There’s a lot hotter places to be, but I’m sick of the heat.  I’m sick of looking at the future forecast, eyeing what appears to be a good fall day, anticipating the afternoon olives and the little streamers, and watching those fabulous cool forecasts melt into what has been one, continual heat wave.  I’m sick of rain storms missing us.  If August exists to highlight the pleasures of fall, mission accomplished.  I’m there.

Green heron!

We’re not roasting, but water temperatures on the upper North Branch, South Branch and from Parmalee downstream are definitely warm on the hotter afternoons.   The river below Mio dam, which is seeing white flies right now, is also seeing sustained water temperatures over 70 degrees, so we are leaving those fish alone.  The shorter days have tempered some of the issues we had earlier in the season on the rest of the upper river.  The trout rose throughout the day today, at least in front of the lodge, and that’s a good sign.  There was also a modest flight of ants today, and that’s also a good sign.  If it rains, and the sun comes out…watch for ants.  Cinnamon and/or black.  It’s the best fishing our late summer has to offer, if you’re lucky enough to hit it.

The tricos are still going strong in the mornings.  Once they wrap up, I like to fish a tandem rig — dry, and a beadhead dropper — and work any fast water depression.  This is lunchtime fishing.  I’m not quite certain of what conglomeration of events occurs, but our trout in the summer eat nymphs best from the time the tricos thin out until about 2 pm, give or take.  The afternoons are for either fishing a small streamer or pitching big dries up into the shade or along the wood.  The late afternoons are flying ant time, from here until early October.  The evenings have micro caddis and small BWOs (size 24, or thereabouts), often producing a flurry of rising that lasts just long enough to fool a few of them.  Afterward, we’ll enjoy one last moon cycle or so to throw big flies for big trout after dark.  That’s a full fishing day.

A perfect trout with an imperfect, weird phone-camera adjustment to its snout. 

So, about those lies…  Next week looks significantly cooler, with overnight lows in the 50s.  This should mean the afternoon fishing perks right up.  It should make for some great prospecting with dry flies right up to dinnertime.  It should mean the trout start chasing traditional small, fall streamers.  It should mean evening trips below Mio dam, at some point, to enjoy the white flies. And if it happens, well, I’ll be out fishing.  Aside from a little of this and a little of that, I’m taking a break — hopefully for just a few days — to get ready not for the high season, which is spring, or the second season, which is summer, or the cold season, which is winter, but the Sweet Season…which is just about…now!

Used Rods:  Email [email protected] or call 989 348 8462 if interested

Winston IM6 8’6” 5-wt 3 pc:  This all-around classic is one of the most sought-after fly rods on the planet.  In the IM6 line-up, this was the only rod listed as medium-fast.  To the modern angler, this will be firmly medium-actioned.   It will become your favorite.  Soft enough to fish tricos, stout enough to whip a streamer. This rod has been personalized.  Excellent condition. $500 

Orvis H3F 9’ 4wt 4-pc:  New, slightly demoed, save about $350 off the price of retail.  The H3F is a dry fly rod.  It’s fast enough for the wind, soft enough to roll-cast, and very accurate.  This is the modern dry-fly angler’s fly rod.  Orvis warranty on their new rods is awesome:  They can ship you a new replacement section, negating the need to wait a month or more for your rod to be repaired.  $600

Orvis Superfine Glass, 8’ 5wt 3-pc:  Excellent condition.  The “F” in fiberglass stands for “fun.”  Fun to cast, fun to fight fish with, and glass is a natural tippet protector.  Short enough for a creek, stout enough to cast big dries.  $325 

Hardy Zephyrus 9’9” 3 wt 4-pc:  Very good condition.  This versatile rod can be used for tight-line nymphing, dry and dropper, long-line fishing dry flies, and leaded soft-hackles through a riffle.  Very light in hand.   Hardy has found a niche with their longer rods, and there’s not much else like them.  $450

Orvis Trident TLS Tip Flex 9’ 11wt 4-pc:  A back-up tarpon rod, musky rod, striper rod, salmon wincher.  In mint condition!  $200

Orvis Rocky Mountain 8’6” 5wt 2 -pc:  Good condition, much-more traditional action graphite fly rod.  Makes me feel old to call it a throwback…but it’s a throwback.   You’ll have fun with this rod.   It’s a sleeper stick.  $200

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