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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
861 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
130 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
748 ft³/s

April 2 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report

I dreamed of brook trout the other night.  Now I’m no psychologist but I don’t believe it was because they are the most beautiful fish in Michigan and my personal favorite.  I think it was a dream of Spring actually arriving.  It’s no secret that Mother Nature has been dangling that carrot on a stick for weeks now.  Spring has been a long time coming.

And nothing marks the beginning like the first brook trout of the season.  Of course, there are other signs like the first robin, crocuses sprouting in the flower garden, spring peepers singing in ponds and swamps.  But absolutely nothing plants Spring’s flag like those little speckled, square tails.

But so far there are no Robins.  There are no Spring Peepers.  And there are no brook trout yet. But it’s all really close.  We’ve finally hit some fantastic weather.

As fishermen, we’re glued to weather reports and you could see a good fishing days coming this week.  A string of mild days with one that had all the tell-tale signs of a great fishing day.  A fine, warm sunny morning that was to give way to clouds in the afternoon.  Something about high barometric pressure giving way to a falling barometer just triggers fish to bite.

Everyone was excited and ready to hit the river and ply the water with streamers.  I’ve been hobbled with a foot injury and wasn’t going to be able to take on a long streamer wade, so I was on my own and relegated to slowly nymphing pools that were easy to access and wouldn’t require a lot of walking.  I was on my own.  But that’s not a bad place to be on a trout stream.


The boys all made their plans and headed out to various stretches of stream and as I was driving to the pools I planned to fish, I crossed a bridge on the Au Sable and there was one of my friends, mid-stream, with a bent rod.  I pulled right over to watch the catch.  There was Todd with a lunker brown trout rolling in the current and streaking to dark corners of the river.   I could see the whole thing from the bridge.  He poked at it with the net and the trout dodged and made for the downstream depths.  The fish was strong and pulled line until the leader broke.

That was it for me.  I couldn’t get my waders on fast enough.  It turned out to be our first fine fishing day and I think everyone caught brown trout.  It won’t be our last.  Things are started now and the brook trout will be active soon.

There are blue-winged olives and stoneflies and midges about.  Justin saw a fish rise on a guide trip the other day.  The river is coming alive.

Don’t forget to buy your new license.  The new fishing year is upon us.


See you soon,




Click here or Orson for the audio report

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