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Au Sable & Manistee River Report - 6-11-2015

Free Fishing Weekend June 13 & 14th.

Au Sable River anglers are all a bit bleary-eyed.  We’ve been chasing the Brown Drake hatch in every corner of the river system.  Most of the Au Sable still has the big drakes and that should continue for the coming week, and though the hatch has climaxed, we’re still getting some fresh hatchers and some less consistent spinnerfalls.

The hatch progression is moving.  You should go to the river expecting Sulphurs, march browns, little yellow stoneflies, and Isonychias.  And, go, hoping for brown drakes.  Be sure to stay late enough to listen for brown trout rising to newly hatched bugs.  The mating flight of brown drakes, Iso’s and the evening fishing should wrap up just after dark each night, but you may just get rewarded with another, better trout if you stay late.

You may also see the first of the Hex.  They’re much closer on the Au Sable than folks expect.  The Lake Irises are in bloom and Iso fishing turns to Hex fishing in a wink.  When that late night, slurping brown won’t eat your fly, turn on the light and you may just see the giant Michigan Mayfly twisting in the currents.

You’d also be wise to start looking to our sister river—the Manistee for drakes.  They should be there in a blink.

One thing I wouldn’t do is sit around waiting all day for the night bite.  The morning and daytime fishing has been good.  The fish aren’t huge, but you will have a fine time casting to and catching plenty of brook trout and smaller browns.  It’s fun to look at all those huge brown trout pictures on the website and to hope for one for yourself, but don’t lose sight of how fun it is to just go fishing.  There’s no right or wrong way to fly fish and getting bites and bends in your rod is simply fun.

Simms wader company is hosting a “Simms Demo Day” at the Old Au Sable Fly Shop Saturday the 13th from 9-5.  There will be handouts, great specials on select gear, and deep discounts on discontinued products.  Stop by and take advantage of the festivities.

It’s June.  There’s no better time to be a trout angler in Grayling, Michigan.

Now let’s talk about the Night wrecker.  Even though I know better than to tangle with this animal, it’s a beast you just can’t lay off of and she always wins.  She’s the trout that rises even when the bugs are sparse.  She rises loud and with abandon.  She rises in the twiggy tangle of branches.  She’s impossible but you just can’t leave her alone.  She’s the one your mother warned you about.

I’ve been on two this week.  The trout is buried in branches and eats everything and not matter what you do, you will never catch her.  You’ll try from all angles.  You’ll roll your fly neatly and tightly on the edges of the snags only inches from the rise but that fish never moves out.  You hope for more bugs to get her into the main flow and you hope she’ll be foolish enough to take a chance on that fly just inches from her, but hopes, sometimes are just hopes and she never makes a mistake.  Finally, you’ll make that last attempt—a Hail Mary that even if she takes will certainly result in gnarled break-off.  But you try anyway and after all that time and all your best efforts, you’ll lose the battle, your fly, and a night’s fishing.

The question is whether it was all worth it.  I can’t answer that for you.  All I know is that I can’t lay off those trout.  It’d be a fun game to win.  You won’t.  I don’t.  But it’d fun.

Man, I just like being out there every night.  Seems like you always see something cool.  Of course, it’s just special to sit by the river and watch the world go by . . . it’s shoulder lowering.  I never feel any better anywhere in the world.  Well, probably at home with Jack and Gloria . . . life would be most perfect with them both sitting right there next to me on the Au Sable.

Don with Guide Jamie Don with Guide Jamie
Doug and Daughter Rachel Doug and Daughter Rachel
Doug and Rachel Doug and Rachel
Good Daytime Brown Good Daytime Brown
drakes-in-the-skyline Drakes in the Skyline
tim-neal-brook-trout Tim Neal's Brook Trout
Neatest thing I saw on the river this week was a mink.  We see them almost every night, but this was a notch up.  Remember last year when Greg gave us that picture of a mink that attacked and killed a Heron for dinner?  Maybe it’s the boy in me, but that was pretty neat.  The other night we heard a bunch of chipmunks complaining and a few minutes later a mink bounced proudly down the bank with, what I can only assume was the slowest moving chipmunk, firmly clenched in his teeth.  Dark image I suppose, but at least no trout were harmed in the process.

You know, all I can say is get out there and have some fun.  I hope you do.

I will.

Take care,