Fishing Report 5/5/23

This week has brought with it a wide variety of weather conditions.  May in Northern Michigan… It may rain, it may snow, it may be in the 70’s.  That is exactly what the weather has been since Trout Opener.  This has made it difficult to predict any hatches, but starting on Saturday, things look fantastic for the month of May.   

Upper Manistee had incredible hendrickson activity with the days leading up to the Saturday of trout opener.  It is so nice to hear about all the shop customers and friends that had such great opening day fishing.  Bugs were plentiful and the fish were happy.  The cold front came in on Sunday and that did put the fish in a bit of a funk, but the staff all fished and the streamer bite did save the day, but not a super bite with the sleet and snow showing up late in the day and early in the week.  This weekend’s forecast could not be better for the return of bugs and happy fish.  Look for hendricksons to finish out with some bwo’s, black caddis, and occasional stonefly activity.  Streamers in the morning and afternoon dries; the perfect trout combination. Sulphurs should be on the horizon very soon and be sure to look for the spring mushrooms along the river corridor.  These can be a special woodland bounty incorporated in your next meal. 

The reports of didymo on the upper Manistee are really outstanding and in a very positive way.  Over the winter, the large, thick algae mats have receded and have once again exposed the gravel runs and river bottom that was fully covered last spring, summer and autumn. It appears that the same holds true for the sections of the Boardman River that had experienced massive blooms last August and throughout the fall.  This is great news!!  It is still necessary to CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY your gear, waders, boats, when traveling between river systems to stop the spread.  

The Boardman River upper sections opened last week and the reports were great for nymphing, streamer fishing, and some dry fly and wet fly activity.  Part of the Northern Angler staff floated a large section of river on Sunday and even with the cold front experienced some success on trout.  Reports that the gravel sections on the Upper Boardman that were covered in didymo mats are again very positive, as they are showing signs of clearing up and once again exposing the gravel.  Look for the trout fishing to really get going this weekend and keep an eye out for hendricksons, caddis and stoneflies.  Don’t forget the streamers and soft hackles!

The lower Manistee will be heating up for the pre-spawn smallie bite with some possible pike encounters and maybe a steelhead or two still kicking around.  There was a fatality on the river last Monday by Tippy and authorities had to greatly reduce the flows to recover the body, so it appears the steelhead that were still spawning dropped out with that flow event. It is always a good idea to wear a life jacket, especially when fishing alone! It is a sobering reminder that accidents do happen with dire consequences..

We do have guide dates available in May and June for both trout and smallies!  Whether you are a seasoned angler, or new to the sport, a guide trip is a great way to see some water that you have yet to explore and learn a new skill.  Our professional guide staff is happy to get you on the water and take advantage of the incredible fishing that will take place in the next 12 weeks.  Call the shop and book a guided trip today! 

When hitting the local rivers for trout, make sure you have some dry flies, wet flies, and a streamer or two.  Get out and fish!  It is always good to get out, do some exploring and refamiliarize yourself with the stream and enjoy the incredible scenery and trout haunts we are so lucky to have here in Northern Michigan.  Thanks for supporting our small, independent shop and guide services.