has been good.
The dry fly game is focused on sulphurs, mahoganies, and borchers drakes this week. Hendricksons are finally tapering off - late I may add, but the June bugs are starting to come into play. Don't neglect having a variety of stonefly patterns - many anglers have kicked themselves because all they brought were fly boxes of duns and spinners. With the higher water levels, thrashing a stonefly pattern may be just enough to get an aggressive surface take from a hungry trout.
In addition to changing up the trout game, anglers have started chasing some warmwater fish with the warming temperatures. And even when the trout may be fussy, the panfish and bass fishing has been extremely productive. Due to the high water, a lot of places historically wadeable are too deep for the walk-in angler...but there are a few places in northern Michigan, like Waugoshance Point, where the increased water is welcome. The shallow shoal is nearly covered now, and a lot of the back bays and pockets which were high and dry a few years ago are now able to harbor fish, which should only increase productivity over the next few years. On top of that, it allows the larger fish to come in a little closer to shore, which allows anglers opportunities at some truly nice smallmouth bass.
June is here. Forget about the weather - it's fishing season! Get out and put some time in, and crack the code - it'll make you a better angler and give you some wonderful experiences at the same time. E