Happy December…………….look out for Old Man Winter, he is about to get a good grip on us here in Northern Michigan! Winter conditions are finally on the way and look to be here to stay, with temps dropping in to the 20’s for at least a week and a touch of the white stuff to boot. Look for this trend to hold on for a while, but as things stable out after this arctic clipper, winter fishing should get back on track.
Steelhead fishing the past couple weeks has been on and off, but we are still finding some great Winter fish if you are willing to grind it out and earn your takes. Indicator fishing has been producing the best results as of late, slowing down those presentations and getting flies right in their face has been a great key to success as well as fishing the proper winter holding lies. Right now fish have been keying in on 4-6 foot deep moderate to slow pace of flow, touch of wood for cover and look out! As Winter progresses look for fish to shift to those crawling bubble lines……slower the better! The Swung fly is still getting fish to chase and grab, but you need to be patient and cover water thoroughly, slowing down those presentations as much as possible. Cut down your swing angles a bit and steepen those casts, and mend keeping those flies moving slow and getting deep quick. Fly size right now has been shrinking up and getting a little more natural in presentation and style as the water has been pretty clear as of late, but depending on certain tributaries you might be fishing(Boardman, Betsie and Platte Rivers) water clarity might be slightly different.
Trout fishing on the Upper Manistee River has been ok on certain weather days as of late, but we are slowly moving to Winter conditions and fish are starting to act like they need a little vacation! They still need to bulk up for the big freeze, so keep an eye out for good weather days and fish peak temps during those days and you can find some great winter fish to chase a streamer or take a nice fat stonefly imitation under an indicator! Fish lately have been looking for those keychain size flies in natural colors depending on tributary, but small lead eyes or chains have been the go to combo. The Pere Marquette and Muskegon Rivers have been fishing about the same, but temps are a bit warmer the further south ya go, so take that in mind when planning some late Winter Fishing.
There will still be some great Steelhead and Trout fishing opportunities before the Mitten freezes for good and we brake out the vices and tie till we die, so give us a shout if you want to enjoy some solitude with little crowds and some big fish to boot. We are starting up our Winter fly tying classes this coming week, so if you are interested contact the shop for details and our annual men’s and women’s night are coming up so be sure to stop in the shop for some great food, drinks, and deals on holiday gifts as Christmas is just around the corner!
Tight Lines….n Happy Holidays,