Every winter I hit a stretch where I just start thinking about fishing all the time because it’s been too cold to go.  And…it has been too cold to go for most of the last month.  Since I’ve decided not to ice fish this winter, I’ve spent the cold daytime hours skiing and squirrel hunting.  I find both to be fun activities, but they lack the nuance of trout fishing.  Ten degrees, driving wind and snow.

Brown Bug Stacked Hackle

A do-anything May evening spinner.  Particularly effective during the Hendrickson spinners. 

Hook — Daiichi 1180 #14 or Tiemco Size 13:  https://www.gatesflyshop.com/tmc-102y-dry-fly-hooks.html?id=59465776&quantity=1

Thread — Benecchi Thread Fine Brown: https://www.gatesflyshop.com/benecchi-superfine-8-0-thread.html?id=55873790&quantity=1

Tail — Dun Mayfly Tails or Spade Hackle:  https://www.gatesflyshop.com/mayfly-tails.html?id=54163587&quantity=1

Body — Brown Turkey Biot:  https://www.gatesflyshop.com/turkey-biots.html?id=54163508&quantity=1

Post — Brown 2mm Foam:  https://www.gatesflyshop.com/thin-fly-foam-2mm.html?id=54139171&quantity=1

Hackle — Grizzly Dyed Dun, size 12:  https://www.gatesflyshop.com/build-a-hackle.html?id=61283031&quantity=1

Nick Lyons once wrote that he appreciates the seasons in fly fishing.  Now that many rivers are open year-round, the seasons are appreciated differently.  We can fish in the winter.  But often the winter just isn’t fishable.  And that’s okay.  Still, when we see the warm-up show at the tail-end of the ten-day forecast, as it does now, it’s hard not to think, and hope, that maybe spring is on the way.  Until then, 3/4s of the country is pretty much frozen in place.

But, yes, it looks like a little warm-up is coming…and that means the fishing will start back up.  Late February, early March thaws can be pretty good fishing.  The big rainbows start moving around the river system.  The browns will chase, albeit slowly, big streamers.  The nymph fishing is consistent, especially after a few above-freezing days in a row.  Around this time of year, mayfly nymph imitations in a size 14 pick up on the maturing hendrickson nymphs…and that sort of drives the food chain for the next few months.   So I’ll be fishing soon.  Very soon.  Until then, this is sort of a no fishing report.

We’ve had a lot of new-for-2021 products arrive and we’re going to “review” some of them once the weather warms this weekend and early next week.   Fishpond 2021, Hardy 2021, the new Winston Air 2, Bauer RVR, and more…coming soon.

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]

Good spring streamer fishing starts with next week’s warm-up.  Guides and rooms available.  

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:  www.gateslodge.com.  And sign up for our print catalog by emailing your mailing address to [email protected]

Check out this trailer:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7t7uxid5t413zx8/AAAFro41-ipCPB8WJ6pirPw-a?dl=0