Spring is slowly making its way to our region, the weather is gradually warming up and the ice on most lakes has disappeared. Wolfe Outfitters has been hard at work taking advantage of some excellent spring fishing opportunities. Listed below is a sneak peak at what species have been active, and what to look for when hitting the rivers.
Steelhead fishing has been excellent on the Lake Michigan tributary rivers like the Muskegon, Manistee River, and even the Boardman River up in Traverse City. River water levels have fluctuated greatly this month. One week has low, clear conditions, and the next has high, muddy conditions. This is going hand-in-hand with the up and down weather we have been experiencing as well. Winter just doesn’t seem to want to let go! With colder night temps, and days in the 30’s and 40’s, the fish have been taking their time finding spawning gravel. Most sections of our top tributaries have fish; both lower and upper river areas have been fishing very well. With a big warm up this past February came a big push of fresh fish in most rivers, this has spread good catchable amounts of fish throughout all systems.
Successful techniques have consisted of float fishing with spawn as well as trout beads. Bead sizes have mainly consisted of 8mm and 10mm. The best color has definitely been the Clown and Fire Orange, both with UV. Bright colors with an opaque finish have been producing. We have also had excellent luck fishing the deeper tail-outs of spawning gravel, using a bottom-bounce technique with beads, stone flies, and assorted nymphs. As the water warms, this technique will only continue to be more effective; the brown trout fishing will really heat up at the tail-outs as well. The old stand-by jig tipped with a wax worm will also see its day to shine as the cold waters warm slightly.
When the fish do hit their spawning beds, make sure to let them do their deed. April can be a great time to target drop-backs which have already completed the spawning process and are actively feeding and hungry! There is some natural reproduction on many of the area rivers (the Betsie River being 100% natural reproduction), and letting spawning fish go can help to assure a dynamite fishery for years to come. Trout season is just around the corner, and we can’t wait for all the great fishing to come.
We hope to see you on the water!