Gates 2017 Holiday Catalog

Since the printer is running behind schedule here is our holiday catalog.  You can also visit our new and rapidly expanding online store at

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  It’s been quite a week here on the Au Sable.  More rain, some high water, some big trout on streamers.  This has been an excellent November of streamer fishing and the forecast is for a warm weekend with a front coming in on Saturday.  Perfect.

Johnny with a surprise pike

Now that most of the trout are in post-spawn mode, you can expect trout to be staging in the pools, and on the soft sides of the seams.  It’s not uncommon for trout to be sitting way back in dead black-muck backwaters.  In the winter, a lot of our big trout will have at least one leech on them, and I think because the trout like to sit with their bellies on the black muck, waiting for food to pass by.  Big post spawn trout are either going to ambush the biggest food item they can fit in their mouths, or sit in a slow tail-out or inside bend and drift feed.

Black streamers have been, and will continue, to work well.  Copper, tan and olive will also have their moments.  Nymph fishing has also been good all month.  A couple folks have experimented successfully with sight nymphing.  It’s great sport, and clearing and dropping water levels are perfect to push the fish up into the inside bends, which is where you need them for sight fishing on the Au Sable and Manistee.

Jake getting in a few more Michigan streamer days before he heads to New Zealand for the winter.  That hat will make you look like a tourist, mate

The South Branch is not for the wading angler…and not for many boat anglers as well.  The rest of the river system is dropping and clearing and should fish fine this weekend.

It’s been a very fun week at the lodge.  We put in a new Point of Sale system that works in conjunction with the new online store.  That part was BORING.  But we’ve been prepping a bunch of hides for dyes and custom dubbings that we’ll have in the shop, along with deer hair, schlappen, bucktails, and so on.  It’s a fun winter project (we won’t have them for sale until January).  And you sure do get to talk to some interesting people when you try to find bulk animal furs!  Mix that in with rampant fly tying and fly design, many “float tests” with a saucer of water, and it’s hard not to start to get the 2018 bug (sorry) a little early.

Michigan anglers have a lot to be thankful for, that’s for sure.  We get pretty spoiled living one hour for Atlantic Salmon, an hour from steelhead, and hour from muskie, and great trout fishing just across the lawn.  But what I’m really thankful for, the more I do this, are the people that came before us.  The “old guys” like Chauncy, Shep, Rusty, and my old friend Tom, and innumerable more, who showed a bunch of us, one generation after another, how things were done.  Who never stopped innovating, and who never stopped fighting to keep the sport, and resource, alive.

Enjoy a big meal with family and friends, and, you know, totally cut out and go fishing while everyone is napping in front of the football game.