Rites of Spring

The first rite of spring has to be the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo.  We leave for Detroit in the winter, and truth be told we usually return to snow as well…but darn it, once the show comes and goes, it’s spring, full steam ahead.  This week we’ve seen black stones hatching, and not much else.  But the trout fishing has improved on the Au Sable.  I left work the other day at 2:07, put waders over my jeans, walked into the river, and had non-stop nymph fishing for about a half hour.  It was so much fun.  I ended up snagging and losing my flies, and that was it.  That was enough.  They were pretty trout:

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But we can feel it in the air now…and so can everyone else.  The phone has been ringing.  Fly tyers have switched from the fancy new flies they wanted to try to tie to the bread and butter bugs.  BWOs.  Hendricksons.  I replaced the skis we store on the rod rack in the winter with the family quiver of fly rods.  It’s nice to have the rods back.  My kids have been thinking of fishing.  In March, there’s not much else to do other than trout fish.  The lakes are frozen.  The ski-snow is mush.  The bike trails are still frozen.  So…you fish!

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Our rivers are in good shape.  We are still in low water, but there is moisture in the woods and in the ground.  We’ll need some rain — in fact, we’d love a nice big warm rain — but for right now we’re going to get some snow and some moderate temperatures and that’s okay too.  Streamer fishing is improving with the longer days and warmer afternoons, and we are mixing in brighter flies (chartreuse, white, yellow) with our normal black/brown winter offerings.  For nymphs, the trout are definitely keyed in on mayfly imitations and you should be too.  We’ve had a very warm winter, and chances are that the aquatic insects, like the trout, have enjoyed it.  Whether we have early hatches in 2023, well, that depends on the weather between now and April 15.  But when it comes to nymph fishing, the insects are going to be much more mature than they would be after a brutally cold winter.  I’ve been catching fish on size 12-16 nymphs.

The fly shop will be closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend as we move it down to the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo.  We will also have our hotel closed during that time.  Once we return and unpack, we’ll be open 7 days/week from 9 am – 2 pm until the weather truly breaks, and it’s the season once again.

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