*What a bunch of rain.  If you took all the rain we should have gotten in September and October, put it in one cloud, and dumped it on us in a day…it still wouldn’t have been this much.  Up to seven inches of rain fell in about 48 hours.  The rivers pretty much blew out.  It was one huge system, shaped like a sword, that went straight up the state, from south to north.  The result: there are practically no safe wading options in the Au Sable (a few exceptions on the North Branch), there are fish being caught on streamers cast from boats, and there are trout rising to olives in people’s lawns.  Pretty surreal.

Whirlpool is especially whirly

Actually, the boat fishing has been pretty good.  Some days have been really good.  My friend Kevin and I had a float planned for a long time and just happened to hit the Monday when the rain came.  We kept our hoods cinched tight and we chucked streamers into the rapidly rising water.  We caught quite a few trout, including some dandies.

Tuesday was very high water but those in boats did well on big, bright flies: chartreuse, yellow, cream, light olive.  The fishing was surprising.  These same conditions in spring would have been very difficult.  In fall, there are more fish around willing to chase, especially in the upper river.

Today was much the same.  Denny completed a successful cast and blast, shooting his first birds ever this morning, and then catching the brown-beneath-rainbow at the top of the report.  Curtis and Matt had a great day.  There have been several reports of trout slashing and exploding on forage fish in the backwaters and then turning and crushing a streamer.

Curtis with a fine brown landed late in the day

What does all this mean?  It means that almost all of the river is simply unfishable by the wading angler through much of the rest of the week.  I would guess that wading efforts will have to be confined to the North Branch and the upper Manistee…like the way upper, between 612 and M-72, and even in these places an overabundance of caution and common sense will be necessary.  The rest of the river will be floatable for the experienced rower, though if you go too far down the river is flooded into the bank-side forest, which makes for less than ideal conditions.

It’s a strange end to what is our last week of being “open”.  The restaurant closes after breakfast on Sunday (11 am), and the fly shop will begin winter hours on Sunday (closing at 2 pm).  From Monday until the snow melts we’ll be open every day (except holidays and the opening day of deer season) from 9 am – 2 pm.  We do keep four rooms open all winter for those looking for a quiet getaway.  We’ll also be hosting a series of special events and tying classes this winter, the calendar for which will be posted shortly.

So on this high water note, and with a few snowflakes twirling by the porch light at home, a very big thank you to everyone who made this season another great one on the river.

Order Your Holiday Pies

Caramel Apple Pie, Pumpkin Roll, Blueberry Pie, Pumpkin Cheesecake

Fresh and Made-From-Scratch                     

$28 per pie

 Email orders to [email protected] by November 10th, pick up at the lodge either November 20 or November 21st

Sign up for our Fall Catalog (soon to be released):

This will be our third fall catalog…and we love to put it together!  Sign up to get gear reviews, stories, a calendar of events.  There are a ton of new products out there and we’ll give you our honest take on where they succeed and fail.  This is a print catalog, so please email your shipping address to [email protected]  Once you’re on the list, you’ll get the spring catalog as well!