Muskegon River Fishing Report – May 20, 2018 – Newaygo, Michigan
The Muskegon river fishing report for May 20, 2018 in the Newaygo, Michigan area finds us amidst a change of seasons on the river, for both fish pursued and equipment .used.
With just a few of our last spring steelhead around, the focus is shifting to trout fishing and the pending hatches that will occur over the next month+ that will provide our best dry fly fishing of the summer. This is most fly fishers favorite time of the year….dry flies !
Anglers using conventional gear such as spinning or bait cast setups can still catch fish, but when trout key in on insects to feed on, it’s hard to get them to take anything else !
Resident Brown and Rainbow trout will come to the surface to sip, slurp and slash at both caddis and mayflies during emergence, “egg laying” activity and spinner fall.
Starting with Caddis, fish are eager to follow these pupa up as they wiggle their way towards the surface of the river, where they will suspend in the film of the water while they shed their pupal shuck, their wings unfold and dry out and become a flying insect. This can take several seconds to take place and Rainbow and Brown trout recognize this as an easy meal and are eager to sip these in the “film”.
Several mayflies hatch on the Muskegon river, but the most significant ones “come off” throughout late May and June. We do have some hatches later in the summer, but they can be sporadic and don’t get a lot of attention from the resident trout that call the Muskegon river home.
Starting with some random hatches of March Browns, in mid to late May, this is a relatively new insect to the Muskegon river and although I have seen some rises to what I believe have been MB’s, this is not yet a reliable hatch.
Both Sulphurs and Gray Drakes are the mayflies that get the most attention from trout and Sulphurs are often first to hatch, with mid to late afternoon bugs “popping” off the river as they emerge in medium depth parts of the river with medium current speed. Easy to identify, a recently emerged Sulphur will be light yellow in color, with cloudy wings.
Gray Drakes are the bug that get most peoples and fishes attention simply due to the sheer volume of insects that we’ll see flying, mating and falling to the river from late evening – dusk. Both Brown and Rainbow trout will gorge themselves on this #12 mayfly, as mating pairs fall to the water during low light during the “spinner fall”.
Not to be left out of the conversation this time of year are the resident and migratory suckers that spawn in the Muskegon river, providing another round of easy meals in the form of free floating eggs and insects that get kicked up during the sucker spawn. This is just getting going now, which is about a week-10 days later than most years, but this was a lot different spring than “most years”.
Always a good idea to have on hand or close by are streamer rods, sinking or sink tip lines and maybe a slightly heavier rod. For most dry fly fishing, it’s rods in the 4-6 weight range, may want to consider at least a 6 weight for streamer fishing. Have a combination of small, salmon fry patterns, along with a general baitfish pattern in the 3″ range and maybe even some larger baitfish patterns around 5″, to mimic recently stocked Rainbow or Brown trout.
With all the rains we’ve had over the last near month now, the river is running a bit high, but coming down and should be around average flows soon. Click here for most recent water data.
Present water temperature in the 56-57 degree range.