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River Report - April 23, 2015

The sun hanging long in the sky; pushing warmth into the riverbed and through back of that hanger weary fishing shirt . . . boy last week was something special.  It was easy to get excited as the rivers warmed daily and we were able to hang out in and around the waters we missed so well over the winter.  It was nice to see the olives and stoneflies roll off and to see the first rising trout of the year start to eat them.  A couple of seventy degree days capped off a fine week.

I saw my first Hendrickson last Saturday, only one, and though one isn’t a hatch, it was enough to stir hopes that those bugs would get started even though the forecast was for colder and wetter weather.  We had six days on the North Branch of the Au Sable with water temperatures in the fifties and turned over rocks and sticks up there had Hendrickson nymphs scrambling for refuge.

The rain and cooler air didn’t deter the boys at shop from hitting the river late Sunday and Monday with chicken sized streamer lashed to their line but with one eye knotted to the water scanning for bugs.  It was not to be, but though no one was rewarded with good dry fly action, they happily settled on some very good streamer fishing.  They caught some nice fish with the best brown trout stretching the tape to twenty six inches.  A true trophy by anyone’s measure.

Big Trout Bob with a whopper - this fish would be enormous against a normal sized man, but Bob's a specimen.
Then that was it.  Fishing stalled midweek and the trout just didn’t feed for a couple days.  I don’t blame them—it’s hard to get moving with a dusting of morning snow on the ground.  That said, we’re back in the fifties and with a little sun on the water and those hendricksons ready to pop and those trout hungry from a few days off, good fishing should be just around the corner.  In fact, you should probably stay for the next two months.

The Spring Peepers are a great gauge of when fishing will heat up.  Those little frog’s crawled from the ooze long ago and have made their living in these Northern swamps and bogs.  They’re not out there playing games and singing for fun—they’re making a living.  So when they get to doing their thing, the rest of the seasonal ecosystem is about to wake up too.  They started last week and be the end of it were just about deafening at night.  It’s all close.

The shop’s coming around and lots of you will get a first glimpse at our opener party and over the weekend.  We’ve gotten a lot done in just a few days in there, but hey we’ve got a great crew.    This isn’t a ramshackle bunch of boys that just want to go fishing (well, not as much as we used to be), this is group of adults.  A group of pros.

This is my second time building a shop out of an empty building.  It just so happens that it’s the same one nearly eight years later.  I’m feeling pretty lucky about that.  And, again, I couldn’t be more pleased with the people I get to work with.  Even the guides are taking days off and chipping to get things ready.  It just makes life so much easier when you’re surrounded be good people.

There’s lots to do this opening weekend.  We’ve got our annual trout season celebration starting at 1 p.m. on Friday April 24.  The library has a nice event and rare book sale from 6-8 on that same day.  Kalkaska has Trout Town all weekend long.  And, of course, there’s the fishing.

It’s all open now, so go have some fun.

We’ll see you really soon,