Traditionally this time of the year is Northern Michigan's coldest. Hard to accept after the last 12 weeks of record setting cold temps. I know several blizzards are still to come, but I feel we will soon get a mild thaw. How about it, a period of above freezing temperatures, that would be a start. I try not to think of milder weather while the temperatures are still low and falling. However a small sign that we are pulling out of the sub zero clime will lift my fly fishing spirits. People who have recently migrated to our northern area are getting a new perspective of this latitude. Yes some winters can be colder than others, and yes some winters get more snow than others. But both cold and snow records state wide.
The snow holds a massive amount of water. If the cold lingers into April a quick thaw will flood every thing from Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico. High water will change seasonal roads into flooded inland rivers, muddy and impassable to mid-May.
A good opportunity for fly fishing will come along our states western coast with just the mildest of thaws. Wind swept beaches, free of snow, makes fishing the tributaries of Lake Michigan accessible. Traveling down, north to south, along our west coast rivers, the Sucker, Bear, Pine, Boyne, Jordan, Boardman, all the way to the Pere Marquette, will come alive with big lake run trout. Hungry trout seeking out food after the long winter they to have endured. Fly fishing enthusiasts flock to these rivers for the opportunities of these big boys. However many very small tributaries, not more than 10 feet wide, also draw large trout. These small creeks are usually over looked but just as productive. Generally they are desolate and secluded. The fish species that come to these creeks and the rivers, Steelhead, Smelt, Suckers, Bass, and Brown Trout, are there to spawn or to feed.
The first melt waters wash the winter kill (food) into the streams, while creating warm open water at their mouth into the lake. It won't be long before nature starts the new season. In just 90 days the leaves will be on the trees. It's been a hard winter so far. I've spent a lot of time with my snow shovel. I even gave it a name "Scoop", and if winter lingers I will probably start talking to it. Just hope it doesn't answer!
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.