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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Kogotus (Perlodidae) Stonefly Nymph from Mystery Creek #199 in Washington
This one pretty clearly keys to Kogotus, but it also looks fairly different from specimens I caught in the same creek about a month later in the year. With only one species of the genus known in Washington, I'm not sure about the answer to this ID.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Feb 23, 2016February 23rd, 2016, 2:35 pm EST
So I'm getting ready for the upcoming season and thinking about runoff. I am "prospecting" blue lines on google maps/earth, tying flies, and thinking about requesting time off work now for my first trip of 2016... maybe prematurely. Getting restless almost.

I'm wondering if I should plan based on when the runoff happens here in Michigan. There are several things that I've read that gave me some questions:

Is runoff really a big factor in a geological area like Michigan?

I assume runoff may be more of a factor in mountainous regions where the main sources of water come from snow and rain(?) that travel across rocks and land and pick up sediments, with the water being colder. All the streams around here are spring fed. I am led to infer the water will be around the same temp and transparency in the spring as it is in the summer and winter. There will be snow melt and maybe some heavy rain still, which can definitely stop you from hitting the water. Pay attention to how much snow is still accumulated maybe?

Is runoff really something to worry about planning a trip for?

I won't be spending much money relative to what some trips can cost. I certainly love just the hiking and camping part. If there aren't heavy rains (which can't be predicted much in advance) and minimal melt coming into the streams, I bet the fishing is still pretty good.

Since I just started fly fishing last summer, I haven't experienced any spring conditions on a forest river in Michigan yet, and don't know what the deciding factors for going out, and staying home could be. I look forward to a full season of soaking it all in, even if my trips aren't during prime conditions.

"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 23, 2016February 23rd, 2016, 6:09 pm EST
If there aren't heavy rains (which can't be predicted much in advance) and minimal melt coming into the streams, I bet the fishing is still pretty good.


I'd think so. A little color in the water can be good. Best of luck Tim.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Feb 24, 2016February 24th, 2016, 7:34 am EST
Agree. Snow melt in the flatlands can be rapid following real hot spells and esp rains. But otherwise, it's more metered and not going to blow the stream out like it generally does for a period in the mountainous West.

What you want to avoid is that turbid 34F snow-melt water. Either side of that can offer good -although different- fishing. But bring a good book just in case.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Feb 24, 2016February 24th, 2016, 8:04 am EST
Tim, we'll just have to see what the rest of winter has in store for us. Right now we haven't had much of a snowpack - I can see large portions of my backyard right now, but we are supposed to be getting something like 6-9" in the next 24 hours...if we get a lot more snow and some heavy April rains, streams in May can be pretty high and scary wading, not to mention quite cloudy. However, if we don't get a lot more snow and spring is dry, like 2012, spring flows can be low and clear and hatches can be going like crazy right around and after the opener. That particular year was the best May and June trout fishing of my entire life! But I would expect things to be a bit high and off-color at this point.

Ever try trout fishing on stillwaters? When streams are blown out, ponds and lakes can be worth a try with streamers, or even dry flies. I have two spots I will be hitting, one of which is open year-round and I'm ice fishing it on occasion right now. I haven't had a lot of luck here in MI when streams are high and muddy, and as I said the fast currents and deeper waters can make for a possible swim, not too fun early in the year...

Keep thinking about it, not too long now...

Jonathon

P.S. What areas are you looking at? Find your way up to Oscoda and I've got some spots for you...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TimCat
TimCat's profile picture
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
TimCat on Feb 24, 2016February 24th, 2016, 3:07 pm EST
Thanks for the replies everyone. The slush, snow, and ice is accumulating as I post this, but it is Feb still...

Jonathon, My grandmother lives in Oscoda. I will definitely be in your neighborhood. There will be a DM in your inbox shortly after this post!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless

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