Fish Farm Match, and November trout

11/18/15  The above sunset was taken from a high bank of the Manistique River, atop which deer camp is located.  The deer were sparse but the weather was beautiful.  We listened to hockey and stoked the fire.  I thought of nothing but friends, food, deer, and the book I was reading.  This sort of simplicity can lead to an alternate life, as if you’ve been cloned.  I returned home, and was swarmed by three dogs and two children and a patient wife.  Good to be back, but…

Our pre-deer camp streamer camp improved with the crash in the weather last weekend.  Thursday was supposed to be apocalypticly windy, but we bet against it and were rewarded with gray skies, light wind, and chasing trout.  Black was the color on Thursday, and  black remained the color on a spitting snow Friday.  Friday was a dandy day, or should have been, but we ran into a spate of inexplicably losing fish within ten seconds of the hookset.  I started it off by losing a BIG fish that materialized from some submerged cover.  What I’d give, I said, to have that one back.  Or any of the next three that I hooked and lost.  Then Greg did the same.  Then Andy.  Of the three days, Friday was the best.  There were two hours in the afternoon that were on fire.  Every cast reeked of possibility.


One of the Friday fish that stayed hooked

Norm and Chris arrived on Friday and fished hard for two days.  Surprisingly, in the bright sun, Norm cracked the dandy below.  Chris texted me the pic with a note: “Look what Norm got SOB.”  I love it!  November and December are big fish months.  It reminds me nothing more of swinging flies for steelhead.  You enjoy the rhythms of casting and slow retrieving a fly.  The fish are few and big, and at times they simply aren’t willing.  But when they are…


Weekend maker

The rivers are in great shape heading into a colder weekend.  I don’t think the trout will stop chasing — the conditions are too right.  Black, olive and copper are go-to colors this time of year.  If the river is somewhat clear (it rained hard today) fishing nymph rigs along the inside bends will find post-spawn fish chowing during the afternoon hours.  Wear orange or similarly bright clothing (it’s still rifle season), and enjoy some time on the water.   We have open rooms ($50 single/$75 double) this time of year, and guides still running trips.



I think the idea of a fish farm on the Au Sable is a bad joke, the punchline being that it will provide a couple of jobs, as opposed to the hundreds that rely on a healthy wild trout fishery.  The technology does exist for it to be done cleanly.  But the permit the state granted won’t require it be done cleanly at all.   Not even close.  It will instead be run like a backwoods septic system.  Look at it this way, if a cabin owner wanted to install a septic system like the fish farm has, they would NEVER get permitted.  This double standard is striking.

August 25, 2014 john l. Russell

Here’s how to do it:

1. Mail check to:

Anglers of the Au Sable, PO Box 200, Grayling, MI  49738


2. Donate online:


Go to “One-Time Donation”.  In the box entitled “If you would like this gift to go towards a certain cause The Anglers are working on , please note below” type “FISH FARM MATCH”


Watch this video or check out the Anglers of the Au Sable’s new website (, and learn about the fish farm and what a bad idea it is

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