Northwest Area Fly Fishing: May 2015


G earing up for trout opener water levels have been all over the board as recent rains have swelled many northern Michigan rivers to the their springtime high, fortunately the water levels should recover fairly quickly as most of the snow is already gone. Water temperatures are hovering around the mid 40’s to low 50’s as some early season hatches of stoneflies, blue wing olives, and black midges have been common around mid day as the month rolls on look for black quills, and the king of early season hatches the hendrickson along with black caddis and sulfur on many northern Michigan rivers such as the Boardman, Platte, Manistee, and Ausable kicking the dry fly season off for fly anglers.

The recent high waters also bode well for nymph fishing and streamer fishing as well pheasant tails, prince nymphs and hares ears will imitate a variety of bugs and are all good choices for early season trout. A great trick to nymph fishing success is to try and cheat the next hatch if sulfurs are a week out fish the sulfur nymph in anticipation of the hatch. On cloudy days streamers are the way to go especially if there is no action present and often yield the largest trout. May is a great time to fish streamers as a lot of food sources are available and are actively spawning or hatching chestnut lampreys, sculpins, dace are all abundant during the spring and salmon smolts on rivers with migratory beasts are serious food sources for hungry trout. Throughout the first few weeks of May even into June on some rivers steelhead will be available. Some great steelhead fishing can be had after the opener on the upper sections of rivers like the Betsie, Little Manistee or on some smaller rivers up north like the Jordan, Elk, Bear and Boyne get out and enjoy!