All the rest

So by way of a hex recap:  A lot of big fish were caught, I heard of no fistfights or anything like that, no one backed their truck into the river, piles of fly fishing items were lost and found and many have been returned.  The bugs started once around the 1st June and again around the 10th of June and proceeded, in fits and starts, through the end of the month.   The water temps got warm — hex is after all a warmwater bug.  The river flooded and receded and flooded again.  And the hex, which are like the ultra-marathoners of the insect world, just kept trucking.  They are mayfly in name only.  It’s hard to keep the hex from emerging and spinning, be it cold, or rain, or heat.  And once they are on the water, the trout tend to eat them, even when the water is high.  I received a hundred pictures that looked something like this and I liked looking at all of them:

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And while the hex isn’t over yet, it’s certainly headed that way.  If you want to chase hex, they are pretty much confined to the Au Sable between Wakeley and Mio Pond, and on the Manistee between 612 down toward CCC…and they are waning rapidly.  I will probably go looking a few more nights, but the quest is different — made with less expectation.  And when I feel expectation waning, I know I’m ready for the Second Season.

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What makes this mid-summer fishing so great?  I think it’s the variety and choose-your-own-adventure atmosphere.  Whether it’s pods of fish rising in the morning, or twitching skunks in the afternoon, or looking for a good evening riffle for Isos and yellow stones, creeking, mousing, bassing, or whatever it is you want to do…the fact is there won’t be too many people wanting to do the exact same thing.  Solitude comes easy on the trout stream in the summer, especially if you can tune out the uptick in recreational boaters.

The #18 BWO — the lata — is hatching every morning and gathering as spinners in the evenings.  The cooler forecast will result in some excellent BWO fishing in the late morning and early evening, and the nymphs of this bug allow for some excellent dry/dropper fishing through midday.  The lata is one of our best hatches of the year, and rivals or even surpasses the sulphurs of May, in my opinion, and would be a destination event if it didn’t hatch on the heels of the hex.  This is far and fine dry fly fishing.

The Isonychia fell heavily last night and will stick around through the next three weeks.  They are a two-month bug on the Au Sable, and not only do they get the fish rising, they provide the basis for much of our attractor-fishing over the next week or two.  If you are out fishing, and find a fish rising aggressively toward dark, chances are it’s eating emerging Isos.  And if not that, a size 16 yellow stone.

During midday, blind fishing deer flies and rubber leg flies provides excellent opportunities.  I think the daytime fishing gets better in July as the trout, sad about the waning hex, have to search a little harder for their calories.  There’s not much that beats a bottle of cold water and a long downstream wade of the river, pitching exciting and creative casts up into the shadowy runs along the banks.

And that’s only some of what we have coming.  We’re excited for the Second Season.

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Previous Fishing Reports

Trying hard

You have to try hard this time of year — harder now than a few weeks ago.  I got out a few times this week and had a blast.  Yesterday

Read More »

A quiet wade

There is a little patch of the South Branch that I consider something like my home water.  It’s not my favorite stretch, but I love it.  As teenagers we used

Read More »

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