Phil the groundhog says 6 more weeks of Winter here in Northern Michigan, so get out the vices and start stacking materials! As we begin February and the final push of Winter; fly boxes are getting refilled as we beg Old Man Winter for just the slightest warm-up, so we can ease our sanity levels and make a few much needed casts!
Steelhead fishing has been pretty slow as of late with the cold snap that has draped itself over the Mitten, but there are some fish around to play with if you are willing to put the time in. This time of year can be slow so look to any temperature warm-ups for windows of opportunity. Best late winter colors are pinks and clown colors for eggs in smaller sizes, stone flies and steelhead jig flies in black and white variations. Vertical presentations are the way to go this time of year as steelhead like to sit in very slow lies and softer presentations are needed for success. Swung flies can work as well, just needs to be the right pace, and size and be right in their face for any success.
Trout fishing this time of year can be tough, but if you want to get a wiggle look to running indicators in slow Winter lies with a big ol fat stonefly pattern or a tungsten jig nymph plugged right to the bottom in searching pattern variations for best results. Fish do not want to move far for food so be patient and fish runs very thoroughly as it may take a dozen drifts to get a grab. This time of Winter can also be a good time to catch a big brown with his guard down stripping a big streamer. Food is scarce and big fish have to eat to survive, and sometimes with the right warm-up and conditions can produce some big fish……but remember it is not a numbers game as you may only get one shot a day so stay on point with every cast this time of year! Black is a great go to fly in Winter; but based on flows and stretch of river, colors and size my vary slightly. (I prefer keychain or smaller)
Flies at the Franklin will round out the tying season with Kevin Feenstra of Feenstra Guide Service on February 19, and our very own Evan Visuri will be spinning a few dries on March 5. Make sure you come by and learn some great local patterns and network with some of the fishiest guys around.
Spring Steelhead/trout is just around the corner, so if you are looking to get out once Old Man Winter finally loosens his icy grip, give us a shout as we are currently booking Spring Steelhead and Trout trips for the 2018 season. We have plenty of guide days available so give us a shout and get some days in the books. 231-933-4730
See ya out there,