The Ides of March

Post-fly-show week is always kind of a drag.  Load the trailer, unload the trailer, load the trailer, unload the trailer…finally, today, some fishing!  The last two mornings have been cold — some of the coldest mornings of the winter, in fact.  Zero degrees today.  Not brutal cold, but cold enough.  But by noon it the temps were in the mid-thirties and Lance and I were staring at a nice fish eating nymphs…the beginning of a a pretty great afternoon.  The trout were pushed to the inside of the river, and for awhile it seemed every little rock poking from the sand had a really nice trout behind it and a few little rocks had some big trout behind them.  The largest was a dandy brown, probably between 18-20″.   It was sitting in a sand pocket and I nearly walked right over it before I stopped, and started that slow creeping backward waddle familiar to those of us who move through life too fast.  My first cast was to its left and it swung that way, ate, and I struck too early.  Fly change.  I went smaller and lighter (in weight), and once again the Perdigon was the ticket.  The fish slid left, I set tentatively, felt connection, stood from my crouch, enjoyed two dramatic headshakes, and then ducked as my flies slingshotted back at my face.  Damn!  But we did manage to fool some of those sighted trout, and every one of those is a pleasure.

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Check out the spots on the top of this trout — a beauty

The sun popped out unexpectedly in the middle of the afternoon, and the trout fled the inside of the river in favor of the cover of deep water.  We had no choice but to follow.  Now the fish were on the gravel ledges at the head of the drops.  We had some midges hatching and some mayfly nymphs high in the water column.  The March river is alive in a way that the winter river is not, even when there’s nothing rising.  It’s a different optimism in the angler.  A different fight in the fish.  7x and slim nymphs in size 16 were the answer.

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There has been a noticeable uptick in the fishing this past week, minus a few chilly days.  The long-term forecast ain’t bad.  We’re still a long way away from dry fly fishing, but we’re measuring the countdown to rising fish in weeks, not months.  In college, my roommate and I used to toast the Ides of March — a toast that seems well-tailored to the Michigan trout angler.   The feel in the air is that of spring.  The look of the river is one of spring.  And the feel of the fish is the feel of spring.

This upcoming rain could be that of spring as well.

We’re expected to receive a much-needed mini gully-washer over the next three days, followed by a snap cold front, and then a warming trend.  Depending on how much rain we get, the river might be pretty high and cold this weekend.  But we need the water, and now is as good as time as any to get it.  We’ve had nearly a year of drought-like conditions, and the river needs a flush.  The trout will feed, disperse, and settle into their spring spots.  By early next week, the streamer fishing should be looking pretty darn good.  Mix up your streamer colors this time of year.  Yellow if the water is dark.  White.  Olive and white.  Chartreuse and white.  Keep switching colors and retrieves but from what I’ve seen the fish are on the hunt.

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April Fools Spring Cleaning Sale and Chili Snack, 9 am – 2 pm

On Saturday, April 1st, we’re going to build a fire outside, build some chili inside, and celebrate spring.  We’re taking over the restaurant that weekend with sale items, giveaways, free fly tying materials, and more.  If the weather permits we’ll have free casting tutorials with instructor Mark (just show up and join in).  Basically, we just need a good excuse to throw a small but worthwhile party to celebrate the new year.  We hope you’ll stop and say hello.  We have rooms to rent that weekend, and guides available as well.

Early Spring Guide Trips

From now until mid-April we have guides available nearly every day of the week.  This is a great time to fish the river.  We’ll use streamers and nymphs to fish these early spring trout.  It might snow, it might rain, it might be 70 degrees — and we’ll fish through all of it.  If you’re interested and trying out the “pre-season season”, shoot me an email at [email protected].



Previous Fishing Reports

Fits and starts

The last few (beautiful) days we’ve seen a little bit of everything on the Au Sable.  Strong BWO hatches that, due to the sunny conditions, haven’t been of much use

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The first mayflies of the season mean something every spring, even if only serving as a sign of spring itself.  For two of the last three days, the mayflies have also meant

Read More »

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