As most people around Northern Michigan await consistent dry fly fishing, my clients and I have been on the streamer pull the last week with solid results. More high water has come and with it a very strong bite in many areas. Not every day is good in every section but by moving around and chasing the right water conditions we have been successful. Yellow has been the best color for me, with white, chartreuse and olive all having their moments.
John Lowman, pictured above, took advantage of a flexible schedule and was able to sneak away one day this past week. We took advantage of the favorable conditions and put several nice fish in the boat including his personal best, a 27 inch male. A good day of big water fishing is seeing an average of a fish per hour which has been common. What big water lacks in density it makes up for in average size of fish, with an opportunity at the fish of a lifetime.
Ken with a 23″ Brown that came on a yellow super cougar
As the water temperatures around the state hold in the 50’s look for good streamer fishing to continue. Brown trout are as aggressive as you will see them when temps are in the 50’s and we should have a few more weeks of it. Once water temps start hitting the 60 degree mark streamer fishing will lose consistency until September on the Au Sable River and Manistee River but it will continue to be strong on the colder rivers like the Boardman, Little Manistee and Pine rivers into June and later.
The streamer bite should pick up this week for smallmouth on local lakes as the water temps keep climbing. I got out with Jon Stefinchew last week and found a few fish. Jon got a nice pike on the streamer but the bass were less active and fell to a ned rig on a spinning rod.
The bass fishing in Northern Michigan is nothing less than spectacular; clear water, big fish and big numbers of fish. the visual aspect of fishing these clear lakes is what does it for me. The structure on the sand flats is obvious and a well placed cast usually shows a fish. I usually fish full intermediate lines in less than 10 feet of water to allow for slower more precise presentations. When I get into 10 foot of water or more I use a sink tip, usually a 250 grain on my 8 weight and a 300 grain on a 9 weight, unless high winds push me to a 350 grain on the 9 weight. In a couple of weeks, when the bugs start hatching on the lakes, I will also carry a floating line for both an 8 and 9 weight rod. It’s not uncommon for me to go to the lake with 6 rods rigged and ready for action.
Fishing a river is much easier than lake fishing. Distance casting is very important and you must have enough fly lines and flies to cover depths of 1 foot to 15 feet of water. Usually when fish are in 15 feet of water or more I switch to a spinning rod. My fly box is also loaded with lead eyed files of different weights, medium lead eyes all the way down to bead chain eyes, and several unweighted flies as well. The lake fishing presents many more challenges to a fly angler.
I’m working with a buddy currently and we should have some film footage of bass fishing in Northern Michigan on this site before long. I’ve also filmed a fly tying video which should be available soon, also on this site.