Well we've certainly reached the dog days of summer here in Northern Michigan! Although the weather hasn't felt like August lately, the fishing certainly has with low, clear water and fish acting a little more reluctant than normal. I can't believe how cool the nights have been but it has been wonderful to have the cool breeze blowing through the house at night.
This is the time of year I really have to convince people not to force it on the water. There are just days this time of year when fishing is going to be slow. If you can, branch out from your normal stomping grounds! This is the time of year I really like to explore the smaller streams and creeks around Northern Michigan. The water is going to be cold and the fish can be aggressive. Sure, you may not be catching huge browns all day but on a little three-weight rod brook trout are a riot.
Beyond trout, there are still some great warm-water opportunities out there for those of you not thrilled with the idea of bushwhacking through the northern woods for wild brook trout. Head to your local lake armed with some poppers and you are sure to scratch that itch with some eager bass & bluegill!
For those of you who love to see trout coming to the surface, this is a a great time to be on the water. Terrestrials and Tricos are about all you'll have to carry with you for a fun day on the water. I know the temptation is there to throw large hoppers all the time but many of use have more consistent success with smaller offerings like beetles and ants.
If you're willing to rig up a nymph rod, you are likely to have some fun with the fish not willing to come up to the surface. Although a little more water would help, we're still finding plenty of fish in the normal spots. Stoneflies, pheasant tails, and hare's ear nymphs have all produced. You may be temped to fish a bright shiny fly but I usually prefer more natural looking offerings in the low/clear water of late summer.
If you're headed to the local lake or pond for some fun with Bass & Bluegill remember to keep things simple. Poppers, spiders and leech patterns will all catch fish. If you are willing to throw two flies, tie a dropper to the bend of your hook with 2' of tippet and keep plenty of tension during your retrieve. The noise of the popper will bring fish to investigate and they'll often take the dropper instead of the surface fly.