The warm up and precipitation in the past week has sparked some steelhead action on the local rivers. Warmer temps and some actual spring like weather is a welcome change. What snow we have is starting to melt and the steelhead are starting their spring migration. The Upper Manistee roads are really rough with the thaw and the logging activity over that way, but if you have the jones to chase some trout and avoid crowds, that might be a good call too. Streamer fishing with a slower, more deliberate retrieve is productive. Nymphing with stoneflies, prince nymphs, and buggy looking nymphs is a good technique to utilize in the next several weeks. Look for stoneflies hatching on the warmer days. We saw quite a few hatching on Sunday with the 50 degree weather.
Winter steelhead have started spawning in some of the smaller Lake Michigan tributaries and creeks. Bear Creek, Betsie, Platte, and PM have all seen spawning activity in the past couple of weeks. The bulk of the run is still coming but the winter fish are doing their thing and hitting the spanwing gravel. Flows are up a bit on the Big Manistee and the fishing is improving daily. We have been having good success on hex nymphs, fry patterns, yarn eggs, stonefly nymphs and green caddis. It seems like the nymph bite is a bit better than the egg bite, at least it was a couple of days last week. Don’t be afraid to keep switching up patterns to see what the fish are keying in on. Getting on an egg or bead only rut is not always the most productive approach.
The next week’s weather forecast looks great for the migratory fishing. More rain and wet weather forecast in the next two weeks should kick off a great spring. Get out and fish!