The trout opener was a nice weekend. Water levels were high, the rivers were clear but tea colored by tannin. The wormers and spawning steelhead anglers had some success but the hatches were not happening.
This week will bring warm temperatures in the upper 60's F and possibly into the low 70's F range, giving fly fish anglers the first real hatches and good surface takes of the new season. It's still is a good idea to use a dropper set up to increase your chances.
It is that time of the year that many rivers are still void of a lot of people and the trout are not so weary. The location of holes not filled in by winter run off are what you want to find. The rivers side foliage is not yet present but undercuts will still hold good size trout. The rivers should be be brightly sunlit according to the weather forecasts. That makes the trout hold tight in the undercut banks, fallen wood debris, and deep holes.
Us a 14 or 16 Para Adams or stone fly (12 if the dry fly sinks) with a copper john dropper in the late afternoon. By 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM water temperatures should be up. If the river has not been flooded with worms and most winter food sources are gone, the trout will be active. If you don't find hatches and the surface action is non-existent, try a hares ear or a pheasant tail nymph and san juan worms are always a good bet. Also try you favorite wet fly or streamer. Last resort is a bead head bugger or egg sucking leech and get it down and bouncing on the river bed, deep down under the bank or river side bushes. Be ready to lose some good set ups but without a hatch this is your best approach.
It's still early here in the Petoskey area but the draw of the river is too hard to ignore. The Sturgeon, Maple, and Black Rivers are very wadeable, the Pigeon River still has some mud present and I would give it a couple more weeks to clear up.
No excuses...time to wet a line - let's go!
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.