The season

I’d rather write this report tomorrow because it’s supposed to rain, and no one seems to know how much, and how much will matter. The hendricksons are hatching on the Manistee and the Au Sable, and even starting on the lower river, and if there was no such thing as a fishing report I’d simply say that the fishing outlook is stellar.  Without a forecast, I’d say that we are going to be into the thick of it by Saturday.  But I’ll hedge bets and be cautious.  It could be stellar.

The fishing has been pretty darn good even after the two inches of rain we received Saturday night:

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There are lots of trout in the river that look just like this beauty

Honestly, this has been the best spring in three or four years.  I went fishing on a “lunch break” on Saturday afternoon.  Few olives, few hendricksons, sunny skies.  Dry and dropper and a hundred yards of river resulted in a half dozen trout between eight and twelve inches.  Not exactly record-book fishing, but just the kind of afternoon that has been tough to come by in April for the last few seasons.   Rain or not, I think we’re in for a great week of fishing.  It’s hard to believe, but there’ll be spinners with egg sacks flying around.  There’ll be hendricksons and olives hatching.  Black stones and even some mattress thrashers.  There’ll be excellent nymph fishing in the shelves and bubble lines if the river doesn’t swell, and if it does, on the insides of the bends.   The trout have been all over streamers.  Some years the good stuff takes forever and challenges the fortitude of an angler.   Other years it’s suddenly the season.  This is the season.  

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We are whipping the lodge into shape for the this weekend, which is our first weekend of being “open”: a full menu restaurant, all seventeen rooms, and shop hours from 7 am – 7 pm, seven days a week.  We stayed up late tonight trying to cram everything into the shop, like we do every year.  I always order too much stuff and then we spend the rest of spring battling physics.  It’s fun.  What is more fun is having some great food next door.  The restaurant opens this weekend.  Friday for dinner, and Saturday at 7 am.  For the next six months we’ll be cooking, cooking, and cooking.  Reservations for dinner are best.


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New shop dog Fin making sure Cole stays on task.  Nice work, Fin.  

It’s also banquet season.  Headwaters Trout Unlimited Banquet has their annual banquet this coming Saturday in Gaylord.  The Headwaters TU chapter, like all the Michigan chapters of TU, is awesome and worth getting to know.  They have a full schedule of events to help the health of, among others, the Black, Pigeon and Sturgeon Rivers.  The following week is The Anglers of the Au Sable’s Banquet, on Saturday, April 29 (details below).  We will be selling tickets at Gates Lodge this weekend over the counter.  They are now officially going fast.  The time to sign up is now.

Please don’t hesitate to call the shop or send us an email over the next few days for up-to-date river info.  There are no good gauges of water flow on the Holy Waters or on the North Branch, so we try to stay in tune with what is going on.  The main and the North are wadeable and fishable with care as of now.  The only sure thing is that the South Branch is blown out.  The Mason Tract can be floated by resilient anglers with excellent boat skills.  The lower South can not until the water drops enough to slide a boat under a low hanging tree.  To this point, if someone finds a beautiful canoe lodged into log jam between Smith and Conners please call the shop so we can get it back to the owner.  Adventure comes easy when you float the South Branch in the spring.


This Saturday: Fly Tying with Alex Lafkas, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

We’re hoping for one more fly-tyer that wants to combine fly-tying with fly-fishing.  We have one spot left for this Saturday morning’s tying class with Alex Lafkas.  Spend the morning tying flies, and the afternoon fishing them.  Not only will you learn fly-tying, but also why each fly is designed in that particular way.


Get your Anglers of the Au Sable 30th Anniversary Banquet Tickets!

Wait not a second longer to get your 30th Anniversary Banquet Tickets!  What you need to know:

April 29, 4:30 pm – 10 pm (show up when the fish quit rising!)

Lots of great food, prizes, music and fun

HUGE fundraiser for Anglers of the Au Sable

Held at the Otsego Club in Gaylord

Tickets WILL sell out so it’s time to make plans.


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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