July 7, 2023 Northern Angler Fishing Report
I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July celebration as we slowly start to shift gears from the late evening trout fishing to early morning trout fishing. It has been a wonderful summer so far here in the Traverse City area and we are so thankful to have such a diverse fishery here in Northern Michigan. We can certainly use some more precipitation, but fishing has been good on local rivers, and lakes.
The Upper Manistee still has some hex dribbling off in certain areas, but it is wrapping up and the isonychias are continuing to roll in the early evening hours. We finally have a little break in the heat and the water temps look good for the weekend. Tricos will be starting in the next week or so and the stoneflies during the day and evening are getting the fish to look up for a big, tasty treat. Look for beetles, ant and terrestrial type patterns to get the fish to look up. I would say always carry a hex in the box for some daytime occurrences that sometimes happen in July. The river is fishing better than it has in the past several years after the didymo receded over the winter. Make sure you keep an eye on water temps, but early mornings and late evenings into the night for a “mouse mission” should be safe and productive. Ed McCoy’s hex and iso patterns have been productive, and the Lafkas daytime drakes are working well for searching patterns. Try twitching a bigger stone or stimulator pattern for some exciting takes, that is always fun.
The Boardman has also been fishing great and the lower section has hex going during the twilight times and just after dark. It is fun to fish for browns taking hex while watching the fireworks overhead. The temps on the Boardman remain great and it is our coldest running river in the area, especially after the Brown Bridge Dam removal. It is great to have such a nice resource so close to town. Small streamers, soft hackles and nymphs have all been producing fish. Start to look for smaller rubber legged dry patterns such as hippie stompers, chubby chernobyls, pmx’s and terrestrial patterns to produce fish for the remainder of the summer. This is such a great stream to go wade and hit a few spots before or after work.
Lower Manistee River
Smallmouth fishing has been heating up on the big Mansitee. Streamers have been more productive than topwater for the past few weeks, but look for the fish to look up for Boogle Bugs, frog patterns, and foam sliders. The water is very low and clear and the fish seem to be really spread out. The salmon fry have mostly left the river and we had a good crayfish molt over the last full moon, so the fish have been fed and will be looking for more protein sources in the next few weeks. This is such a fun fishery that will test your casting and fishing ability.
Overall, the local lakes are all fishing well in the early morning and just before dark with poppers and streamers. We have been hitting different lakes a few evenings and it has been fun to get the post spawn bass and bluegill on the fly! This is also a great time to look at google earth and explore some of the creeks that feed into the local rivers and bust some brush to find some hungry trout that are moving to cold water. This is a fun and rewarding way to chase trout in July and August. Get out and fish!