I get asked the question often: What is your favorite fish/season to fish? There is about a 4 way tie for my favorite! One of them is strippin streamers and hunting for Big Browns. I’m extremely lucky to have my home river here in Michigan to be one most perfect places for Big Browns and streamer fishing. That season is starting right now. Some years a bit earlier but its all based on conditions and not the calendar. Weather has truly changed to what I call Fall now. Our Big Browns are moving into pre spawning mode right now and feeding will increase. I would say peak spawning here is early November most years but on the Au Sable like many Brown Trout rivers the spawn is a long process for about a month. Another topic for another day – stay away from the spawning redds and let those trout finish. Post spawning is the best time for those that dont mind a little foul weather (ideal for streamers) Nov/Dec is a great time here in Michigan.
At times I get stuck in the debate about why streamers? Big Browns are predators! Hunting a fish like these that could attack your streamer at any moment is as good as it gets. If your looking for numbers and more actions best to fish another method. Good anglers who are productive with streamers are those that put the time in, enjoy what there doing and have plenty of drive!
December can be such a good month here in Michigan if harsh winter does not come early. This time of year fishing for trout is way down and that makes the season even better.
January/February here on the Au Sable it does slow way down as winter is here and you really got to pick your times based on weather. I found a way to beat this about 13 years ago by heading for Arkansas and streamer fishing the White River. I didnt come to the White River with idea of guiding we came to hunt for Big Browns when it was slow at home. Love this river and area so much now that I come right after New Years and stay to late March! Fishing or guiding pretty much every day! The White River is much different than the Au Sable in the winter months. A huge tailwater below Bull Shoals Dam with consistent water temps in winter months in low 50’s – perfect for Brown Trout. Browns Trout spawning in Nov/Dec and still some in January on the White River. Lots of post spawning Browns in January and these trout are getting aggressive now and looking for a big meal. Here are some beautiful Browns in January on the White River!
February and March are prime time months also and some pics below. Winter can be cold in Northern Arkansas but that leads to higher power generations and more water – perfect for strippin streamers.
When it comes to spring back in Michigan starting in very March and April I will be back home chasing these Big Browns that are starting to feed heavy after a long winter. This is snow melt and spring run off time – perfect for streamers! Here is some pics from spring time on the Au Sable: