MILL CREEK in Dexter is about as warm as it gets before we start seeing mortality. When people come in the shop and hint around at it, I point blank just tell them, Please don't fish that stream. Between the low water and its high temperatures, any stress on any of the fish could well be fatal. Practice casting on the lawn. Watch videos.Tie flies. Just don't fish Mill Creek.
The Huron River continues to fish well, with the early evening bite providing a lot of activity. We have had some stellar Golden Drake and Iso action, but the steadiest top-water producer is a Bugle-Bug-style popper in chartreuse or orange.
Under the surface, black Woolly Buggers in all varieties continue to bring good action.
The carp game is ready to kick into full swing, as the mulberries are ripening and some are dropping. The fish still seem a bit sketchy about the whole thing, but these hot days will change that.
The Flint River has been very good, but low water and the evil grass are beginning to take their toll. Good top water action can be had with a popper in any color, and the ubiquitous chartreuse Sparkle Grub is still scoring well underneath.
The section above Mt. Morris Road is fishing better than the lower, but working the deeper runs in either stretch will pay off.
Mill Creek is low, but its clarity begins to decline at about 8" of depth. Flow is at 24 cfs, holding steady as of this writing, so you'd have to be extra stealthy to not be detected. Remember that as the days heat up, so does this water, and trout become more stressed, especially if they are crowded into smaller holds of relatively cooler and oxygenated water. If you plan to fish, take extra care to get that trout released back into the water fast. Better yet, wait until we've had some rain and/or cooler temps.
Nymphs dead-drifted along the seams, and small dry flies will get results if you're patient. Try a small streamer like a Mickey Finn or a flashy soft-hackle also, especially in the afternoon. Mornings in general favor the midges, though today as I inspected the river, I saw no activity of bugs or risers.
If you have been waiting for the conditions to be right – wait no more. Get out there and put a bend in the rod!
The Painted Trout crew has been out in force on the local rivers, and the report is good trending toward great.
The Huron River is low and fishing well, with both streamer and top water action available. For streamers, bright days are allowing for yellows, whites and tans (Eric’s Smooth Criminal in white is a must), and the darker periods can be covered with black Buggers in all varieties (Bow River, Twister Tail, Brush, etc.). Big articulated streamers will take fish, but so will traditional streamers in sizes 6 and 4. A floating line is fine, but an intermediate can be an advantage, especially if you want to fish with the big deer-hair flies like Zoo Cougars. Up top, Bugle Bugs in orange are producing nicely if you like to pop big bugs, and the Golden Drakes in a size 10 or 12 will fetch a few in the late afternoons. I am seeing Yellow Sallies, but have not had a chance to fish them yet. Work the wood and shade hard, and leave the few remaining spawners alone – we need all the little guys we can get!
Mill Creek in Dexter is fishing well. It's clear and the flow is good, though it could use a freshening up with a gentle, short rainfall. Remember, The Mill will stay clear after a hard rain, but show that coffee milk-shake effect the next day. As is typical of the Mill, fish are rising to midges in the mornings. It's fun to watch and a challenge; use nothing less than a 5x tippet. Throughout the day, Copper Johns will provide good mid-water-column results, and a small streamer (Mickey Finn, Clouser), not too heavily weighted, swung under the cut banks and along structure will get bangs. Bring Light Cahills and Tan Caddis for the dry fly fishing you crave; those bugs (Golden Stones and Caddis) will be hatching. Never leave home without emergers in these.
The Flint River is like the Flint should be – producing solid numbers of fish and a few good-sized brutes now and again. If you have no desire to experiment, a chartreuse Sparkle Grub in a size 6 will keep the rod bent all day. If you want to play, sculpin patterns are a good bet, with dark olives and blacks getting decent action. Work the deeper holes and the back sides of rocks. Every little dip seems to be holding a smallie right now – they are more dispersed than they often are, which spreads the wealth out during a float or long wade. Enjoy it!
Off the grid waters that I have hit are also producing very well – think farm ponds and smaller area streams. The bass are hungry and responding to almost everything in my box, although Sparkle Grubs and BH Buggers are doing the bulk of my work.
The weather is amazing right now, the rivers are in mid-season form and there is too much construction to get away and go anywhere. Stay calm and fish your local waters!
All the images on this blog post are from this week's fishing on the Huron and Mill.
HURON RIVER: The gorgeous weather of the past few days coupled with lowering flows from a dangerous high a week ago has enabled us to go out and scout around. The Huron is still running at slightly high flows, but it's producing solid numbers of fish, and some of good size are showing themselves. Streamers stripped at a medium to fast pace are getting the majority of takers, with black and dark brown patterns scoring well. Traditional flies like Woolly Buggers and BeadHead Buggers in Sizes 4 and 6 are good, and variations like the Twister Tail seem to bring lots of strikes.
Some bass are on the beds, and you will want to leave the males guarding eggs alone – there is plenty of action elsewhere in the stream. Typical focal points like submerged logs and shoreline rocks are the best bet, but lots of action is being had mid-channel as well.
There is a solid hatch of Golden Drakes each afternoon, with a few Yellow Sallies (Stones) popping into the mix. Small tan Caddis are hatching, but so far surface takers have been few and far between.
Best stretches are Osborn Mill and Mast Road area.
MILL CREEK: We're hearing every kind of report about Mill Creek, but the short answer is: It's on! Parachute Adams, Griffiths Gnats, Caddis, Light Cahills and small streamers are what we're hearing about as far as weapons.
Most of the leaves have now fallen and drifted downstream, and except on very windy days, the angler is no longer finding the surface coated with fly-grabbing foliage. Of course, this also annual shedding of dead leaves coincides with diving water temps, which put our warmwater fish (smallmouth and largemouth) into a bit of a funk.
The key to success is to work the deeper areas – especially those adjacent to structure – hard. I prefer dark flies, typically a black Woolly Bugger or similar pattern in a size 6, fished slowly along the bottom (I cast either straight across or slightly upstream, as opposed to a typical 45° degree swing).
I go longer on leaders and lighter on tippets, too; trading my 7-½’ 2 x for an 8’ to 9’ 3x or 4x.
If you are in a steelhead frame of mind, the fall run is getting into decent shape, with the lower Huron already sporting good numbers. Traditional hotspots like the Pere Marquette, Muskegon and Manistee also are getting into their full, fall swing, with the added bonus of some big browns.
Remember that even on these unseasonably warm days, the water is still cold. Dress appropriately! Capilene and fleece under the waders is the ticket!