I’ve been in work pants instead of wading pants, but I’ve had almost as much fun roaming the lodge grounds finding risers as I would fishing to them.  I mean, it’s tricos.  It’s never easy.

There are a few spectacle-level hatches on the Au Sable.  A blanket hendrickson emergence.  Bouncing drakes.  The massive Hex spinnerfall.  A white fly blizzard.  And, situated between these last two…tricos.  The little trico is okay on the South Branch (sparser bugs, less selective trout), and famous on the North Branch (tons of bugs, pods of trout), but I love to fish them on the Main, where you can find some great trout rising in shady little corners of the river.  Here’s one such trout rising on the fence-line this morning.

The trico spinners bleed into the #18 BWO hatchers, and then the angler must really start contemplating the box of small flies.  Olive trailing a trico?  Parachute or flat-wing trico (parachutes didn’t work this morning!)?  Sunken trico?  Mix it up, and fish an ant (my friend Steve taught me that one…and it works!). Stick with 7x, or go 8x (go with 8x).  How to set the hook (lift as if you’re checking if they ate it…that’s the perfect 8x hookset).  Sometimes all the trout are doing the exact same thing, eating the same bug, requiring identical presentation.  Sometimes, more commonly, they are all doing things a little differently.  Splashy trout along the log is eating olives.  The pod of fish in the riffle want any old trico, but fed to them in rhythm.  Some trout want the female.  The male.  Clear wing.  Hackle wing.  Probably a few will eat the Adams.  If you enjoy light-line fishing, this looks to be an incredible couple weeks of fishing.  The rivers have a good flow right now, the water temperatures will be dropping through the week, and the cooler air temperatures will push the bugs right through the late morning hours.  Mix in some dry and dropper fishing around lunch, and some careful terrestrial fishing in the afternoon, and the very excellent 7-9:30 pm spinnerfalls we’ve been seeing, and it becomes a very full fishing day.  I said this last week, and I’ll just say it again:  this has been a great July of fishing.

Last night I went to the lodge to do a little work, stopped at the fence run, saw a nice fish rising (8:30 pm, give or take) ran back to my vehicle, suited up hurriedly, and saw that another angler was just stepping into the river across from the big rising trout.  I decided to watch, voyeuristically, from the darkened restaurant.  The man’s family showed up to watch him hook, and land, the trout.  A dandy fish.  A dandy evening.  I was only slightly heartbroken.

We’ve had a pile of young anglers out fishing this week.  This trout below is one of many.

The rivers came up and have receded…though we might get some more rain this evening.  We’ll take the water.  It keeps the trout fresh and happy, and more willing to take a stab at eating the bigger dries (skunks, tarantulas, etc) as well as chasing small streamers (a great technique this time of year).   It’s funny how a trout season goes.  Low water all spring.  A drought, really.  And then, just when it seems the river is going to dry up, we get a very wet July.  High water summer, low water spring.   Don’t bet on that being a trend.  But it sure makes for a refreshing change from having to fish tiny dries all day.

Fishing in the morning mist

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




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