It’s been a pretty great summer on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers.  So far this week: awesome.  Last night I floated a couple of friends and we had almost three straight hours of rising fish.  Small caddis, olives, cahills, Isos…but more importantly, happy trout.  At dusk, there were pods of fish rising in the riffles.  We were able to get away with a size 12 Purple Daze for way longer than we should have.  The water temps are perfect, the nights are cool, the days are just warm enough. 

Lance battling the currents of the fence run

Even a normal river beat offers multiple techniques, multiple goals.  Fishing small streamers can be effective, but is it more effective than a dry and dropper?  Or should one match the hatch for the few fish rising in that tailout?  Twitch a skunk?  Sure.  But also, if fishing black ants along grassy overhangs is your thing, do that.

The tricos are spread throughout the river and the next two weeks will provide us “trico psychos” the best morning rises of the season.  Warm night = early morning tricos.  Cold night = enjoy your breakfast.  8x, long leaders, Griffith Gnats (still one of the best trico “imitations), and a positive attitude are requirements.  The North and the Main have the best populations, but the South Branch and Manistee offer less discerning trout.

Night fishing: it’s the month of the mouse!

So a good fishing report for this week: there’s cold water in the creeks, and the trout are happy.  We have two great events approaching for next week: The Kids One Fly (Box) Challenge, and the Midnight Derby.

The Kid’s One Fly (Box)Challenge, Saturday, Aug 10: The Anglers of the Au Sable sponsors this annual event. This is our 7th Kids One-Fly (Box) Challenge for anglers 17 years and younger. All participants will receive a complimentary fly box with donated flies and, if needed, volunteer chaperones to take them to the river (or pond, or lake, or creek) for a morning of fishing. Awards! Prizes! Anglers must use the flies in their box of choice. We do this because kids are awesome, and a kid fly-fishing is even awesomer. Our favorite event of the year. We’ll meet at the lodge at 9 a.m.. Kids receive instruction and a casting lesson from FFF Certified Instructor Mark Hendricks. At 10:30 a.m., we go fishing! Meet back at the lodge between 12 and 2 p.m. for lunch, drinks and awards. We try to have enough rods and waders for youth participants, but encourage those that have their own to bring them.

The Midnight Derby, Saturday, Aug 10: Have you ever seen so many people who think going fishing at midnight with a box full of mice is cool? Neither have we. So we celebrate it: a night fishing one-fly “competition.” Every year we raise well over $1000 for the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited. This is a fun event. Not a serious competition…though we do offer some real prizes. Includes a huge barbecue at 7 p.m., music, and the infamous mailbox challenge. The bell rings at 8 p.m. Anglers may fish anywhere on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers, but must return to the lodge by 3 a.m. with a picture of their RELEASED trophy. The Derby is open to everyone and anyone, from guides, to those being guided, to folks casting off their docks, and anyone else who wants to go night fishing for a good cause. $50 per team of two people.