It has been a cold and quiet week on the river with nothing in the way of a warm-up until the middle of next week.  I’ve been cranking bugs both for the shop and for my own fly boxes.  Not winter bugs.  Spring bugs.  I don’t have the winter blues yet.  Not even close.  But my mind has been wandering toward the warmer months, nudged that way by a string of emails considering the emergence of the 17-year cicadas (will it be incredible?  It wasn’t in 2004…but, then again, we didn’t have many ticks in Crawford County back in 2004 and now they’re everywhere!  Might the cicadas follow suit?), the mild winter, the hope for one of those 2010-style springs, the dream of complex hatches, complex rises, and complex trout.

Then I started thinking about a little essay I read about Aldo Leopold and his notes on the bird songs in the mornings.  Leopold noted that certain birds seemed to join the morning chorus in an order determined by the intensity of the sun, and he studiously purchased a light intensity meter and was subsequently proven correct.

Leopold woke early to make his notes.  But I wonder if he ever woke early enough to hear the birds singing during a middle-of-the-night moonrise.  For me, this most often happens when the moon rises between two and three in the morning.  I’m rarely out that late now, but when I was guiding we’d be out that late sometimes, and when the moon came up the birds would begin singing on either side of the river.  I was listening for trout rises, not birds, and the subtlety of this event was lost in the hunt for trout.  But as I sit here late at night, hemmed in by snow and cold, I think that I’d like to hear one of those June moon sings in 2021.  I’ve added it to my list of trout-goals/hopes for the new year.

Right now, these goals are expressed in the tying of the flies that will lead me into the trout season.

Here’s one:


Hook – Daiichi 1270 #16:

 Thread – Uni 6/0 Yellow:

 Tail – Polypro Floating Yarn:

 Body – Microfine Sulphur Yellow:

 Wing – Comparadun Hair:×4.html?id=55270154&quantity=1

 Side wing – Dun Hen:  Please call us at 989 348 8462 or email [email protected]

 Hackle – Grizzly:

Tie it in black for the March/April black stone.

We’ve got a warm-up coming next week and guides available.  If you need to do something, trout fishing isn’t such a bad thing to do.  The cross country skiing has been pretty great this week as well, and it’s pretty fun to have a morning ski and an afternoon fish.  Can’t call it the ski and strip, but we’ll think of something.

Thinking about March and April

Don’t know what this spring will bring other than there’ll be some fishing, and we’ll be open for it.  The pandemic left a lot of gaps in last spring, and those translated to some prime open spring slots in 2021, especially in April, for guide trips and rooms.  Plan for some great subsurface fishing while holding out hope for some afternoon dry fly fishing.  A diverse, and uncrowded, time on a trout stream.  Shoot me an email if you’d like to look into an early spring trip:  [email protected]

Angler Survey

Participants Needed for Angler Survey on Au Sable and Upper Manistee Rivers

We will be conducting a survey of fishing results on these two streams from April 15th to November 1st

Participants must have an All Species fishing license and agree to fish at least twenty (20) days on the designated waters. Licensed fishing guides and employees of fly shops, bait and tackle stores or any outdoor/outfitter businesses are not eligible. Each trip will be recorded on a form and turned in on a monthly basis. All results are anonymous. Respondents will receive $100 dollars in gift cards at the end of the collection period. A total of twenty (20) participants will be randomly selected from a group of applicants.

If you are interested please email [email protected] under the heading “Angler Survey” or send a postcard or letter to Tom Buhr, PO Box 300, Luzerne, MI 48636.

This data will help to better understand the nature of our fishery and inform both habitat projects and related policy positions.

Make sure you sign up for our email list!  You’ll get sales you won’t see, first shot at used stuff, and more.  And never more than one email a week.  Email sign up is at the bottom of our home page:  And sign up for our print catalog by emailing your mailing address to [email protected]