Fishing Report 5/21/21

We’ve had some fun (and hot!) days out on the local rivers and inland lakes the past week. It looks like we”ll cool down next week but only marginally. At least there is some rain in the forecast, our rivers continue to run much lower than what we’re used to seeing this time of year. 

The Boardman

The Boardman, like many of our other rivers, is running low and averaging daytime temps between 55 & 60 degrees. We were quite surprised to find it warm enough to wet-wade this early in the season but it did feel wonderful as we hit over 85 degrees in Traverse City the past few days. Sporadic, splashy rises are common this time of year but we found no reason to switch to dry flies until the evening hours when more bugs are on the water. Streamers are producing plenty of action but the fish are much more likely to chase & commit in the low light of the morning. Mid-day you’ll still be able to find some fish but they will not be willing to move very far to eat. Nymphs and soft hackles have been the most productive this time of year when the fish prefer to sulk down in deeper water or in the oxygen-rich riffle sections. 


The Manistee

Most anglers looking for rising trout have been focusing their efforts on the Upper Manistee River. Right now we're seeing caddis(12-16), mahoganies (14-16) and sulphurs (14-16). Streamer fishing is still worth it especially with smaller offerings. Water temps have been hovering around 60 degrees which is ideal but most of the fish rising are smaller. If you can, try to stay right up until dark, that's when the bigger fish will come out looking for spinners. 

Flies to have:

Streamers: Mini Sex Dungeon, Sculpzilla, Peanut Envy, Michigan Wet Skunks

Dries: Borcher’s Drakes (12-16), Robert’s Yellow Drake (14-16), Elk Hair Caddis (14-16), Parachute Patriot (14-16), Alex’s Biot Sulphur (14-18), Mahogany Sprout Emerger (14-16), Rusty Spinner (12-16)

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs (6-10), Prince Nymph (8-12), Hare’s Ear (14-16), Sparrow Nymph (8-12), Peacock & Partrige (14-16)

Inland Lakes

Most of our inland lakes have been starting to pick up and we've enjoyed catching large mouth bass & pike. For the most part, it's still a little early to go throw poppers for bass but they'll happily eat subsurface offerings. If you can't find any fish shallow, concentrate your efforts on the drop offs mid-day where the depth changes from about 4-8 feet. The Scientific Anglers Titan Triple Density Lines are perfect for these presentations. Pike are still aggressive and happy to chase large deceiver-style flies. Every lake is going to be different so don't be afraid to experiment with colors. The classic 

Flies to have:

Bass: Jaw Breaker (olive & black), Grim Reaper (olive & black)

Pike: Deceivers, Double Deceivers, Bunny flies