Fishing Report 4/1/23

The rain last night and this morning have brought up the area's rivers with more precipitation in the forecast. We are looking good for a solid start to April and improving river conditions for both migratory fish and stream trout fishing with streamers.

The Big Manistee has been seeing a trickle of fish moving in so far, but I expect to see more of a run after the rains and as the water continues to climb, so will the migratory fish.  Look for more consistency in the big river as temps will break 40 degrees coming week and we get more rain and color to the river. Many of the winter fish have spawned and left and we are seeing dropbacks coming out of Bear Creek in the lower river.  We are still seeing about a 75-80 percent catch rate of wild steelhead versus hatchery fish.  I would expect that to change in the next several weeks as it seems the hatchery fish show up later in the spring season.  It is great to see the DNR Creel Clerks gathering information on the Big Manistee.  This should provide some great insight on catch rates, and wild vs. hatchery fish which all aids in better management for this resource. 

Both the Betsie River and Bear Creek should be peaking in the next few days with water temps prime and this push of rain should trigger a boost in fish heading up to spawn.  Reports from this week have been good from these smaller tributaries as the fish are heading up, hitting the gravel to spawn and dropping out of the system.  The fish are still pretty scattered, but focus on the dark water above and below gravel.  

Boardman River is still seeing bright fish show up daily, and with such a short distance from the Lake it is pretty apparent when the fresh fish show up.  Fishing has been good all week and looks like it will be solid next week as well.  

As with all the migratory fish, egg patterns and beads work consistently throughout the spring.  Black stoneflies have been hatching daily on all the rivers, so stonefly nymphs have been very productive, caddis nymphs, and fry patterns are a must for every box.

The Upper Manistee and Ausable Rivers should continue to fish well with streamers and nymphs if you are looking for some trout action.  Olive, white, and yellow/tan streamers have been most productive and an array of buggy nymphs- zug bug, prince nymphs, hare’s ear have been staples in the past few weeks.

Reminder to get your annual fishing license!  The upper portion of the Platte River, to the Hatchery, opens today!  Portions of the Upper Manistee open today as well!  Get out and fish and enjoy the next few weeks of spring.