A drippy spring day. A few BWOs. A few fish rising. Mainstream high and tannic. South Branch at 564 cfs and climbing (which means that it’s pretty much out of its banks). For me, one nice spring rainbow from a narrow deep pool. These aren’t easy conditions and I was happy for the fish I pulled from the only pool I fished. But…
The BWOs have begun, and the forecast over the next seven days is one of warming and mayflies and, I think, the beginning of the first dry fly fishing of the season. I don’t think this will be a late spring, just a spring with a momentary delay. Comparatively, the river was warm all winter. And it’s going to be warm through the weekend and all next week. A cold march has caused only a slight delay before the big events release us from winter captivity. The gap between last snowpack and first hendrickson will be quite short in 2023, at least if the forecast holds. So ready the Gink and the floating line: April blues, help is on the way.
A couple big rains have put a serious dent in the snow. I forget how much I like things like mossy logs. No kidding. I saw this beauty on the sprint from the river to pick up the kids, and I had to stop, take a pic, and post it up top. It’s all novelty when the snow melts. Sometimes it’s a mossy log, other times it’s a slipper the dogs have buried in the snow of the dog yard. This is a muddy and ugly time of year around the house. Six months of dog poop, once held captive in layers of snow and ice, arrives as a veritable blanket of crap. But gosh it feels good knowing that next week at this time I’ll be sitting on my butt hoping a fish rises in the shadows.
The rivers are high. They are probably going to get higher over the next few days. If this fishing forecast seems too rosy, it probably is. We have a solid week of high water even if it doesn’t rain. Not so bad for the boat folks, but the wading angler needs to proceed with caution. I have successfully waded and caught fish on dry flies on the South Branch at over 500 cfs (later in the season, say, early May) but in general the Main and North are the best places to wade fish on the Au Sable for the next week or more, and even then, only with great care. If you don’t know the river, come in and see us and ask. We’ll help. If you do know the river, then know that the river in spring is way different than the river in the summer, and the extra six inches of water flowing past you are the fastest inches of water in the river! The wading angler can fish streamers in the soft water, or nymph the edges. As it warms up over the weekend and into next week, a dry and dropper or shallow suspension rig will work…sometimes quite well. Water temperatures will move right into the 50s if in fact we get air temps near 70 next week. That, along with the high water and better hatches of BWOs, will spread the fish out into more traditional runs. Fun fishing! Just be safe.
Come Enjoy the Preseason Season: We’re serving dinners on April 7-8 weekend, and April 14-15 weekend. The long range weather forecast looks pretty darn good. Might not have rising fish yet, at least not that first weekend, but if you’ve not fished the early season, it’s a treat. Nymphs and streamers, easy water or difficult, float or wade…it’s especially nice to be on the water before the northern woods fill back up with people. We have rooms and guides available. Just email me at [email protected] if interested.