Aside from a rainy, weird, pretty terrible Saturday, the trout fishing has been pretty good on all three branches of the Au Sable and the Manistee.  The big swirling storm-that-didn’t-happen over the weekend just made for a couple of gray days that weren’t all that fishy.  Things got a lot better Sunday and improved since then, with some dandy dry fly trout coming to hand.

Kevin with a dandy on the rubber legs

Today was one of the good days.  A bright day, slight breeze, few puffy clouds.  My son Holden and I floated this afternoon, right in the middle of the sun and the heat, right behind another boat, and the trout were on the look.  The deer fly was good and the big foam ant with rubber legs was better.  I have one fly permanently stuck in the back of my fishing shirt, and the boy even caught my glasses and flung them into the river.  But he caught quite a few trout too.

I hit the mainstream this evening with my parents and we had a mix of small olives, size 18 olive spinners, and cahills right at dusk.  There were good fish rising in the bubble lines and tail-outs, but the best blind fishing was right down the middle of the river.  This is not uncommon when the water is low, but it’s just so counterintuitive to the Au Sable angler.

One from today…also on the rubber legs

The next week will be cool and wonderful, and I think the size 18 olives will really provide some excellent fishing in the late mornings and again, as spinners, in the evenings.  The tricos have been pretty good out in front of the lodge on some mornings, but the turbulent weather has made them less consistent than normal.  Still, the mornings have been pretty entertainging.  And a full morning of fishing will provide opportunity for everything, from dawn streamers to tricky hatch matching to some of the best dry and dropper fishing of the year.  I very much enjoy the technical nature of the trout fishing in July and August, and picking apart a Holy Water riffle with its weed beds and drop offs with a long leader and two-fly rig can be very rewarding.

I should probably be night fishing right now.  The western sky at dusk showed a solid line of black cloud as a massive front rolls in from the northwest bring cooler air temps and some rain, and also blocking the moon.  I know right where I’d go.  It’s a dock on the mainstream, right side.  There’s a big one there.  Maybe tomorrow…

A South Branch night

Most of you probably saw this little tidbit:

The overwhelming majority of people that like to fish the Au Sable already knew that something like this would happen, and is going to happen again, and again, and again.   If there is Ich disease in the fish farm, then there is Ich in the Au Sable.  If there is a formalin treatment in the fish farm, then there is formalin in the Au Sable.  It’s a flow thru system.  So, just to recap…we never saw the Ich disease in the Au Sable (that I know of ) until it was found in the fish farm.  We never found New Zealand mud snails in the Au Sable until they were found directly below the fish farm.  We are going to circuit court…and the arguments just keep getting stronger for us.  If you’d like to contribute to our court case, please visit Anglers of the Au Sable at:

Summer is here, it’s time to sign up for…

The Midnight Derby, August 11th:  Every year we have ourselves a little midnight party on the banks of the Au Sable.  40 teams, $50 per team.  7 pm – 3 am.  Barbecue, music, and fun. Your team of two will leave for the river at 8 pm when the horn blows, and can fish anywhere on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers.  Two flies per team.  Some try hard, some try not at all.  Prizes for first fish, best pic, and biggest fish.  We use the honor system.  We have fun.  And we raise some serious money for the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  If you haven’t done it, do it.  If you have, re-do it.

The Kids One Fly (Box) Challenge: Our favorite event of the year is on August 11th.  All kids receive a box of flies, and tippet and leaders from Scientific Anglers.   Games.  Prizes.  Food.  Free “guides”.  We’ll meet at 9 am, receive a casting demo from Mark Hendricks, form a chaotic circle, work on our 10s and our 2s (basic casts), and then hit the river with volunteer guides.  All you future trout bum kids, drag your parents to this event.  August 11th, 9 am – 2 pm.  Sponsored by the Anglers of the Au Sable.  If you’d like to volunteer to be a guide, please contact me at [email protected]