It’s on (forest) fire…

The heat from this past week has put a mild damper on an otherwise great time of year…but the water temperatures are going to be just fine over the next ten days.  The Au Sable and Manistee are primarily spring-fed, and so they want to be about fifty degrees.   One cloudy, 80-some degree day, and the system is back to a June-normal.  95 and sunny…no.  88 and cloudy…yes.  With a ten-day forecast showing a lot of high 70s and low 80s, it’s time to get ready for some fishing.

Last night we saw a bit of everything: drakes hatching, Isos, sulphurs, some March brown spinners, a few yellow stones.  We had a good rise of fish from 9 pm to about 11 pm.  The rivers are low but this undoubtedly dry fly time.  On the cloudy days, the afternoon dry fly fishing has been quite good.  The deer flies are nesting under the cedars and the Awesome — a favorite deer fly imitation — is kicking butt.  This is also the time of the Isonychia, and blind-fishing this fly in the afternoon and casting it to rising fish at dusk drives much of the action until the hex move in.

The hex are going to move in pretty darn soon.

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Brent scoops a nice one that ate a drake…

This past week was pretty great until Saturday.  Thursday and Friday were massive drake events with great fishing had by many.  I was lucky to have Dennis and sister Nancy in the boat.  We wore them out pretty darn well and celebrated afterward with Port and wine and charcuterie.  This is tradition.

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Saturday, Sunday and Monday were okay, just hot.  The rivers are so low.  They are at or near record low levels for this time of year.  Be patient, move slow, find deep water and faster pinches.  We’ve been rain dancing all week but it just keeps missing us.  The only rain we saw today was accompanied by lightning and whether it was by lightning strike or a National Guard bomb, we had a bit of a forest fire kick up this afternoon and burn some 100 or more acres (that’s the rumor) just north of the lodge, prompting all sorts of worries.  Alas, no big deal…

In the low water, trout clues have been subtle.  A few nights ago I fished the Holy Waters (64 degrees at 8 pm) and as I sat on the bank, the river just sort of came to life before the drake spinners had landed.  The best fish was a solid rainbow that was rising just in front of a log:  snout-only.  I had to change flies three times but I finally fooled and landed it.  That kicked off a great hour of technical dry fly fishing.   Every trout was rising within a foot of cover, being very subtle, and making for some classic Au Sable dry fishing.

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We’re rapidly approaching hex season.  The hex are on the surrounding lakes and on the warmest stretches of the Au Sable and they will eventually spread through the system over the next week or so.  When will this happen?  What day?  I don’t know. My advice:  Go enjoy the evening rise, and pack along a few hex.

Got stuff you don’t need…Mason Griffith TU would love to have it!

May 29th and June 12th, 11 am – 2pm, at Gates Lodge or Old Au Sable Fly Shop

Looking for any hunting and fishing equipment that can be used to raise money at a future “garage” sale.   Includes everything but guns (though if you want to give away any side-by-side shotguns, I’m interested!).   This will be a great and fun couple of days.  Questions can be emailed to:  :  [email protected]

Previous Fishing Reports

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I think of November as the coldest month, as judged by the number of days where I’ve come inside from a day on the river or in the woods and

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