This trout — and any and all trout — are on my mind this week.  After a great Midwest Fly Fishing Expo filled to the brim with excited anglers, and after a week of no fishing (my first all winter), and after a week of cold weather and snow throughout much of the northern half of the country, I sat down to write this report and didn’t have much to say about what has been.  I was talking to my friend John this afternoon about his spring shopping list, and I confided that I had a couple of rods I’d ordered for myself, and we agreed that all this shopping, fly-tying, gear, show season…all of it serves merely as fuel to a different fire: A what-will-be sort of fire.

Last year, a month from today, I caught a trout on a hendrickson.

Last year, 75 days from today’s date, the trout pictured ate a brown drake at 8 pm on the South Branch.

In my mind, spring begins after the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo.  This makes it hard to rectify the inch of fresh snow, the posts of friends in the Northeast with piles of snow, with all the power outages this past week (at our hotel down in Warren the front desk reported 3000 phone calls in 24 hours as people without heat or power tried to find a place with both).  For fly-fishers, such conditions make us tie flies with increased fervor, to think about nymphs and streamers, and look for cracks in the wall of ice and snow.

This next week, some cracks appear through the weekend and early next week, and then again near the end of the next.  The thirty-day forecast — fool’s gold, I know — is even more kind.  Forty degrees will feel just fine after a week of twenty degrees.  The Main and North Branches are dropping quickly, and the water levels are great.  Run-off is in large part over.  This will only be a high water spring if it rains.  The lower water will greatly improve streamer opportunities, and I expect that there’ll be some good to great streamer and nymph fishing this weekend and early next week.

We have plenty happening around the lodge in short order.  Our Spring Catalog wil be mailing this week.  A PDF version will be posted on the fishing report next week.  In it you’ll see a catalog of events, some of which are listed below.  Our April 2 nymph class is now full, but Alex Lafkas’ April 1 streamer class still has a couple of openings.

For a complete list and descriptions of our schools, check out our Events page and Schools and Classes page.  


Fishing Fools Weekend March 31-April 2: Can’t wait for Opening Day?  We can’t, and won’t!   We’ll have excellent paid schools including a Saturday streamer class with Alex Lafkas and a Sunday class on nymphing the Au Sable with Jordan Klemish and Dennis Nelson (this class is full).  Free fly tying classes both Friday and Saturday evening, with some pros in attendance to help you learn speciality patterns.  Product demos (take any rod for a spin) lots of free coffee, a fair amount of BS and random pontificating on weather, run-off, and hatch schedules, and FOOD!  In other words, there’s something for everyone this weekend.  Attend what you’d like, when you like.  Please contact us to register for classes.

The weekend is highlighted by a streamer class with Alex Lafkas on April 1.  Alex is a superbly talented angler and streamer fisher who guides both here and in Arkansas.  He’s known for irrepressible excitement.   Here is a great video and story about him:  https://ozarkflyfisherjournal.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/the-streamer-chronicles-alex-lafkas/

This is an important streamer class which features, theory, fly theory, and includes a half day guide trip with our guides.  If you want to get better at streamer fishing, this is the way to do it.  Folks travel from all over the country to float and learn from Alex.  I learn something every time I fish with him.

On Sunday morning, join Jordan Klemish and Dennis Nelson for a two-hour nymphing demonstration in front of the lodge.  Will cover European and Indicator techniques tailored specifically to the Au Sable…by two guys that do it more than anyone.  Participants should plan on wading and fishing.  This class will teach you how to best fish the “off-season” on the Au Sable.  This class is full, but waiting list enquiries are welcome.  

Our food schedules and offerings  will be fixed menu and served:

Friday Dinner: 6pm-7:30pm

Saturday Breakfast: 8 am – 10 am

Saturday Chili: 11 am – 2 pm

Saturday Dinner: 6pm – 7:30 pm

Sunday breakfast: 8 am – 10 am

We’re excited to try something a little different this spring.

Room rates for this weekend will be $60/single and $75/double.