Monday, October 08, 2007

I’m Looking For More Rain

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Go figure! Ninety-degree days in October. This weather is crazy, the deer aren’t moving well, and fishing has stalled a bit as the water warms up.

I’m like other people. The weather forecast is always wrong except this time. They predicted a long stretch of unseasonably hot weather, and it landed on our head like a down blanket. Now, they are talking about three or four days of rain and we’re hoping they are right again.

October is my busiest month as I try to bow hunt every day for deer, and attempt to sandwich in a few days of river fishing each week. I occasionally hunt grouse and woodcock as well, and on occasion go after ringneck pheasants on Oct. 20, but fall fishing is the big thing.

The river water is warm in the Betsie, Boardman and Platte rivers. Warm water slows down salmon and steelhead runs, and they provide me with more October pleasure than any one man should expect.

The steelhead are out in the surf off the river mouths but they aren’t doing much until the water and weather cools down. First will come some of the late straggling Chinook and coho salmon. Once those fish move up onto their spawning redds, look for brown trout and steelhead to be right behind them.

A buddy of mine has caught several steelhead so far this month, and has hooked and lost a big brown in the Boardman River. He estimated the fish to be well over 10 pounds of hook-jawed golden brown fury.

Rain right now is sorely needed. Check the river banks of streams like the Betsie and Platte, and you’ll find water levels well below normal. The long summer drought caught up with us, and if we read the Traverse City Record-Eagle weather page daily we’ll learn that precipitation levels are roughly 50 percent lower than the average.

What does that mean? It means the Betsie River mouth is very low, and as water levels continue to drop, the river fishing suffers. The river where it enters Betsie Bay is extremely low. Some fish make it through the shallows, and some do not. Fishing success is suffering.

It also means that some salmon and some steelhead may move to other streams. The closest large river with a steady current flow is the Manistee River below Tippy Dam. I’ve heard sporadic reports from the area, and again, action is fairly slow due to hot weather and warm water temperatures.

Will the forecast of rain come true? It’s hard to tell although we received a little rain tonight but not hardly enough to make much difference. A three-day soaker is needed along with some cooler temperatures. Personally, I’d love to see 45 to 50-degree temperatures but that may be wishful thinking.

Sixty-degree days would be great, and it could start the fish moving upstream and the deer moving in a more normal fashion through the fields and woods. Besides, I intensely dislike warm weather so more normal October temperatures would be appreciated very much, thank you!

Posted by Dave Richey on 10/08 at 07:52 PM
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