Mid May finds the Muskegon river coming alive with bug activities, hatches and the first of our summer dry fly fishing. Tan Caddis are emerging from mid-day through evening and bringing nice Rainbow and Brown trout to the surface for some great dry fly action. We’re using mostly 4 & 5 weight rods, with leaders tapered down to 5x (3.5-4 pound) and casting both emerger patterns, as well as on the surface dry fly patterns.
Streamer fishing is still a quality option, especially on cloudy days or first thing in the morning. Casting to known structure or fish holding areas will get the attention of some of the bigger trout in the river. Both 6 & 7 weight rods, with either sink tip or sinking lines are being used to cast streamer patterns ranging from salmon fry patterns less than 2″ long, to larger flies that imitate baby trout, of which we have many in the river after recent DNR stockings of Rainbow & Brown trout, as well as baby Steelhead. Larger flies require heavier tippet, such as 10 & 12 pound flourocarbon. Smaller patterns such as small sculpins and salmon fry don’t require such heavy tippet, opt for either 6 or 8 pound test tippet.
Nymphing with 4 & 5 weight rods, rigged with floating line and indicators, will always find fish, best to focus on troughs, tailouts and areas of the river with an abrupt rise in river bottom structure. Smaller fly patterns such as pheasant tails, hares ears, scuds, caddis larva and drab eggs will do the job. Lighter tippet is in order, stick with 5 & 6 x if possible.