Manistee River Trout Report
Upper Manistee River Trout Fishing report for the first week of May gave us some water, but can we please get some more seasonable temps! We have been stuck in a cycle of 40-50 degree weather this week and fluctuating water temps, not quite the change we were hoping for, however I will take the big bump in flow. The water got pretty high after some heavy rains earlier in the week and the river has already dropped quite a bit. Fishing has been up and down this week, kind of like the weather, but a little stability should get us going in the right direction.
So far the Upper Manistee River has been running low and clear this season, but we finally got some substantial precipitation this week and the river went on a steep rise. It has dropped 4-6″ already in most sections and has a pretty good stain to it right now. The streamer fishing has been pretty good on the drop so far as the fish quit hiding from the cold heavy flows and were on the prowl the past couple of days. We had success on a variety of flies and colors so I would argue there is not a hot fly, but how well can you move it! Yellows, White, White and Olive, Tan, all found fish and medium sized flies were the best overall.
Bait Fish patterns have been the most productive streamer patterns so far, but look for the Lamprey hatch to get going when our water temps maintain the 50 degree mark. With that being said streamer fishing is a searching game and playing with fly selection and various presentations is the name of the game. If it’s not working, change it up! Vary the fly size, retrieve, and fly color, each day has been different. The streamer fishing will continue to be good as long as the river holds some color, but as the water begins to drop, clear, and warm up, look for the insect activity to get the dry fly fishing fired up.
Dry Fly Fishing
As is the case with most cold fronts, the insect activity drops off substantially. This has been the case all week as water temps have been fluctuating from the mid 40’s to the low 50’s. The BWO’s in a size 18 have been the best hatch this week, with a few Hendrickson Duns still dribbling off. It feels like we are coming into the backside of the Henny hatch and I suspect we will be moving into a Caddis dominated week with the next warmup. Glossosoma Caddis (size 18-20) has been the predominant Caddis so far. There have been a few Brachycentrus (Mother’s Day Caddis in size 16-18) flying around, but there hasn’t been any significant hatching to speak of since the weekend. Make sure to be carrying your Henny Spinners and it’s now time to start thinking about Light Hendrickson’s and Suplhurs. It’s dry fly season now, and if you’re looking for the right hook to buy, check out Ed’s blog on hook choices. He lists some of his favorites.
This week I expect the Dry Fly fishing to really pick up with some warmer weather heading our way. With the current water conditions it’s also a good idea to carry two rods right now, one for fishing streamers and one rigged and ready to cast a dry fly to rising trout!
Water Monitoring Stations
With two water monitoring stations now located on the Upper Manistee River you should add this link here for temp and flow data near the CCC Bridge and you should also book mark the new USGS site at M72 to follow trends in water conditions when planning your next fishing adventure. As guides we use this information daily in aiding our decision making process when planning for our days on the water. Conditions dictate success and understanding what the conditions are before you arrive can help you make smarter choices regarding where and how you fish a certain piece of water.
This new site is going to be a very valuable tool for the longterm. Now that real time data is available at both water monitoring stations, anglers will be able to develop a better understanding of water levels as they relate to depth and how wadable a section of river is to the walk and wade angler for example. When you begin to understand what the actual cfs reading looks like from a conditions standpoint, you will also be able to visualize how high and dirty a piece of water might be.
Trout Guide Trips
We will be changing our focus from the Lower Manistee River for steelhead , and now fishing the Upper Manistee and the Pere Marquette. We are booking trout, pike, and early season smallmouth trips currently, you can reach us at 231-631-5701 (leave a message) or shoot us an email.