This is the bug soup season: Multiple hatches that can epitomize the best parts of fly-fishing. The angler must play by the rules of the trout. Sometimes all the trout are eating the same thing, which makes for easy fishing if you can figure that one thing out. More commonly, the trout are eating different things. The riffle fish popping caddis. The tail-out fish sucking spinners. Mahoganies along the wood. Those days, you can either move methodically, changing often; or you can tie on a #16 Purple Daze and cover some water. The new driving hatch is the #16 sulphur, aka the light hendrickson. The #16 mahogany, the black caddis, the yellow stones, the Borcher’s Drakes, the last few hendrickson spinners, the soon-to-arrive popcorn caddis, the Mattress Thrasher stone…
This sort of bug soup gives us options. Swinging soft hackles, fishing the dropper, blind fishing dries, or studying the river for opportunities. Just keep in mind that the predominate fly is a size #16, and the best tippet to fish is probably 6x.
An evening sipper
The fishing that I’ve seen has been good. It hasn’t been good everywhere all the time, but I’ve found fish to cast at, and some of the fish have been quite nice. Yesterday evening (cool and clear-skied) the sulphurs hatched well and the trout got up on them. Working in the shop, I get to hear all sorts of reports, but the best days are when all the reports somewhat match. The bugs hatched, the trout rose, and the trout were picky. Perfect. There is a good crop of medium-sized browns in most of the upper river, which has made the daytime fishing a lot of fun.
We’re about to hop on another weather rollercoaster. But unlike early May, or during hex season — when so much of the fishing is driven by a single hatch — this wonderful third week of May, which is probably my all-around favorite time to fish the Au Sable, has enough different bugs, which will hatch in enough different conditions, to create opportunities from the 80 degree days, and the 50 degree days. Hot days, fish morning and evening. Cooler days, fish right through the afternoon and dinner time. Bring multiple boxes and spools of tippet and, if you need them, reading glasses (this, I believe, is a note to self) and enjoy some of the finer hatch-matching, and all-around fly-fishing, we have on the river that helped write Selective Trout.
Book Signing with Dave Jankowski: The Venerable Fly Tyers, Saturday, May 21, 9 am – 1 pm
I love this book and you will too. A sprawling collection of fly-fishing misadventures on the Au Sable and beyond. Dave will be signing at the lodge. Available in soft and hard cover, and meant to be savored, be it on the river bank or winter couch. And…very funny.