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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
0.8 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
2.7 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
2.2 ft³/s

November 20 : Au Sable & Manistee River Report

Here in the Au Sable Valley winter arrived with its bluster and blow just a shorts stone’s throw before the opening day of Michigan’s white tailed deer season.  Hunters bundled up in heavy garb and gear and squeaked through a few inches of snow on November 15th to watch the sunrise on a hopeful opening morning.

Opening Day

I heard the first shot right at daylight far off in the distance.  Minutes later another.  Then another.  The clocked ticked and more shots in lands far away.  The traditional and expected five shot volley rolled arrhythmically—someone was shooting at one running.  Then one close.  Man, I was running out of bucks!

It’s been a lot like that my whole hunting life.  Dawn breaks and there’s shooting and with every gun report you just know someone else is standing over your eight point.  After all, we’ve all heard for years that some huge percentage of bucks get shot opening day.  My uncles used to claim that something like seventy percent of all bucks were harvested that day.   I don’t know if that is historically accurate or not.  I certainly couldn’t find that information on my google brain that I rely on so much these days.  And it wasn’t evidenced by the two bucks on the Lovells pole or by the reports from the guys in our deer camp.

All and all it sounds like opening weekend in our area was slowed down a bit by the storm front that moved in and the deer moved sporadically throughout the entire day.

And the information from my deer camp is really solid . . . you’ve got to understand that, as much as I would like it to be, our deer camp is anything but traditional.  Though we do get together for things like stories and summer sausage, and venision chili and backstraps, we don’t sleep under the same roof or hunt the same properties.  We are a fragmented group, and I’m almost ashamed to say, united mostly through long, group messaging text strings.  We are, too much so, a virtual deer camp.  What can I say other than times change.


There are benefits, though.  The internet is all about information and between everyone in our deer hunting network we cover the corners of four counties and hunt both private and public lands.  Most importantly, it allows us all have some deer camp comradery.

Anyway, between everyone we only harvested three bucks over the long weekend which was less than half of what we saw last year.  I’d say there are a lot of deer that slipped through and the second week should offer some great hunting opportunities in some warmer weather.

Fishing Report

I know there hasn’t been much fishing in the fishing report in a while, but I, frankly, don’t like to pump up fishing around the spawn.  I’m not opposed to fishing that time of year as long as folks leave the redds alone, but I just don’t like to push it.


Plus, the highs this past week were in the upper teens and low twenties.  Now I would call myself a fair weather fisherman by any means.  I prefer fishing in the rain.  I do sit on the sidelines when the wind chills sink the temperature into the teens.  Winter warms ups are really more the game I like to play and it looks like we have one of those headed our way in the coming days.  A string of near 40 degree days is headed this way and would be a great time to stretch a line either nymph or streamer fishing.

(Note from The Web Guy: Just want to remind you that you can find all the cold weather gear you need for these trips over in our store...)

I may just have to get out of the woods and into the river.

Good luck out there whatever you do,


Audio Report

Click on Orson (or here) for the audio version:



  • Mike Brodbeck

    I like the new format, especially the pop-out River Report.

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