Three Thaws

What a frustrating end to a wimpy winter.  For the third time in 2017, the snows came and then melted back to bare ground, the rivers rose even higher…and then it started snowing again.  This weekend looks like crap.  The river is up three inches since the weekend by the lodge.  The daytime highs for Friday and Saturday will be in the teens.  That’s a lot of high, very cold water.  Today, I talked two people out of coming to the lodge this weekend — it just wasn’t worth the long drive.  But then, also today, a new streamer angler that just did a guide trip a few days ago called and explained to me he now has “the itch.”  It turns out he saw a big trout come out and chase his streamer.  Hence, the itch.  He asked me if it was worth it to come up and fish on Friday.  Worth it?  Well…I considered his excitement on the phone.  His enthusiasm level was less “wants to” and more “needs to.”  He only has a few more days of spring break…

“Yeah,” I said.  “It’s worth it.  Just be careful.”

This past weekend the weather was nicer than the fishing, as often happens in the spring…but good fish were caught.

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Matt and Katrina moved five big ones and found this great trout near the end of their float

I got out for an hour in front of the lodge to work some water that I know well.  Or think I know well.  Or apparently don’t know at all.  My old reliable spots were off.  Some new pockets — the results of the pleasant changes of the river due to moving deadfalls, or shifts of current — weren’t productive.  I nymphed the three good nymph runs diligently, and then fished a streamer down to the boat launch.  Not sure what was wrong with me, but only managed the one bright little rainbow at to the top of this report notable mostly because its cheeks matched the UV purple of the fly it ate.  Pretty fish.  Not a trophy.

Now the river is up and stained.  Here are some pics to give you an idea:

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At Whirlpool, bottom step submerged

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And this is Guide’s Rest…that clump of grass is the land dock where you normally enter the water

So the weather and conditions are more or less crappy this weekend.  Next week and next weekend look promising.  But that’s too far away.  The shack nasties are settling in.  Good thing we have the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo to provide a big bright distraction!  This weekend we’ll be hauling most of the fly-shop down to Warren, Michigan to sell wares, trade stories, and have fun.  The show weekend is always a blast.  It’s a BIG weekend, and a huge fundraiser for the Michigan Fly Fishing Club.  This money helps Michigan fisheries stay healthy.  If you’re on the fence about attending…attend!  And if you’ve never attended…get there!

This year we’ll have all sorts of cool stuff including G. Loomis rods, lots of great new Hardy reels, new Simms Headwaters waders, and so on.  We also use “The Show” to liquidate lots of items.  Our best prices of the year will be at the show.  Stop by and see us.

We also have a bunch of new schools, classes, and events for 2017, the first of which is below.  For a complete list and descriptions, 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 (details on both classes below).  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:

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.

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.  




Previous Fishing Reports


It really is 92 in the shade.  We’re poling riverboats, not flats skiffs, and the trout don’t like the heat any more than any of us do.   The hex is

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