And so it begins

After a few false starts, the hex have come to the Au Sable.  Not wanting to fall victim to rumor, I made it to the river tonight for some first-person verification.   There hadn’t yet been a big blow-out hatch on the upper river, but tonight seemed, at least in the world of mayfly hatches, to be about as sure a thing as tomorrow’s sunrise.  Since I didn’t have the river to myself, I’m guessing others thought this way as well.

After a little smallmouth float with my oldest, I drove solo to a couple of sneak in spots at about 11 pm, extracted a couple of nice trout, and headed back for a nightcap and to write this fishing report.  The hex were pouring out of the muck.  The better of the two trout ensnared me in a log jam which required me to fish it out with my arm.  As I reached far underwater to get my leader unlooped from a stick, something hit me in the side.  It was the tail of the fish I was trying to free.  The exhausted trout was casually finning right next to me, a few inches under the surface.  So I netted him.  It was an absolutely silent battle.

Back at home, I shucked off my wet hoody and my soaked arm was covered in hex shucks.  It was that kind of hatch.

What does that mean?  In the short term, that there should be a hatch and light spinnerfall tomorrow.  And then a mega spinner fall on Friday.  And so on, for the next week or two, traveling up and down both the Au Sable and Manistee.

It also means that all the stories and hoopla that surround hex are soon to begin.  Like the ecstatic couple just downstream of me that fished silently for a long time until, at last, the target fish was hooked and landed.  They were so excited.  It was awesome.  Just upriver, I saw a doe standing guard over her fawn, two sets of eyes, one smaller than the other, in my headlamp.  I saw two dudes taking a break on the tailgate, eating some food.  I found a new place to cross so I could get to the backwater I wanted to get to.  I saw a silver rainbow leap from the moonlit river.  And I found a mega trout, right near the end of the emergence, but there just weren’t enough bugs to hold his attention.

A hit list trout.

And this was just night #1.

It’s going to be a wild week on the Au Sable.  Keep your batteries charged, and sleep when you can.

Img 1403

June 15:  Winston and Bauer Demo Day — Test cast darn near the entire fleet of “green sticks.”  We are known first as a Winston dealer.  These are rods made for the dry fly Au Sable angler, and the Bauer reel is one of the very best at protecting fine tippet.  Purchases of either enter you to win a brand-new Winston.  Not a bad deal.  Peter will be on site 11 am – 4 pm on Saturday, June 15.  If your heart desires either a Winston or a Bauer, this is the day to to do it.

20240607 231718

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 »

Upcoming Events

Gates Lodge on YouTube

Want more fly tying videos? Click above to visit our YouTube channel.

Gates' Catalog