Spring steelhead season is definitely kicking off with the warm weather and sunshine we have seen this week has lifted our spirits and has put the prospect of steelhead or streamer fishing for trout on the immediate horizon.
The Manistee below Tippy dam is running at a normal flow and will warm up quickly without a large amount of ice and snow up above. Water temperatures are in the upper 30’s, which is pretty normal for this time of year. There is a mixture of winter fish and fresh fish scattered throughout the system. Look for more of a low, clear spring conditions unless we get some major snow or rains. Nymphs such as black stoneflies, hex, caddis, pheasant tails, sts buggers work well as a trailer fly to an egg pattern or bead. The water is fairly clear, but below Pine Creek and Bear Creek are coloring up and the water below Bear seems to be pretty swollen.. I noticed the tributaries to Bear Creek are starting to flow and that will continue through the spring and the swamps start to break loose of the winter grip. Covering water is always a key in the spring and even though the sunny days are really nice, fishing seems to be better on the cloudy, nasty days.
The Betsie River has been low and clear with most of the fish coming from down in the lower sections. Most of the winter fish have spawned and left, so make sure to stay off the redds when wading. The wild fish population in this river is really important to the survival of our wild steelhead. Look for the next weather pattern to really get this river going.
Bear Creek is starting its spring swell and the fish should be firing there, much like the Betsie, look for the next storm or rain to get things moving on this river as well. Again, Bear Creek is very critical to our wild fish population and survival, so tread lightly.
Trout Fishing with streamers and nymphs has been worth the effort on most days as of late on the Upper Manistee and AuSable sections that are open. If you are looking for some tranquility, that is the place to be for the early spring season.
Wherever you fish in the next week or so, enjoy and take advantage of the warm-ups and get out to shake off the cabin fever!There are a few spring steelhead dates available, so if you are looking for a spring steelhead trip, give the shop a call and get on the calendar. The last two weeks of March have some availability due to some cancellations and these should be really good dates, particularly with the mild spring we are experiencing so far. It is not too early to be looking at later spring and summer trout and smallmouth dates.
The shop has all the cold weather gear you need with some great new products from Skwala being shown this coming weekend at the MFFC Show in Warren, MI on Saturday and Sunday. See you soon!