It’s time to sign up for the Anglers of the Au Sable’s River Cleanup, Saturday, Sept 10.  We clean both the upper and lower rivers.  Please email [email protected] or call 989 348 8462 to sign up!  

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Cleanup Clam Bake, September 9, 6 pm: All you can eat clams, bbq chicken, and smoked sausage, with all the fixins and the sides. Gonna be a fun party. We’ll have the lemonade, but BYOB. Grab your friends and family and come on down. Guaranteed to get you in the mood for cleanup. Limited spots available. $22/adult, kids pay their age ($5-$18). You must preregister for this event.


This was going to be a typical post about river cleanup, but then the hot humid rain happened today, and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, and so I’ve got flying ants on my brain.

Google flying ants and you’ll get series of links to websites that sell chemicals to kill them.  Fly-fishers being a subversive lot, we love to love what others wish to hate…particularly when it comes to flies.  Most lakefront folks hate the hex, for instance.  We love ’em.  When there are hex on the porch, they grab a broom, and we grab a fly rod.  Same goes for the flying ant.

The flying ant is a bunch of different ants, I think, in a bunch of different sizes, but two basic colors: black and cinnamon.  They mate in the air like mayflies, though they emerge not from the river but from the many sand ant hills in the forests, looking like a dry volcanic event.

They are straight line, late afternoon flyers that for whatever reason — or perhaps no good reason at all — tend to find themselves floating down the river in the late afternoon or early evening in September when the sun is burning off a rain shower.  This delights the trout, which in turn delights us.

A good flying ant event in September is as good as any hatch of daytime mayflies on this river.

The reason I say all this is tomorrow should be perfect for flying ants.  And given the mix of rain and sun in the forecast, this whole week should be a great fishing week.  Sun out…fish the ant.  Raining…fish a small streamer.

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A DNR crew shocks at the lodge.  Numbers and size were good, if not better than expected.  

Which of course brings to mind this Saturday, which is the Anglers of the Au Sable River Cleanup, and apparently a day of forecasted bad weather (more on this below).  Volunteers will meet at the lodge before 10 am, and after greeting their team members, will head to the river to get it clean.  This is a longstanding event — over 20 years! — and it’s an important one.  While not any one person fills a whole garbage bag, the cumulative effort is enough to fill a six yard dumpster…and enough to clean the river.  Let’s get it clean.

Need something to do this weekend?  Give the shop a call or an email and you’ll be signed up for a great event that makes a difference.

Worried about the rain?  Me too.  After I don’t know how many years of perfect weather, the last two have been kinda crummy with high water, drizzle, or both.  This Saturday looks particularly crummy.  Safety is first.  While rain is just a river yet unformed (in other words, bring a rain jacket and a smile), lightning is something we will avoid.  We’ll be watching the radar and trying to find a good window of cleanup opportunity.

All that said, today was supposed to be a day of thunderstorms.  We canceled trips.  We drummed our fingers and watched the radar.  And you know what happened?  Nothing…except the fish fed.

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A dark, warm night in September means night fishing!

At the very least, the changing weather should bring on some excellent days of fishing.  We’ve been doing quite well with small streamers, a variety of attractors — many of which are in a #12 or #14, which is the size of the fall Isonychia — hoppers, ants, and so on.  The last of the summer hatches are dwindling, and while the trico fishing is still present, it’s not the big event it was even a few weeks ago.  This transition is a welcome one…

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This will be our second year of producing a print catalog for those that still check their mailboxes!  Good back of the toilet material, if nothing else.  This is a print catalog, so we’ll need your mailing address.  Email it to [email protected] to get on the list!

FallCatalog