We are on the cusp of “Trout Opener” this weekend!! Time to get out and chase some trout with dry flies. This Saturday all the rivers and creeks open to fishing. The forecast looks great for opener and there have been some nice fish feeding on dries. The weather is about two weeks ahead with the warm temps we have experienced during the end of March and most of April. This spring has definitely been on the dry side and with the lack of snowpack from winter to melt, the area rivers are running low and clear, especially for this time of year. Due to the low water, some up the smaller tributaries and creeks that may typically be too high and blown out to fish are in great shape this year.
The Lower Manistee below Tippy Dam Fishing Report
Steelhead fishing is definitely winding down. With the warm weather and lack of precipitation the spring run never really peaked. I would say this is the lightest run we have seen in my 25 years of guiding. The steelhead trickled in throughout March and April and there was never a big push of fish. The water temps had the fish coming in and spawning and leaving in a very short period of time. Fishing downriver most of the spring, I found bright chrome hens completely spawned out that looked as though they were fall fish. Brightly colored micro egg and some natural looking nymph patterns as well as fry patterns have been productive for the drop back fish. Streamer fishing is producing a small number of decent sized trout below Tippy this spring. Suckers are spawning and those eggs will also provide a food source for the trout and drop back steelhead.
Upper Manistee River Report
The Upper Manistee is low and clear. Dry flies for Trout Opener!! The fish are definitely looking up with Hendricksons starting in the late afternoons any time after 3pm. We had some early black stoneflies, some smaller bwo’s and hennies throughout the day. Smaller streamers with a stealthy presentation should work if you like to fish streamers. Look for some of the classic streamer patterns and natural colors to produce in these conditions. Smaller streamers in a 1-3” size have been more productive on the upper reaches. Nymph fishing has been good too for the times when the fish are not looking up. Pheasant tail, stoneflies and natural looking nymphs have been working well.
Boardman River Report
The time we have all been waiting for… the water will be open this Saturday above Beitner Road. The upper water looks amazing for this time of year, almost at late summer levels. Nymphing, streamers and dries should work this weekend. Stoneflies, early caddis, bwo’s with some hendricksons in certain areas should have the fish looking up. Swinging soft hackles in the riffle sections can be extremely productive this time of year on the Boardman.
Have a fun and safe Trout Opener this weekend!