Fishing Report 6/18/21

We’re on the verge of another summer weekend here in Northern Michigan and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful one! Thankfully, we’ve seen some of the scorching daytime highs subside allowing our rivers to cool back down to more manageable levels. We’ve even had some nice pop-up rainstorms to boot. Please know that this is not the time to relax regarding river temperatures. We implore you to be mindful anglers and keep checking those temperatures before you head to the river and once you get there as well! 

In terms of hatches, the heat we’ve been experiencing has started to push the big bugs out on most parts of the Manistee. Things are still sporadic and can happen quickly on the water so you’ll want to be in a confidence spot when things get going because it may not last very long. Isonychias are staying active with duns and spinners getting some great attention from active trout. Brown Drake spinners are still around as well keeping things interesting and feeling a bit like a smorgus board. You may see some very pale mayflies as well, those are light cahills and they can provide some great action when the bigger bugs are being finicky. In terms of Hex, they’ve been popping but again not yet in huge numbers. This can be a great advantage as an angler however and fish are more likely to find your fly when there are less bugs on the water. It’s all a balancing act so make sure you bring more than just your hex box to the water this time of year because a lot of things can happen!

Dry Flies

  • McCoy’s All Day ISO #10-12 (both grey & cherry)
  • McCoy’s Boondoggle ISO #10 
  • McCoy’s All-Day Hex
  • McCoy’s Boondoggle Hex
  • Alex’s Palmered Parachute #10
  • Robert’s Yellow Drake #6-16
  • Ted’s Tilt-Shoot Iso #10-12
  • Parachute Brown Drake 
  • Opal Drake #10-14
  • Hex Spinners 

Check out our staff picked Hex Assortment here!

The Boardman

If you read last week’s report you know that The Boardman has also been dealing with unseasonable heat issues. Unfortunately the USGS gauges available to us do not measure the temperature but we’re lucky to have an army of friends and customers that keep us well informed. 

Like the manistee, temps have subsided but we’re asking everyone to stay vigilant. Anglers finding success on The Boardman are not waiting out for the classic hatches like on the Upper Manistee, instead they’re working to find active fish feeding sporadically on the surface or eating nymphs. 

Dry Flies:

  • Elk Hair Caddis #10-14 (tan, pearl)
  • Opal Caddis #10-12
  • Parachute Patriot #12-16
  • Royal Wulff #10-14
  • Chubby Chernobyl #12-14 (peach, purple, tan, black)
  • Borcher’s Drake #10-14
  • Parachute Adams #12-16


  • Pheasant Tail #12-16
  • Hare’s Ear #12-16
  • Prince Nymph #8-12
  • Pat’s Rubber Legs #6-10

Inland Lakes

The inland lakes of Northern Michigan are one of the truly untapped wonders in the fly fishing world. We are so lucky to have so many places to sneak away where there are tons of eager gamefish willing to eat a fly. If you’ve never caught a smallmouth on a fly rod, this is a fantastic time to do so. Subsurface minnow patterns on a sinking line are your best bet but I like to keep a popper rod rigged and ready for the occasional fish that breaks the surface. Largemouth fishing is also heating up and you may also be able to find some cooler water in the morning with willing pike for another week or so before they start to go deep. 


  • Zoo Cougars #2-4 (white) 
  • Murdoch’s Minnow #2-6 (chartreuse/white, gold/white, olive/white)
  • Matt’s Minion #2-4 (white, tan/white, olive/white)
  • Near-enough crayfish #2-6 (tan, black, olive)
  • Craw Daddy #2-6 (black, olive, brown)
  • Boogle Bugs #2-6 (yellow, olive, orange, chartreuse) 
  • Rubber Spiders #10-12 (black/white)