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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
1080 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
211 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
939 ft³/s

January 29 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report

Boy, I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I sure am happy we’re getting some snow.  Not only do the businesses that rely on snowmobile tourism need it, but things were getting pretty crusty and icy out there.  Plus the roadside snowbanks were getting sorta dirty and dingy and our little towns were starting to look like something out of a Southern Michigan winter.

And we certainly don’t want that—a good part of the reason we live Up North is because it is so beautiful.  A touch of fresh snow does wonders to clean-up our winter scenes.  It’s a snow globe again out there.

It sure has been a roller coaster of temperatures this winter.  But, frankly, that’s a good thing for me.  If it was always just nice and warm out there, all I would do is play and there are lots of flies to tie if those fly shop bins are to get full.  They certainly aren’t magically filled by fly tying elves or my deepest wishes . . . believe me, I’ve investigated both avenues.  So on those negative ten degree mornings, we’re stoking the fire and twisting up patterns.


My winter fishing rubric is pretty simple.  When the temperature is below 20 degrees it’s hot coffee, a warm fire, and fly tying.  Between 20 and 32 degrees, it’s ice fishing.  When it’s above freezing then it’s time to think about hitting the stream.

We had all of that this past week and it looks like a trend that’s going to repeat itself over the coming days.

There’s been a bit of river trout fishing available.  The usual nymph and streamer fishing tricks have fooled a few brown trout on the Upper Au Sable and the steelhead bite on the lower river was worth a trip.  Hardly anyone is fishing below Foote Dam and there seem to be a fair number of fish down there.  I mean it’s winter steelheading, so don’t go expecting one after another, but fish slowly and with light line and you may just be rewarded with a fish or two.

Just pick your lake for ice fishing.  The catching can be day to day and even hour to hour but all area lakes are producing to some degree.  I hate to keep picking on Higgins but hey it’s a cool lake with lots of room and the perch and lake trout are on the bite.  Look to low pressure days for the best results.

Thanks for listening and I’ll see you on the water.



Click Orson (or here) for the Audio Report


  • Wood Woman

    Hey, easy on the down state, it isn't lookin' to bad. Not as good as up there, but, not to bad. Can't wait for next weeks report. Makes me feel like I'm there.

  • Wood Woman

    Hey, easy on the down state, it isn't lookin' to bad. Not as good as up there, but, not too bad. Can't wait for next weeks report, makes me feel like I'm there.

  • Chris

    Wood's "too bad", not "to bad". Please use the right word. There is to, too, and two!

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