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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 4 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report

The world keeps turning and the eclectic weather of Northern Michigan swings us into yet more outdoor seasons.  We’ve had cold and snow and we’ve had warm relief as well.  It looks like we’re in for another bout of almost pleasant weather as we slide into the whitetail muzzle loader season and the late grouse season.

So far this fall our area has seen record and near record snow falls, below average temperatures and then some above average, nice weather that melted nearly all the snow that fell.  Hey it’s classic Michigan stuff - if you don’t like the weather just wait.



IMG_20141203_123109_352The good news is that there is always some way to enjoy Michigan’s outdoors.  I have friends that have taken advantage of the weather in all sorts of different manners.  Of course, we’ve been rifle hunting for the last two weeks, but I also know a few folks that donned snowshoes and went for a shuffle while the snow was deep and others that waxed up their cross country skies and hit the trails.

When the weather broke a couple of times, fishermen hit the river in their cold weather gear and tossed streamers comfortably to the log jams and fishy lies only to be rewarded  with yellow, brown trout flashes and shark attacks.  Winter fishing, when the air temperature is over thirty two degrees, is good fun and a great way to get some fresh air and put a blush on your cheeks.  Plus, you may just put a bend in your rod.

IMG_20141203_122138_521As for me, I’ve saved my doe permit and trudge once more into the deer blind.  On the DNR website it states that the managers are shooting for a 35% buck to doe ratio.  I applaud that and know that we’re far from it in our area.  I’m no wildlife manager and I certainly don’t propose to preach management to anyone.  That said, I’ve been passing on the small bucks for the last four years and I’ve been taking my meat from does and this year I was rewarded with a nice seven point and now I’ll supplement the freezer with a another doe.  I know it’s not perfect but it does seem to work.



On a more fun note, at least for me, I got to spend a full day with Jack.  So what do you do with a two year old for a whole day?  Well, when you have three bird dogs going stir crazy after two weeks of deer season lock-down, and you live in my house - you take that little boy to the wilds.

It was cool and I had a good game plan.  I knew Jack wouldn’t be able to keep up long enough to tire out the dogs but I knew he’d want to try and would never get back into that car seat again once I let him out.  So I kept him in the car seat as we pulled into the woods and I released the hounds.  I jumped back into the driver’s seat and bounced three miles an hour down the two tracks.  Those dogs were wound for sound and ran like no one was watching.

After about two miles of driving and the dogs slowing down, it was time to release the baby.  We went for nearly a mile walk and that little guy ran about as hard as those dogs for half of it.  He was so tired at the end that I had to carry him back for the last 100 yards.

IMG_20141203_122951_197I would have had to carry him further but I was savvy enough to give him some breaks along the way.  I brought some bags with me and had Jack help me gather pine cones.  The wet year we had produced a huge red and white pine cone crop.  This wasn’t just some placid way to occupy a toddler, though.  Having a good supple of these things in the garage really helps when you’re trying to start a fire on a cold January night.  That kid is already pulling his weight.

Fun day.

Thanks for checking in and do your best to get outdoors,



  • Rod Jenkins

    Sounds like you're having great fun with Jack. Enjoy the two year old because my four year old grandson is already growing out of some of the fun two year old stuff and soon he'll be in school and will be harder to get him to spend a day with papa. However, I am looking forward to the day he can use the bamboo flyrod that I made for him the year he was born.
    I'll see you in the spring.

  • If I knew at one time, it was nice to be reminded your boy's name is Jack. Could be the best male name i know - u might remember that I named my Lab JFK. We did not name our daughters Jackie, Jaque, or Jack-o-Lynn because I married a girl from a republican family and also Jackie Kennedy's breasts were just too small...
    But Andy, please bitch slap me silly if I even mention that I'm building a cane rod for my grandson. It's OK if we hope our kids and grandkids take up our interests. But unless you are a cane rod maker, and mb Rod is a builder (so making another is no major operation), such "gifts" should be made with some caution. Sure, there's that part about giving and making such a production/gift is a giving a part of you. But in there lies the rub.
    Rod (and other similar crafterpeson types) might just hang on to that rod until if and when the grandkid develops an interest in your passion. Hell, he/her could turn into one of those weird tree hugger types like David Smith, who seems to live to protect the outdoors, but would suffer a panic attack if he hooked a fish (cuz it might feel some distress, or something?). Or even worse, your grandkid could live in Grayling, and just go out when it's mid June, and time fer the "Michigan Caddis" hatch. All you need then is (great) grampas' fiberglass 7wt, nicht?

  • Pat Humphrey

    Thanks for all your great reports. and there is NO denying whose kid Jack is! MY goodness!! What a resemblance... Can't wait for another fishing season up in the North Woods. Have a wonderful Christmas Holiday! Pat Humphrey.

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