The Steelhead fishermen are on the move. The down state rivers, the Manistee, the Pere Marquette, are getting action. It is the end of March and the weather will continue to tease us. Cold then warm and then cold again. Snow, rain and snow again. It is not hard to figure why this is Florida vacation time of the year. With all rivers due to open in a month you should be busy cleaning lines, replacing tippet spools and changing leaders for the new season.
Our northern streams, the Maple, Sturgeon, Pigeon and Black are all flooded out, over their banks and raging. The winter did not bring a lot of extra snow then usual but lots of rain was with us all season. The river water levels here in the north are not a problem. The run off and ground water should feed the streams well into July. Baring a hot spell and drought, the season looks good.
I always say there is no balance of nature, rather nature is always trying to balance itself. Last year was a slow season for my favorite Brook Trout streams, but it is a new year and all that can change.
The Maple is in transition with all the new free flow bridges and sand from years past is moving slowly down stream. I have found reliable holds filled in and the age old challenge of locating new spots is the key to catching large trout. It is a waiting game now. As soon as the rivers drop to inside their banks and food becomes a little more difficult to obtain the flies will be streamers and nymphs. Hatches need warm weather and the next several weeks shows colder temperatures in the 40-50F . Skiing is over in April and soon the country side will open up for wild asparagus, morel mushrooms and...Trout fishing. For us locals it is our time of the year.
I'm looking forward to seeing old fishing friends on the river and stopping to smell the flowers.
Richard and Jim
Letting you know current conditions and best approaches.