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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
879 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
130 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
743 ft³/s

December 11 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report

Seems like we’re on course to have a pretty much typical Michigan winter.  Right now there’s not a lot of snow in the woods and the thermometer is set to push the mercury into the thirties and even forties over the coming week and without much snow in the forecast.

The stage is set for a fun week here in Northern Michigan.

There’s just enough ice out there to get guys inching onto area lakes one step and one spud hole at a time.  The ice is thin and I certainly don’t recommend it yet but its coming.

The boys have been out plying the rivers in search of that thump on the end of their line.  Donny and Sean took a break from the Au Sable one day this past week and headed the Pere Marquette for some steelhead action.  Reports have it that there are steelhead in vary quantities in most of the streams but the Pere Marquette has a fair number of fish throughout its length.  The boys boated four solid fish, most of which succumbed to pink and clown eggs fished under an indicator.  Donny loves the spey rod and has become addicted to tricking steelhead on swung flies.  He was able to swing one up on that trip.

PART_1418237686669_20141208_122250Swinging flies on a spey rod is an intriguing way to play the game.  It requires a different skill set of casting and sometimes beautiful and elaborately crafted flies.  It is true fly fishing with unweighted flies delivered by the weight of the line.  It’s not always the most effective way to fish but then neither is bow hunting always the best way to harvest a deer.  Sometimes it’s just how you play the game.

The Upper Au Sable and Manistee have been trout fishing pretty well, too.  Streamer and nymph fishing are now and will remain throughout the winter, the only viable approaches.  Small, naturally colored streamers seem to be getting most of the action but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lean on bigger articulated flies especially if you’re looking for that “better” fish.  Water temps are in the thirties so fish flies slowly and accurately.

Muzzle loader season is still underway, but it seems like the deer hunters have lost some steam.  I’m only hearing a shot every few evenings and the DNR report says that the deer harvest was down statewide.  Plenty of that had to do with the weather with wild swings and lots of southern winds.  After all, most of us set up for North and West winds.  It seems to have made a difference.

PART_1418237721611_20141208_163503The thin skim of snow on the ground has made grouse hunting possible in this late season but not exactly productive.  Maybe that has to do with the crunchy nature of the snow that’s left or the red hot dogs and thin cover.  Regardless, I’m ready to give them a break until next year.  Hopefully, they’ll have a good winter and will be ready for next season.

Hopefully, you will too.

As for me, I think one more deer for the freezer and one more time into the grouse woods and then it’s to the tying bench and back on the river.  There may just be some more fishing in the coming fishing reports.  But we’ll see . . . there’s lots I like to do in Michigan’s outdoors.

Thanks for tuning in and have fun,



  • scott zimostrad

    Donny's (?) pic with the one piece hoodle thing takes me back to TBBBQ when the theme was:
    "It's about fishin', not fashion". What we will pay (especially us 'seasoned anglers') for truly ridiculous shit to put over our heads, hands and elsewhere to keep comfy. More weapon's for the antis! "Look! Those guys put on Russian ARMY surplus clothes to attack our poor defenseless,
    fishies, and bunnies and...." Seriously, I hope that thing on his head wasn't $100+ from Pat******

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