Au Sable River Cleanup Sign Up: It’s time to sign up for river cleanup 2015!  This is a family friendly and fun event that covers all three branches of the Au Sable, and the big waters below Mio dam.  The date is Saturday, September 12.  The upper river cleanup is held at Gates Au Sable Lodge.  Please call (989-348-8462) or email ([email protected]) to sign up, or to find out more, or click here.  The lower water cleanup is held below Mio.  To sign up, or for further info on the big water cleanup, contact Tom Buhr at [email protected]

Grab a friend, spouse, or the entire family, and head to the river.  Together we can make the river better for everyone.

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08/20/15   The hot weather and dark nights have made for some excellent night fishing this past week.  Tank Ron said he caught more nice fish in three nights this year than all last year combined.   We’ve had reports of huge fish and good times on a quiet and uncrowded and VERY dark river.

The other night, Matt and I went to a very familiar stretch of water, turned off our lights, and stood there, silent.  The forest dripped.  The river gurgled.  But I couldn’t see a thing.  It was, at first, no different than if a cool, slightly damp black towel were wrapped around my face.  The eyes adjusted as we fished, at first blindly…and then the river appeared as a sliver of glare between banks of shadow and beyond that, high up, stood the shoulders of pines.  At night, the river seems bigger to the eyes, smaller to the cast.  The fact that you’re fishing for larger trout — the type of trout you just don’t see often during the day — increases the distortion.

We’d meant to go to another spot, but found two vehicles there.  Rare this time of year.  The next day we learned that the two anglers, each having driven separately but fishing together, had done remarkably well.  Matt and I didn’t do remarkably well, but we did well enough, finding one trout on the inside of the first bend…and another at the tail-out of the next.   It was a short wade, an hour at the most, but it was the right night to be out.  The trout wanted it swung slowly.  The takes were soft, yet solid — these were trout that were there to eat.

There are many times on the river when I’d rather be alone.  But night fishing isn’t one of them.  It’s not only the spooky factor, or the safety factor.  It’s the camaraderie bred by the foreignness, the same as two otherwise strangers will gravitate to each other in a foreign country if only because they share a language.

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Robin’s first night fishing trout was a dandy.  Hubby Eric with the release

Then fall came.  At least momentarily.  Today is cool, in the 60s, and sliding between sun and drizzle.  The river is up slightly from its dog days lows, and looking wonderful.  The tricos came at 9 am this morning and were heavy in front of the lodge, and the trout, enjoying the cooler water temperatures, rose for several hours and were still rising when I left the lodge to write this report.  The patchy rain and sun produced black flying ants the last few days and from here until early October we’ll be looking for ants on the afternoons and early evenings.  This can be some of the finest trout fishing of the year, and it can mix with the afternoon olives creating a rare masking hatch in which terrestrial insects are competing with waterborne insects for the trouts’ attention.

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The rare dry/dropper combo: a brook trout and a chub!  Never seen that before

Or — and there’s always, thankfully, an “or” this time of year — anglers can start to fish small streamers on relatively light tippet (3x or 4x) and move trout, and some large ones, making pinpoint casts at the cover.

Or, as the water temperatures hopefully drop with this cool down, anglers can add evening fishing to the white flies (Epherons, as they are commonly called) below Mio dam to their annual list of show-quality events.  The white fly is a size 12-14 mayfly that hatches and spins on the same night.  They can produce blizzards of bugs.  Or they can take a night off for reasons that I don’t suspect anyone will ever understand or predict.  Standing in a white fly blizzard can produce a pleasant vertigo.  The water temperature below Mio dam is currently 72 degrees, and the hope is that a few cool nights will bring the temperatures down below 70, and make catch-and-release trout fishing an ethical option.

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We’ve been thinking about it, and thinking about it…now we’re going to do it:  a simple, fun, homespun fly-fishing catalog.  If you want in, send an email to me at [email protected] with your mailing address. We’ll also have sign-up forms at the shop on Saturday and beyond. We’re looking forward to making it, and we hope you’re looking forward to reading it.  So far the response has been HUGE!  We can’t wait to stumble through issue #1!