10/15/10  It’s been tough fishing on the river.  Maybe as tough an October as I can remember.   The fish have been slow to chase.  The rivers are low and clear.  The bright spots have been the afternoon olives, which have saved many a day already.  A lot of anglers have happily worked hard for some smaller trout:

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Or have sought out grouse and woodcock:

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A well-camouflaged grouse in a tree

I think things will turn around rapidly this weekend.  Highs in the 40s.  Rain/snow mix.  October.  Spawning season…perfect.  Yes, perfect.  It’s exactly what we needed.  It won’t be pleasant, but it might be perfect.  An inch of rain before the weather change would be even better.  The brown trout are just starting to build beds.  The brook trout are on their beds and spawning.  The change in water temperature should get the fish angry, hungry, and otherwise worked up into a tizzy.  This is what you want for streamer fishing.

The olives won’t be put-off by the change in weather.  The best olive fishing is typically on flat sections of river, or shallower sections.  This includes the entire Mason Tract, the upper North Branch, and most of the Holy Waters.

Small conehead streamers in a variety of colors will move fish, particularly through the mid-afternoon.  I really begin to fish black when the weather takes a cold turn in the fall.

Yesterday was my annual trip to the PM with my son and Jeff Hubbard.  It was awesome, beautiful.  The state is full of opportunities this year.  From the upland hunting, to the end of the salmon run and beginning of the steelhead run, the urge in the fall (it feels instinctual, and maybe it is) is to roam, explore, hunt.  We focused on the trout feeding on eggs behind the salmon.  The first two were dandy rainbows that were sitting high in the water column feeding behind some old salmon (a fish that Jeff calls “white tails” because, as the inevitable strains the salmon bodies, they develop white tails).  The third was a brown that I foul hooked, tried to land quickly to remove the fly from the fin, and broke my rod.  Haste makes waste.  A broken rod can’t ruin a day like yesterday, though:

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But now it’s time — clearly, to me — to begin to think about brown trout streamer fishing on the Au Sable.  To begin casting with the faith, and yes it’s faith, that the biggest trout of the year is about to chase from the next log pile or deep run.  It’s a time game.  A game of deliberate movements.  A game of gloves and hats and rain jackets.  But the trout move with extra energy this year, and have that same slightly out-of-this world movements of CGI characters in movies.  They can streak across a shallow river so fast!  They meet our fly just as the adrenaline pumps.  It’s a feeling worth feeling.  And makes even the “crappy old fall day” something of a beautiful one.

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The Fish Farm: Learn more by watching the video or check out the Anglers of the Au Sable’s new website (www.ausableanglers.org), and learn about the fish farm and what a bad idea it is

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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!