7/16 Update:  The Holy Waters has risen significantly and should only be walked by strong waders.  Please call the shop for up-to-date river conditions

Sometimes I wake up with no sense of direction.  Today I knew exactly where I was going and what I wanted:  BROOK TROUT.  Little rod, sunny skies, grassy banks, box of attractors…that was my mood.  I went to a swift, meadow stretch — a personal favorite.  I like to imagine the genesis of this stretch was something like:  dig a trench through the meadow, dump a thousand pounds of the prettiest reddish stones, pour some clear water over it, and stock brook trout in every little plunge, spillway and pocket.  I love fishing it.  For one winter I wrote for the local newspaper, and I’d watch the proofreader work with her magnifying glass and marking typos.  That’s what it’s like fishing this stretch.  You float your fly over every little thing — depression, rock, shadow — and then a trout, camouflaged until the last instant, comes up and grabs it.  Typo!

Stompers, Skunks, Moths, Hoppers

The plan was to fish the moth.  The moth, formerly known as, just got done shredding our trees in caterpillar form, and is now taking flight in moth form and the trout are eating them.  The moth fishing has been pretty darn good.

Richard and guide Steve found this rainy-day moth eater

But the moth fishing wasn’t very good and it wasn’t surprising, because there weren’t any oaks where I was fishing.  So I tried the Stomper.  That kinda worked.  Tried the ant.  That kinda worked.  Then I tied on a red Patriot, size 16.  I whipped a cast into some soft water and, I kid you not, a brook trout leapt up and ate the fly before it touched the water.  And that was the fly of the afternoon.

Ask twelve different anglers, and you’ll get twelve different fishing reports this time of year.  That’s because the fishing has been good this week.  If you’re into small flies, every morning and evening there are tricos and olives.  If you’re into fishing foam against the wood, well, that’s happening too.  If you like nymph fishing, a dry and a dropper is pleasant work.  We had streamer fishing this week.  The creeks have been especially good in 2021.  It’s not a trout bonanza, but it’s been a great July, morning, noon and night.

Check out that baby trout (minnow, maybe, but I like to think of it as a baby trout) right near the mouth of this big one! 

As with any July, we are watching water temperatures and the forecast and there may be a few afternoons that the river is too warm.  If you’re concerned, just call the shop and we’ll let you know.  But remember, the Au Sable and Manistee self-correct within hours and often spend much of the night and morning in the high 50s and low 60s on all by the hottest heat waves.

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]