It’s difficult for me to remember a better week of July fishing. It’s just…everywhere I turn there’s a good fish story. First, there have been these moths. They start flitting around at 1 or 2 pm, and are good all afternoon. It’s crazy. It’s like our cicada. As my friend Kyle pointed out, the moths are fine, it’s the caterpillars that are destructive. Good. I like that reasoning. I’ve seen so many pictures of big fish on moths, now, that I’m sort of jaded. We even contemplated changing the sign to trout get frothy, for the mothy. This isn’t an every year thing, and it won’t last much longer. It’s just a 2021 thing. We’ll take it.
And then there have been these unexpectedly great evening rises to the smorgasbord of July bugs: #18 BWOs, yellow sallies, cahills, and Isos. That’s a lot to digest, yes. And it can be frustrating, trying to figure them out as the curtain closes on the evening. My advice is to try to meet the fish in the middle. Size 14 Borchers. Size 16 Adams. And see if some will play. For whatever reason, perhaps due to that fresh-up of rain we received, some very fine trout have been feeding at dusk. Again, we’ll take it.
And to mix in with all this, that same rain that freshened the river got the trout on the streamer chase. Young Ben was here with his dad and grandad for some good old fashioned July dry fly fishing, and ended becoming addicted to streamers! So addicted, in fact, that when a few fish started rising, he decided he wanted to stick with the challenge. This fish below made it worthwhile.
The morning fishing has also been very good, with heavy tricos on the North Branch, and increasing tricos on the mainstream. These diminutive bugs dovetail into the size 18 olives, which hatch through the morning and, on cloudy or cool days, right into the afternoon. Blind fishing size 16 dry flies with a #18 dropper is extremely effective in and around the weedbeds and gravel drop-offs through the lunch hour.
And, finally, there’s the night fishing…which has also been good. No pictures necessary.
If there wasn’t a giant canoe race this weekend, I’d tell you it’s going to be awesome fishing: cooler temperatures, calm weather pattern, consistent bugs. As it is, though, it’s going to be awesome in spots, but one of those spots is probably not the mainstream of the Au Sable. The race starts around 9 pm on Saturday, and about 100 teams paddle as fast as they can toward Lake Huron. It’s pretty cool, but the river will be dirty for much of the day Sunday, and serious trout anglers should stick to the North Branch, South Branch, and Manistee…and drive carefully!
Fishing and Hunting Garage Sale — Help protect and restore our Rivers
Sponsor: Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited
When: Friday, 6 August and Saturday, 7 August depending on what is left
Where: Grayling City Park under the Pavilion (on the river across from Old Au Sable Flyshop)
Time: 10 am to 4 pm – rain or shine (or until there is nothing to sell)
Purpose: Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of TU river restoration projects, including habitat restoration work on the E. Branch of the Au Sable below the Fish Hatchery to assist in making this a family friendly fishing area; the USGS gage and temperature monitor on the Upper Manistee River at M-72 and future projects.
What to expect: Fly fishing rods, reel, tubes, and miscellaneous such as line, tippet, etc. Spinning rods, reels and lures. Fishing packs, bags, vests, boots and waders, waterproof bags, boat bags and float tubes. Fly tying vises and tying materials, flies in all sizes and shaped in boxes or packaged. Fishing shirts, float tubes, gear bags!
Hunting blinds, camo suits, hunting vests, etc. Arrows, gun cases, knives, etc. Dog crates and supplies.
Framed artwork, books, pottery and miscellaneous.
Desired Items: There will be a high-end items area. These items are items that might peak a collector’s interest such as: an early Leonard bamboo fly rod, early Orvis Graphite Rod #0377 (6 wt), Sage LL rod, Winston rods, etc.
This is a fundraiser. So come prepared to buy! We will accept cash, check, credit card and donations.
Well, we’re marching forward with some new events. Check them out at our events page.
We have two Free Family Fishing Days (this is going to replace the Kid’s One Fly Box for logistical reasons), August 7th and 14th, the Midnight Derby is back for one last breath on August 14th, and the Au Sable River Cleanup is scheduled for September 11th. Sign up for any/all of these by emailing me at [email protected]
Below is a list of cleanup beats we use. Pick one, and let me know. Let’s make it happen…
UPPER RIVER: Wading beats that require one or more “teams”
M-1: Burton’s – Louie’s
M-2: Louie’s – Keystone
M-3: Keystone – Whirlpool
M-4: Whirlpool – Thendara
M-5: Thendara – Guides Rest
M-6: Guides Rest – Stephan Bridge
M-7: Stephan Bridge – Spite Road
M-8: Spite Road – Shaw Park
M-9: Shaw Park – Lower TU
M-10: Lower TU – Wakeley Bridge Access
M-15: BURTONS TO WAKELY BOAT
S-O: Deerheart Valley Rd – Chase Bridge
S-1: Chase – Forest Rest
S-2: Forest Rest – Daisy Bend
S-3: Daisy Bend – Castle
S-4: Castle – Highbanks
S-5: Highbanks – Lower Highbanks
S-6: Lower Highbanks – Icebox
S-7: Icebox – Baldwins
S-8: Baldwins – Downeys
S-9: Downeys – Dogtown
S-10: Dogtown – Canoe Harbor
S-11: Canoe Harbor – Smith Bridge
S-15: CHASE TO SMITH BOAT
S-16: SMITH TO CONNERS BOAT
N-1: LOVELLS TO KELLOGG BOAT
N-2: KELLOGG TO PARMALEE (OR EARLIER ACCESS) BOAT
BOAT#1: WAKELEY TO MCMASTERS
BOAT#2: WAKELEY TO MCMASTERS
BOAT#1: MCMASTERS TO PARMALEE
BOAT #2: MCMASTERS TO PARMALEE
BOAT#1: PARMALEE TO WHIRLPOOL
BOAT#2: PARMALEE TO WHIRLPOOL