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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
1.2 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
3.7 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
3.6 ft³/s

February 26 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report


Good grief!  What a week.  Woke up to negative degrees far too often in the last couple of weeks.

It’s been so cold that I think every school in Northern Michigan was closed just so those poor kids didn’t have to stand at the bus stop.

I think it’s safe to say that angler participation was thin on the ever growing ice during this extended and severe cold snap.  This weather has been better suited for stuffing the woodstove and thawing frozen pipes.  I definitely wasn’t out there and not one of my friends braved the conditions either.  So my fishing report for the frozen lakes of Northern Michigan is don’t bother when the high temperature for the day is zero and the low is negative thirty.

And, hopefully, no one has been trout fishing on our area streams.  The fish had a tough winter last year and could use a break during extreme cold spells like the one we’ve just experienced.  I’m all for winter fishing during mild streaks but regardless of what the regulations allow, please use your best judgment and a little patience—there’s fine fishing in front of us.  Maybe even as soon as this coming week when the forecast shows a few thirty degree days.

So the good news is that there has been very little traffic on the water and quiet is a fisherman’s best friend.  Keep your eye on that ten day weather forecast and chop a hole in a frozen lake just as soon there’s a temperature you can bear.  I know I’ll be out there.  I’ve been indoors far too many days in a row.  Sometimes you just have to get out there and soak in some of those sun vitamins.

If you need an excuse besides fishing to get outdoors, I’ve got a project for you.  First get out your Google brain and key word search “Michigan State Snowshoe Hare”.  You’ll find an article there about the recent disappearance of the snowshoe hare in Michigan.  Read it.

It’s a topic near to me.  Some of my fondest memories are baying beagles during rabbit hunts with my Dad and brother and uncles.  Maybe we can’t fix what’s wrong but we can try.  The short story is that the hares need cover.  There are some brush pile building projects being done on public ground but I urge you to do some work on your private ground.  Tipping over trees while leaving them still attached to the trunk a couple of feet off the ground, or hinge cutting (perhaps with a cool axe), makes a quick and instant snowshoe rabbit house.  Get out there and make a few on your little piece of earth.  Brushpiles attract all sorts of wildlife and what good is living in the woods if you don’t have critters in your back yard.

Have fun out there,



  • Kim Goldenstein

    Bravo Andy! Tell it like it is. Glad to hear the call for SOMEBODY to rest the fish when they
    Should be given a break! Seems to me the river could USE a little healing!
    Thanks Andy for being "in step" with the resource! It's much appreciated

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