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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
1050 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
218 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
933 ft³/s

January 22 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report

The relatively mild winter temperatures have made for some nice angling opportunities this past week.  When the mercury pokes into the mid-twenties and even thirties, afternoons are actually pleasant outdoors and a dose of fresh air sure helps the winter slide by.

River fishing on the Au Sable has been pretty slow, but is certainly an option when you see water dripping from the eves of your house.  My main indicator to hit the river is when the snow avalanches from my metal roof.   The bigger the snow slide, the better the outlook.  It’s a better signal than the solunar tables in the winter.

We’re not catching many trout on the river but nymphing and streamer fishing is producing some fish.  Nearly all the access points are do-able with a good four wheeled vehicle, but use your best judgment.  If you’re launching a boat, do some scouting and walk to the water before committing to your adventure.


Preparedness is a necessity, too.  Your winter fish truck should have a full tank of gas, a tow strap, jumper cables, a shovel, some kitty litter or road salt, and a strong hundred foot rope.  That tote of goodies can save the day.  And that hundred foot rope can make an access socked in by shelf ice or plow piles, while still a poor choice, at least possibility.

Ice fishing is in its prime right now with good reports from all over Northern Michigan.

Tip up town is in hopping on Houghton Lake and though the fishing may have slowed a bit with all the traffic on the ice, folks are having a great time and all indications are that the event is a great success and certainly lots of fun.

Higgins Lake has shaped up really well.  There’s about six inches of safe ice, and a mixed bag of fishing options.  Ice anglers are pulling up a few nice pike and lake trout on tip ups and there have even been reports of some smelt action.  The best of the smelt bite should be in front of us yet.  The perch bite is the main game, though.  They’re not huge and you’ll have to sort your catch, but dunk a wax worm on a tear drop above a pelkie tipped with a minnow and you’re in business.  The action is between twenty and fifty feet of water.  Follow the tracks in the snow and hop holes to find the action.


The Fisheries Division 2014 Annual Report is now available at .  It’s an interesting read.  Check it out.

Have fun out there,



  • Dave Hilton

    Andy, this is the season for fly tying. I get out about the last of May. I can't do much fishing in this wheelchairHave a great season.... Dave

  • Greg Hoover (Tennessee)

    John Gierach has a good comment in one of his books. Something like: I had such a bad case of the shack nasties that I barely avoided ice fishing. (hehehehe)

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