It really is 92 in the shade.  We’re poling riverboats, not flats skiffs, and the trout don’t like the heat any more than any of us do.   The hex is a warm water bug, and these are warm water conditions.  The river temps are borderline or beyond right now, though some stretches will cool enough by this evening for a little fishing.  I’m weighing a late night muck stir to see if any hex duns are hatching.  The big bugs are trickling in from the corners, but as of now…we are waiting.

Big fish story:   A father and son were fishing a tough after-dark trout.  After exhausting the usual fly patterns, the son pulls out a size 16 Adams…and several very exciting minutes later, lands a 25 inch trout, complete with pics and video.  It was enough to make me sit bolt upright at 12:30 am.  The working theory — or at least my theory — is that this fish, and several others like it, though smaller, have been sipping the trickle of after-dark cahills.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trout.  I spoke to the breathless duo today.  Awesome stuff.

Img 7306

Working a big fish by full moon

It has been a good week, at least as far as weeks-between go (what we consider the week between drakes and hex).  We’ve done well blind fishing big dry flies, and honestly this is one of the best times of year to go throw some foam.  It’s also the start of our two-month long deerfly season.  The Awesome, which imitates several terrestrials, will be the searching fly of choice on the summer-like days.  Fish it fine and far off, as they say:  6x fluorocarbon as a tippet, tied to a tippet ring, and at the end of a longer leader.   I’ve also done very well fishing a double dry rig with an Isonychia emerger behind an attractor or Isonychia dun.

But rest assured, at some point between this report and the next, there’ll be some hex fishing, and some hex catching, and with it some of the most exciting nights of the summer.  We have this heat wave, and another heat wave next week, and between that we have more favorable temperatures that will allow for some good daytime dry fly fishing.   By the time I write this next week, I’ll be pretty well tired, bug-eaten, and happy.  Most of you will be too.

Img 7302

Attention Mio Floaters!  We Need Your Help!

Anglers of the Au Sable is discontinuing the annual cleanup below Mio to focus on cedar restorations on the Big Water. We ask each of you who float the Mio water to carry a trash bag and pick up any trash that you see during your float. We do not want to impede on your trip or curtail your enjoyment and we hope that you catch fish. But if you pick up even a few items of trash during each float it will likely equal or exceed our recent loads during the annual cleanup.

In turn, we are going to make a significant effort to replant cedars along the banks of the Big Water to nurture the health of that river for centuries to come.

Let’s work together. Thank You.

Didymo:  This nuisance weed exists in the middle of the upper Manistee, downstream from CCC, and anglers who are visiting the Manistee (anywhere on the Manistee) should take  extra precautions when hopping between the Manistee River and other Michigan Rivers.  Ropes, Waders, Boots and Anchors.  Dish soap and water, 409, or even diluted bleach.  We have a wader/boat wash station at the lodge.  A little extra care can go a long way.

Check out Dr. Ashley Moerke’s Webinar Here:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6328838831125503238.

Previous Fishing Reports

On the woods and water

I was chatting with a couple hunting buddies the other day and we all noted that on precisely 9/15 — the opening day of grouse season — our various pooches

Read More »

Rainy fall days

I love rainy fall days, and even if they don’t lead to the streamer fishing I think they should, the spirit of them — of change, migration, and the shadowy

Read More »

Upcoming Events

Gates Lodge on YouTube

Want more fly tying videos? Click above to visit our YouTube channel.

Gates' Catalog