Happy Opener

4/28 Update…

Jac Ford will be at the lodge Saturday morning signing copies of his book:  The View from the Middle Seat.  We will have copies at the lodge.  If you’ve not met Jac Ford, you need to meet Jac Ford.


We saw some hendricksons today in front of the lodge but very few fish looking for them yet.  Rivers are very clear and the skies are very blue.  Downsize, stealth, and stay versatile.  And now for this week’s report…

We’re dusting off the snow from this past week and looking toward the future.

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C’mon man!

Rumors of the first hendricksons floated around the lodge today as the sun blazed forth and the birds sang.  It’s fitting that we have a late, late, late Opening Day in 2022…because it has been a late, late, late spring.  The forecast is rosy.  I’ve got dry flies on the brain (and in my boxes, and tied to some pre-strung rods, and more, conceptually speaking, in my mind) and I’ll bet you do too.  We have, finally, a great forecast.  Highs in the 50s and 60s, mix of sun and clouds.  We are going to go from zero — and, certain days this past week, I mean ZERO — to some proper spot-and-stalk dry fly fishing.  The hendricksons don’t just explode like drakes.  They aren’t a rock band.  More of a symphony.  Enjoy the parts of it, even if it’s a 20 minute hatch and only a few fish rise.  Fish a dry and dropper.  Make the most of the situation.  But enjoy those mayflies, those rising trout, and the challenge of dry fly fishing (this video/short movie really captures all of it so well) when you’re lucky enough to find them.

My Opener kicks off tomorrow with a burger and a beer at Ronny B’s fish camp.  We won’t have many fish stories to tell like we did last year (when the hennies hatched heavy on the SB), or, maybe we’ll just tell last year’s stories again this year.

The water flows are perfect on the Main, North and Manistee.  I expect to see black stones and BWOs pretty much everywhere over the weekend, with a smattering of hendricksons in the usual first spots.  With highs nearing 60, some BWO spinners might mix in, and if the fish are willing to rise, having a spinner or two can make the difference during that unexpected fish rising at dinnertime.  The go-to rigs will be a dry and dropper (stonefly, henny nymph), swinging soft hackles, stripping streamers (smaller flies could be good this weekend) and nymphing the deeper runs.  But in the back of everyone’s mind will be the hope that a fish or two will rise between 2-4 pm, which, if they’re going to rise, is as good a bet as any.  Over the next ten days, I expect the hendricksons spread throughout both river systems fairly quickly.  Well, at least for hendricksons.

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BWO, size 18, and the current main hatch

The South Branch is over 400 cfs.  I’ll fish in at that, but only to escape people.  I expect little to happen there and it should only be waded with extreme care in places that the angler knows well.

The lower river will be more or less a boat anglers river, and winging the streamer will be the game.  We caught some fish doing that over the last few brutal days of fishing:

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It appears that the magic season is upon us.  I’m going to publish this here post, which I’m writing with one eye on the stack of stuff by the door, and get back to the final details of my engagement.  The next step — the big step — is to ceremoniously load the vehicle with my spring/summer fishing “kit” — waders, boots, two strung rods, two packed down rods, boat bag, sling, lanyard, cooler — all deliberately but momentarily organized before the throes of the season reduce it to a heap that stinks of bug spray, rot, and river muck, until October.  That’s the good stuff.  Happy fishing!

We’re now open 7 am – 7 pm, 7 days/week in the fly shop.  The restaurant is serving breakfast and lunch 7 days/week — dinners are by reservations-only.

Previous Fishing Reports

Scorcher (and the reprieve)

It has been terrifically hot not only in northern Michigan, but across great swaths of the Midwest.  It culminated today in cancelled guide trips and, I think, a fair amount

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And so it begins

After a few false starts, the hex have come to the Au Sable.  Not wanting to fall victim to rumor, I made it to the river tonight for some first-person

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