The Midnight Derby is this Saturday, 8/14…and we have a few spots left!  Help us raise some $$$$$ for the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  $50/team of two.  Food, fun and games.  Maybe some fishing.   7 pm – 2 am.  [email protected] to join.


This week was pretty crappy.  Hot and humid.  It stormed when it shouldn’t have, and didn’t when it was supposed to.  We canceled trips for nothing, and launched into apocalyptic wall clouds.  The rivers are dirty and high but, thankfully, will clear and recede pretty quickly.  I don’t have much of a fishing report.  The lodge was riddled by power outages and whatnot, guide trips got shifted all around, and the only day I really got out was after dark, with Lance, and that, I guess, was cool enough to make up for all of it.

It didn’t start out that way.  Two hours in, and we’d moved and landed one rock bass.  Some nights I can just sort of laugh it off, and other nights I have determination.   This night in particular I had a somewhat dangerous determination.  We bounced around the river system as the clock ticked later.  When you’re night fishing and you’re not on vacation, there are various mental warning lights you must ignore.  The gentle yellow that glows at midnight lets you know that if you quit now, and sleep proper, there will be only a moderate impact on your life.  This is the exact same light most people get at two beers.  It’s this yellow light I typically obey and it’s the one I ignored.

We waded into a long pool that I’ve fished for a long time, and fished all the way through it.  Nothing.  This was red light flashing time.  It was late.  Late for this guy, anyway.  But…

We walked back to the top of the pool, this time with different flies, thinking we’d figure it out.  And we did.  Lance landed a dandy.  Then I hooked and lost a dandy which Lance summarily caught on his pass through.

What comes after the red light?  Nothing.  Just blackness.  At this point the damage is done.  Stay out as late as you want, you’re already in the same amount of trouble.  Some might get depressed about this.  Not me.  To me, knowing you’re already screwed offers a rare sort of fishing freedom.  Go for it!

We went to another run.  And another.  The forest was waking up like it does in the middle of the night.  A huge fish rolled in the middle of the river.  I swung it.  Nothing.  A few yards down, a good fish burped at my fly, but didn’t touch it.  I changed bugs.  Nothing.  Changed again.  Nothing.  Okay, okay.  I snuck below the fish and cast upstream.  The glare showed me the seam, and the swirl of the fish at the first cast, and the gentle eat on the second cast.  it was a dandy trout.  It was, like the two Lance caught, a fish of distinction.  I fell asleep at about four in the morning.  Maybe later.  I don’t know.  Happy?  I think so.  Yep — happy.

And that was it.  The storms came and changed everything.  Shuffled the deck.

The North Branch got a lot of it.  It is high and dirty as of Thursday evening, but it should clear up tomorrow and be fishable upstream of Dam 4.  That river flushes quickly.  The South Branch, as it does in the summer, handled its water well…and, with the cooler weather, will be fishing pretty well through the weekend.  The Main, which handles the heat the best, is dirty and high but should be dropping all day tomorrow.  What we need, from a fishing stand point, is a cool down.  That is coming.  And, with it, some dry, high-sky conditions that will stabilize the rivers and the fishing conditions.  I expect, by tomorrow evening, there’ll be BWO spinners and trout rising to them and all will feel normal.  Watch for flying ants during the late afternoons.  I think this will be an excellent week of daytime trout fishing.


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”

 Mainstream

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

 

SOUTH BRANCH

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

 

NORTH BRANCH

N-1: LOVELLS TO KELLOGG BOAT

N-2: KELLOGG TO PARMALEE (OR EARLIER ACCESS) BOAT

 

MIDDLE RIVER

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