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Old AuSable Fly Shop


Currently in Grayling, MI:


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River Flows:

Mio Dam
982 ft³/s
Smith Bridge
181 ft³/s
Parmalee Bridge
900 ft³/s

River Report May 17, 2016

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report

20160516_142703The caddis KaBoom! happened and the Sulphurs got rolling. The first warm days after a cold spell often make good things happen and the yellow sun did its part to make the yellow bugs explode this week.

There’s too many different caddis on the water to list them all singly. The troop would better be served by a credit roll at the end of a blockbuster mini-series, but the popcorn caddis would be in the biggest and boldest fonts.  Those light olive bodied flies that look white in flight emerge thickly on sunny days and bounce on the water seductively like popcorn kernels bursting under low heat in the pan.  Trout love them.  And though there are other caddis species in the mix with different colored bodies, this group of insects doesn’t spend enough time on the water for the trout to make scrutinized decisions.

The trick to caddis fishing is simple and really fun. Fish your flyIMG_20160517_185533 actively.  The movement triggers strikes better than any exacting pattern.  When a fly wakes the surface on accident, it’s called drag, but when you move the fly in a quick inch, it’s called skittering.  And the strikes are explosive.  Tie on a size sixteen and get to wiggling that fly pole and you should have a fine time this week.

If you really want to increase the numbers on your fish count clicker, tie a second fly off the bend of the hook. Soft hackle droppers behind an olive stonefly this time of year can double your odds.  Leave the wet fly about a foot beneath the dry fly and then just fish the dry like you normally would but be aware that now the dry fly not only 20160517_120246works as a lure, but that it also is acting as a bobber.  If that dry fly disappears beneath the surface, strike—bobber down.  Another difference here is that when the dry starts to drag and you’d normally pick up your line for new cast, you want to let the whole rig skate across the surface.  When that happens, the soft hackle rises to the surface and looks like an emerging caddis.  It’s a little like cheating.

But that’s not all. We still have some lingering Hendrickson spinners and black quills in the air and the little mahogany spinners will show up on these warm evenings.  Not to mention that the Sulphur spinners are about to take over the evening rise.  There’s so much happening now that it’s hard to cover it all.  You may just want to see it for yourself.

Whatever you do, get to a stream this week whenever you can steal 20160517_164151a moment. It’s gonna be good.  I’ll be there.

Brave the construction and come to the shop—it’s not that bad and I really hope to see you all soon,



  • Tom Hughes

    I may be coming there soon and might have one day to fish. I'm looking for a public access area which would allow me to wade. I'm going to stop by the shop also. Are there wading opportunities for me?

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