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River Report - April 1, 2016

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
April first means it’s time to belly-up for a new Michigan fishing license. Cost is eleven dollars for seniors and twenty-six for youngsters.  Kids don’t need a license until they age up to seventeen.  It’s a cheap ticket to one of the greatest shows in Northern Michigan.  You can’t hardly buy a steak dinner for that.  Of course, my advice is to get your 2016 license and try to go often enough to make it cost only pennies per trip.

Steelhead angling is in full swing, but with the recent rains, most of the rivers that house those critters will be tough to fish. Wading is difficult nearly everywhere.  Think about jumping in a boat if you want to tie into one of those leaping rainbows.  A good guide can be worth his weight in gold.  Our boys still have some limited dates open.

Also, we’ve still got a bit of wading available in our neck of the woods. The North Branch and the Upper Manistee offer a couple of options for do-it-your-self trout fishermen.  Streamer fishing will certainly be the order of the day.  In the Upper River, plan on fishing a six or seven weight and flies up to about five inches long.  When wading, I fervently believe that the smaller waters are best served by floating fly lines and weighted flies.  The floating line allows you to mend and let your bug slide into difficult lies.  When you wade you can only cover relatively short stretches of stream and taking advantage of every possible haunt is completely necessary.

Streamer fishing on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers has been about the only game to play recently in Michigan’s fishing world, but it’s about to be the best of all games to play. A slow and tiered run-off is already peaking and, barring any huge rain events, the river levels will continue to very gradually shrink.  There’s some fine fishing in the near future.

If you’d like to give streamer fishing a try, but don’t really know where to start, give the Old Au Sable a call and ask about our Streamer 101 classes.  At only $149 per person for six hours based on double occupancy, it’s a great introduction into the most effective fly fishing tactic for trophy trout.

We also have our last of the Spring Streamer 201 schools coming up. The class will be April 8th, 9th, and 10th, includes lodging and is based on double occupancy.

On May 14th and 15th, Sage Fly Rod sales representative Ben Hunting will be hosting an introduction to fly fishing class. The class is held over two days and includes a FREE FLY ROD.  Cost is $200 for the event.

Expert fly tyer and designer, Dennis Potter will be giving FREE tying demonstrations over opening weekend this year. He’ll be in the tying seat starting on the day before opener during our Annual Celebration of the New Season.

There’s a lot going on this year at the Old Au Sable, so stay tuned.

Hope to see you soon,