REELLOCAL - Michigan's March Madness Fishing Report
March 13, 2014
Michigan Fly Fishing Report 3.12.14 Nick Britton
March is a month well known for many different reasons including college basketball, maple syrup, and of course the official start of Spring. March in Michigan is also well known for its annual run of steelhead. As temperatures rise and the snow melts, the rivers swell with both runoff and fish. The avid fly angler can find themselves right in the middle of the unofficial start of the new fishing season. Many flock to Michigan’s west side to immerse themselves in rivers like the Pere Marquette, Muskegon, and the Manistee in search of giant lake run steelhead. As the winter melts away, the steelhead that hold over from the previous fall migration begin their instinctive spawning rituals.
With higher flows and warming water temps these fish seek out the gravels to fulfill their journey upstream. The hens start fanning out their reds as the males actively compete for the right to carry on their DNA. This year’s run of fish has some very LARGE traits to pass along as most of these fish are much larger than the average size we usually see. Steelhead larger than 10 pounds has been quite common this winter with a few fish of 14 to 15 pounds and even larger being brought to the net. These gravel parties offer an abundance of food for spring run steelhead and resident brown and rainbow trout.
Fishing the runs and holes behind these active gravels provide success with the right setup. Using floating lines, an indicator, and some light split shot helps to present the right drift for these feasting fish. Egg flies of course top the list to fill your box with. Smaller stone flies, wiggle hexes, and pheasant tails also will induce a strike from these fish. Another method rapidly gaining popularity throughout Michigan is swinging or stripping streamers on sink tip lines. Brown trout love to give chase to anything that threatens their area and the crushing hit of 10 pound steelhead will give any angler the thrill of a lifetime.