Aside from today and tomorrow, there just isn’t much fishing in the forecast. I’m up in the board room watching other people tie flies, which is something of a specialty. We have Isonychia, Purple Daze, and Robert’s Drakes going right now. Jordan has a vise, and some tools, and the distant stare of a midwinter ice fisher. I’m going to poke around and fill some gaps in the nymph box before I get out on the water tomorrow.
There is a lot of tying on the horizon. I tend to not tie in the sequence of the season. Nymphs and streamers get filled in on an as needed basis. The dry flies, though, are tied far in advance. The order of the dry flies is ultimately determined by inspiration. Only later, in March, when the press of the season requires a more systematic approach, do I start to go over what I need, rather than I think I need.
Some of the rivers are freezing up. Tanker called me today to tell me the river at his place was up three feet — undoubtedly the result of a downstream ice dam. The Main and the South handle the winter better than the North and lower river. I remember years ago Matt and I had to wait for a stretch to thaw out before we floated onward. It hasn’t been THAT bad yet, and I’ve got fishing plans for tomorrow, but otherwise we’re just up here tying some flies.
We’ve got LOTS of new tying stuff at www.gatesflyshop.com
We will be at the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo in March. Until then, we are open 9 am – 2 pm everyday until spring, and our lodging rooms are open if you need an escape. The local ski trails are groomed and in good shape.
The Preseason Season: Guide Trips and Lodging
What if it snows? Cold? Rain? Wind? If you’ve never asked these questions, then you should probably consider visiting the Au Sable in February, March, or April for the pre-season season. This is a great streamer/nymph time of year, and we have guides that specialize and are experts in catching trout during the late winter and early spring.
The standard trip is either a 3/4 day starting at around 10 or 11 am, or a 1/2 day starting around 1 or 2 pm. We use drift boats, though we do offer wading nymph instruction if you’d like to work on a specific technique.
What can you expect? We’ll fish hard in high water for big trout. There aren’t usually a lot of them, but the ones that come to the fly are often the biggest fish we’ll see all year. Early to mid-April can provide some fair to great dry fly fishing, but dry fly fishing this time of year is a bonus, not an expectation.
Couple the fishing with a very quiet river valley, a nice warm room back at the lodge, and a sense that you’re getting the season kicked off in the best way possible, and you have yourself a pre-season season.
We can customize these trips to meet your needs. Email me at [email protected] (or just reply to this email) if you’re interested in exploring this quiet time of year.