We are at the peak of the "24/7 season." Trout fishing is good all day and all night. No matter how you approach the river, anytime of day can be productive. So much fun having all these opportunities available. Mousing, hatch matching, streamer fishing, prospecting dries, indicator nymphing, euro nymphing, trout spey, soft hackles, and even terrestrial fishing are all in play. It's an incredible time to be a fly angler in the great state of Michigan. We truly have it good, and we are excited to be smack dab in the middle of the best fishing window of the year!
The hatches have been great. Plenty of Sulphers, Cahills, March Browns, Brown Drakes, Grey Drakes, Mahogonies, Caddis, Stoneflies, and very soon (probably already started in spots) the almighty Hex. Make sure you've got plenty of each when you get out, since you will likely see many different types of bugs going at once. I really enjoy fishing Cahills and Sulphers before the Hex and Browns start, and can actually be pretty good before the lights go out. Usually it's good for a 15" or 16" (sometimes bigger) fish as a warm-up before the big show.
Grey Drakes have been really strong in most rivers, namely the Muskegon. The evening hatch is pretty epic, but in true Grey Drake fashion, they can quickly fly back into the trees just before what should be an epic spinner fall. I swear they are some of the most fickle bugs we deal with. But, can be a pretty remarkable hatch if you hit it right.
Brown Drakes have been solid from what we've heard, and are peaking basically this week. Look for them hovering in mass right at the tree tops as the sun sets at 9:30. For Drakes, I personally like a 9' 3x leader and 2.5' of 4x mono tippet. The 3x leader has enough backbone to power the fly, and the delicate tippet lets the fly drop nice and soft. So much fun.
During the day, little caddis are always fun to fish, especially little pupa and soft hackles on the swing. Any little beadhead soft hackle or caddis pupa swung at the bottom of a shallow riffle can be super productive and fun. Also swinging grey drake nymphs, tiny woolly buggers, and small salmon smolt can be effective.
Nymphing during the daylight hours is great right now, with the abundance of mature nymphs all over the river bottom. They are moving, crawling, swimming, and floating along all day, and the trout simply gorge on them as they drift by. Hares ear, pheasant tail, caddis pupa, stoneflies, and walts worm type stuff has all been working just fine. Remember the old adage; it's 10% fly, 90% drift.
Streamer fishing has been awesome with the high water, but the past few days it's been tough, with the exception of a 2 hour window we had on Sunday. Some clouds rolled in and it was absolutely incredible, but there was a lot of swiping and not much eating, except for this 20 inch rainbow that devoured a game changer in front of a logjam. One of the most intense streamer eats I've ever seen.
Got some on black, white, and yellow flies too. With the water about to rise again this week, the streamer bite will no doubt be solid.
Mousing is also a great way to catch the big ones. Staying out late can yield some tremendous results.
Smallmouth are almost always willing to play, and we had some really good action last week. Water was low, so any shaded deep water adjacent to wood was the ticket, along with a soft, stealthy presentation. Got a few good ones on poppers too. We've got plenty of open dates for guide trips, so don't hesitate to reach out and schedule your float trip!
Life has been good! Other than the the impending second wave of covid 19, civil unrest, sky rocketing anxiety, and the overall sense of dread felt by millions each day, the fishing has been great! Very important to get out and enjoy what we've got, because we are so fortunate to have such rich resources around here. Get out and take full advantage if you can, because things have been extraordinary, and will only get better from here.
The shops are loaded with flies and tackle for the upcoming hatches. Swing by and get geared up for your weekend romp, and please make sure to wear a face mask in the shops. Keep in mind our new hours listed on our homepage. Thanks for reading, good luck when you get out! -Erich