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Currently in Grayling, MI:

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River Flows:

Mio Dam
1050 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
245 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
939 ft³/s

January 1 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report

A winter warm-up over the Holidays gave eager stream anglers an excellent opportunity to pull on waders and slip around in the stream.  With multiple days above freezing and the mercury even pushing into the forties, even the most reluctant winter fly fishers were at least thinking about a trek to the creek.

The fishing ended up being pretty okay by winter standards, which essentially say that if you catch anything you did well.  Winter trout fishing can be great with good numbers of nice fish hooked and landed, but as often as not it is more an exercise of “just getting out there” with the reward of a fish a fine bonus.  It does seem, though, that when you do get a fish or two this time of year, they run a bit better than average.

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The best fly angling will nearly always align with the best weather trends.  A string of warm days seems to produce the most trout.  That may be due a theoretical bump in water temperature that corresponds with a warm air event, but that’s not always the case.  Sometimes the ambient air temperature warms just enough to melt the snow causing the resulting melt-water to dump into the stream at 33 degrees and offsetting any benefits of the Southern breeze and sunshine.  During the very early Spring melting snow can actually cool the water.  So warmer water may not be the cause for the better angling.

Some folks believe that warm trends in the winter produce better fishing because of the resulting increase flow.  I like this idea—reasonable bumps in water volume do seem to spark sub-surface feeding throughout the year.  And I do believe in and enjoy talking fishing theory, especially in the winter when it’s tough to get a fix.  I also like reducing the mysteries of fishing and being practical.  The biggest reason we do best on warm winter days and prolonged warm stretches probably owes mostly to the fact that we stay out longer and hit it harder.

Regardless, all that warm weather has left us for the time being and this frigid stretch is building ice on the lakes around the clock.  Tread carefully, but it’s time to ice fish on the most of the inland lakes.

Thanks for listening and I’ll see you, well, on the ice this week.

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