Over the next ten days, a few things are likely to happen. A few fish will start rising, a few blue wing olives will start hatching, and — if the forecast is even half right — a lot of us will be thinking about (or going) fishing. All next week is to be in the high 40s and low 50s. Almost all of the snow is gone and much of the river is as accessible now as it would be in July. Between now and then, we’ll be throwing streamers and listening to the rain tap the hoods of our rain jackets. It’s spring, after all. You gotta take the good weather with the bad. And sometimes the bad — at least when it comes to streamer fishing — is better than the good.
There are signs of spring now that weren’t here last week. There are red-winged blackbirds along the river, and in the swamp behind the Board Room at the lodge. There are rainbows spawning. There are now geese everywhere, honking and fighting and pairing up for spring. Black stones consistently hatch in the afternoons.
This past weekend was very good in that way that March can be good. It’s a lot of casting, a lot of retrieving, a lot of fly changes. Some days you move twenty fish, some days you don’t. The big trout at the top of the report was one of three fish that chased the fly that day. Hard to say it wasn’t worth going.
To be lucky or unlucky is a matter of perspective, just ask the fish that survived the talon to be caught on a streamer to be released back to the river
My friends Andy and Greg invited me to go fishing with them on Monday. It was one of those classic-looking streamer days that didn’t quite pan out. We had to work for it, experiment. We tried black, white, olive and white, yellow…but almost all trout came on rust/tan/natural deer colors. They were solid teen-sized trout, silver and fat with spring…the kind of fish that are about to turn into adults. They came from scattered places: a trench, a tail-out, a log, a backwater. There was no rhyme or reason. I figure they were just out eating nymphs when a streamer swam in front of their faces.
If you haven’t experimented with this “pre-hendrickson” time of year, you should. Not for the dry-fly purist, the next two or three weeks can be rewarding in other ways. The river wakes up in front of you, and you imitate this wakening. You are matching the nymphs of the bugs that, when adults, will draw people from across the country to imitate. By stripping a streamer across a shelf or along a log, you’re appealing to a trout that is moved by increasing water temperatures to feed. As you study that secret slow-water flat on a sunny day waiting for a trout to rise to the many black stones hatching, you’re in possession of a known secret that, because it’s not a sure thing, will stay just that.
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.