Scorcher (and the reprieve)

It has been terrifically hot not only in northern Michigan, but across great swaths of the Midwest.  It culminated today in cancelled guide trips and, I think, a fair amount of disappointment among anglers who traveled to fish the cold waters of the Au Sable only to find said waters to be lukewarm.  It happens during hex season…but usually we can find some cold water.   I know some anglers went out tonight with game plans to wait for the water to cool,  but most of us are just laying low.  Personally, I’m happy for the extra sleep.

But the Au Sable and Manistee, and most of the rivers in the Northern Lower, are spring-fed rivers, and a cooler night tonight (Wednesday) and a cloudy, cooler day tomorrow (Thursday), should return much of the Au Sable and Manistee right back to normal by game-time Thursday.  A lot of folks are used to lakes, which hold the heat.  Rivers just flush it through and the spring waters replace it.  Clouds and rain will definitely help.  We will see more hex on both the Au Sable and Manistee, enough to chase for another week or so.  After that, each successive night will offer diminishing returns.  At some point within these diminishing returns, a lot of us will call it a hex season.  Others will chase the big bugs northward.  To each their own.  Fly fishing, after all, is a personal endeavor.

The morning fishing has been, and will continue to be, quite good.  Blind fishing attractors in the dawn’s cool waters, working a dry and dropper between weed beds, watching for morning caddis, drifting deer flies under cedars, and twitching skunks are not only all productive techniques, they hint of the diversity of the next month of fly-fishing, which I think is the most underrated month of the year.  The Isonychia will be especially important this weekend with the cooler, cloudier conditions.   But we are in the middle of the hex season, and I know we need something of a hex report.  Here goes:

I think anglers can expect to see hex on the mainstream of the Au Sable and much of the Manistee through early next week.  The South Branch will spit bugs on and off for through the weekend.  The full moon has made it pretty awesome to be out there at night, even when the fishing doesn’t materialize.  Hence, anglers can expect picky fish, and above average scenery in a silver river valley.  It’s hard to beat that!

As always, remember that fishing is fun.  Use your red light to help guide other anglers around your position.  Enjoy the scenery, the nighthawks and whippoorwills and woodcocks, the thrill of hearing a big fish rise and the general adventure that surrounds hex fishing.  It’s a main event, that’s for sure.  But it’s only fishing.

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We’ll Clean Your Boat!  Thursday 6/20 and Friday 6/21, 12 pm – 5 pm

We are excited to have Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council here for the next two days washing your boats, for free, using their mobile boat washing set-up.  Clean boats help keep down the spread of invasives.  And a clean boat is a great way to kick-off the rest of the hex.  They’ll be in the casting field at the lodge tomorrow and Friday, from 12 pm – 5 pm.

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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