The trout are on the beds on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers. Be it moon or water temperature or whatever, the spawn seemed to start a week earlier than normal. The picture at the top of the report shows a few brook trout beds (they like the pebbles that are put at the boat launches), but the brown trout are at or near peak spawn as well. There’s a huge trout spawning near the lodge. We’ve argued about the size of him, but he’s a genuine giant trout. Is it Henry? Or an interloper? Either way, it’s a magnificent fish.
We fish around them. The BWOs had fish rising today. A few trout chased streamers, but what we mainly target this time of year are rainbow trout…at least until the browns quit spawning and we can get a few weeks of post-spawn winter streamer fishing in before the winter comes. This means fishing nymphs to a type of trout that isn’t going to spawn until spring, and is in prime fighting condition. Be it big water or small water, we love the rainbow.
What we lacked in spring rains this year (it was, truly, a drought) we are going to make up for this October. It has been raining…even when the weather says it won’t. Yesterday was supposed to be a dry afternoon and it rained all day. Tomorrow looks like a deluge, and Friday some thunderstorms. This should make for a good Saturday of streamer fishing and nymph fishing, but in general this is going to be a tough ten days for the trout angler with the fish spawning and the water temperatures falling next week. That’s how it goes heading into November. Fish a black streamer, drift a double nymph rig, enjoy the quiet river, give the spawning fish some space, and keep a lookout for the afternoon BWOs.
We’re heading into winter mode here. This weekend is our last weekend of restaurant service and regular hours in the fly shop. On Sunday we close the shop at 2 pm and from then until spring, we’re open 9 am – 2 pm. We are writing orders for 2024, and we have our winter catalog prepping for printing. I’ll be putting out another batch of fly tying videos this winter, and our Saturday free fly tying sessions will return starting in January, bigger and better than ever. The spring wouldn’t be the thing without a big long winter to sweeten the taste of it. Hunger is the best sauce, they say. That person must have been a trout angler.