It’s that time of year again.  Leaves are changing, nights are cold, and the river wears the trash from a summer of watersports…time to clean it up.  Every year I hear gripes about never finding any trash.  Well, that’s precisely the point.  The first few years of the cleanup, they filled a 10 yard dumpster.  Now, through annual cleanings, we end up with less.  And what we do end up with is recycled.  This year, we have added reusable garbage bags — no plastic — and Rusty’s poking sticks are going to be supplemented by those squeeze-handle grabby things.  We will be meeting at 9:45 am on Saturday, September 11th.  It’s very important that you sign up ahead of time, and let me know how many people you have:  [email protected]  This helps the beats get coordinated so we get a full sweep of the river.

Speaking of the river…it’s high.  All we can do is hope that it clears, drops, and is good to go for Saturday.  If in fact it stays high, and on the South it might, we can focus our efforts on what we can safely clean.  It’s as simple as that.

If you have a boat, and are willing, I’ll be working tomorrow to reassign what were once wading stretches to teams that have use of a boat.  Please email me to let me know, even if you’ve already signed up.

Now, onto the fishing.

It sure feels good for it to be fall.  The rivers came up, the sky got that broken, brilliant look it gets this time of year, and the trout began chasing streamers.  Fall olives — size 20 — are hatching.  The first good ant days might be this weekend.  The autumn Isonychia is around, making prospecting with a size 12 dry fly a productive, relaxed way to fish.  Swing soft hackles.  Fish dry and dropper.  Try for some of the last mouse fishing of the year.  Fall isn’t just a season, it’s a state of mind.

The North Branch is in excellent shape.  The South and Main are high and stained.  The Main should clear up tomorrow.  The South Branch flows at the whim of Lake St. Helen, and it looks like they are letting go of some of water.  Still, we might have a drop in water levels by Friday.  250 cfs is very comfortable wading through the flat stretches.  Below 200 cfs is more idea.  We are fishing smaller streamers — sizes 2-8 — aggressively for pre-spawn brook and brown trout.  If you’ve not fall streamer fished, it’s a fast-paced and exciting way to fish the Au Sable.  The trout are in the prime of their season, and are feeding in anticipation of their spawn.  They are also on the move, shifting and jostling for position.  You never know what might chase out of a log jam.  A six-inch brook trout, or a twenty-inch brown.

We look forward to seeing everyone this weekend.


The kids are back to school.  The woods and waters are quieting down.  And River Cleanup is coming:  September 11th…and more details below…

Below is a list of cleanup beats we use.  Pick one, and let me know.  Let’s make it happen…

Not sure what to do or how you can help:  Contact me at [email protected]  We have a job for everyone, from cleaning parking lots to wading the river to planting the cedars to helping around the event.  Sign up for any/all of these by emailing me at [email protected]

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