Wow, we've gotten a lot of rain in the past few days! Even though many of our rivers are now running high and dirty, most of us are pretty happy to see the rain this week as our rivers were running low heading into the spring season.
The Big Manistee
The Big Manistee below Tippy is running high but still has great color with temps hovering around 37-39 degrees. We have some cold temperatures returning for the next 5 days and then after that, things start to look more like spring. There seems to be a decent number of fish around and the bite has been inconsistent, but as fresh fish show up they seem to turn on. The fish are in the holes and runs.
The Upper Manistee
Although many die-hard streamer anglers have been hitting the water lately, the early season streamer bite has been inconsistent at best. Water temps are still hovering in the high 30s keeping things from kicking into gear. If you do find a fish or two, they're likely to be dandy. With this high water you don't always have to go huge but you'll definitely want flies that offer a stark contrast so fish can easily find them. My first choice would be black followed by yellow but look to go natural as the water levels drop back into shape!
The Pere Marquette
Like most of our rivers, the PM is up and running dirty but that doesn't mean there are not fish to be caught. Fresh steelhead are moving in daily to join the fish that have wintered over. As the water temps continue to creep up, expect to see these fish transitioning from slow winter holes towards gravel. Egg patterns have been primary but don't forget to pack caddis and stones. You can expect to find some trout mixed in with the steelhead this time of year. They love eggs just as much as the steelhead but don't be afraid to experiment with some different nymph patterns.