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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
1020 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
307 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
1050 ft³/s

July 17 : Au Sable and Manistee River Report

It’s often been said that is you don’t like the weather in Northern Michigan than just wait, it’ll change.

I love that about Michigan. We are a state of seasons. Whether you love or hate a particular season, it will pass into another either to your joy or sadness. However you feel about a particular change it is dynamic and keeps the year interesting. Every change, though sometimes bittersweet, ushers in a new experience and the front edge of a new experience is always exciting.


And, for the fisherman, the season changes are not just simply Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. There are many, many micro-seasons. For any given species of fish there is pre-spawn, spawn, and post spawn periods as well as early, mid, and late seasonal bite periods.

The angler has to, or rather gets to, adjust his or her techniques and expectations many times throughout the year. Each mini-season offers a new set of challenges, obstacles, and problems for the fisherman to decipher. It keeps things exciting, frustrating, and fun. If it was always easy I, for one, would lose interest.

So as we pass from the glory that is Spring and early Summer fishing into late Summer patterns it is important for anglers to be versatile and alert. The fish just aren’t going to be doing what they did even a week ago. For warm water, lake anglers that means small mouth bass and bluegills will be moved to deeper water structures, weed beds, and outcroppings that offer both food sources and cover from predators.


Upcoming Trico Hatch

For the fly fisherman the transition from early summer to late summer means a paradigm shift. We’re seeing the trickle off of the Hex hatch and the beginning of the Trico hatch. We’re moving from late night Hex fishing with two inch long dry flies to the biggest fish in the river to early morning Trico fishing with dry flies less than 1/16th of an inch in length to the smallest fish in the river.IMG_20140709_164746072_HDR

It’s a hard pill to swallow for the hardcore, big fish, night owls, but for another batch of dedicated fishermen, the best time of the year is just about to begin. The Trico hatch is easily the most consistent and dependable hatch that occurs on our rivers. The bugs are there in great numbers every morning and the fish rise like raindrops on the river. For many it is the arguably the best dry fly fishing of the year.

In many ways, I agree. Gone are the crowds and the hard-driving, all-in, stay up all night, gotta go or you’ll miss your chance, June attitude. July and August are vacation months here in Michigan’s backyard and it feels that way with the fishing, too. I’ll miss May and June and dream of those months until they come back next year, but to fish the early Summer correctly means a regimented campaign that, frankly, takes it out of you. I love it but couldn’t do it all year. This is the “just go fishing” season.

Tricos offer up a lonely chance to hone your dry fly fishing skills to a razor’s edge. The bugs are small and ultra-plentiful and the fish need the right pattern presented to the fish’s rise rhythm with precise accuracy. An eight inch brook trout can make a grown man look the fool if you don’t bring your “A” game. Pretty cool.

After the Tricos, you get to prospect the pools, runs, bubble lines, and log jams with ridiculous, rubber-legged foam-bodied offerings that are just simply fun to fish. Pressure’s off - just have fun. That’s what it’s all about, anyway.

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


Audio Report


Click on Orson for this week's audio version.


  • Rob Woodland

    I always enjoy your eternal optimism. I have seen some tricos, though the fish dimpling the surface like raindrops part continues to elude me. Casting to the logs and bubble lines remains casting practice. The solitude is very pleasant, and occasionally I manage to find a patch of blueberries for a snack while I sit and wonder what it was that I did in my past lives to deserve this year's karma. Keep up the good work.

  • Jim Coward

    Nice new format Andy. Thanks for the excellent reports.

  • I love the new website. Easy to navigate and the audio fishing report is great. I also like the bio's on the staff. I can' taw it to drop in and end some money. Every penny is well spent!

  • Dave Purvis

    Greets Andy. Well done on the site and the update. Looking forward to getting out of Nigeria and on to the Manistee. See you soon.

  • ian bancroft

    Andy, thanks for the great reports! You always give a personal touch that make yours stand out from the crowd. (and nice job on the new website!!)

  • Glenn Minser

    Thanks Andy, love the river reports! I'm anxious to get back to the Au sable. Haven't been able to get there yet this year, but soon! Tell Joe Hi for me. Hope to see you guys soon.

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