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River Report - April 25, 2019

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report

The opening week of the Michigan trout season has arrived. On the last Saturday of April all eleven thousand five hundred miles of trout stream in our great state will be open to anglers.  Combine that with more coastline than the entire Eastern seaboard and we’ve got a mighty impressive fishery here in the Great Lakes.

Trout Opener has been an unrivalled tradition in our great state for generations. Even the white-tailed deer rifle season takes a back seat.  Many years ago children had the first day of school off for the dawn of pheasant season.  It was only after the pheasant all but disappeared from our Southern Counties that deer season became so important.  But always, through it all, men and women pulled campers and pitched tents in Northern Michigan at the end of April in the hopes of fooling brook, brown, and rainbow trout.

That tradition has faded over the last few years with year around trout fishing opportunities on special waters and with more hectic family schedules and internet weather and fishing reports that have folks trying desperately to pick only the best, most perfect days.

Rarely is an opening day of any season perfect for reaping the wild. Trout openers usually have high water or cold days and fly hatches that don’t quite materialize.  I remember many where we knocked snow off the tent by bumping the canvas from the inside and kept fires in the rock ring steaming and smoking from breakfast to the empty bottle.  But they were always openers with good friends and family old-timers and eager young newbies.  Sometimes the weather and fishing was better and sometimes it was worse.  Always we were there.  Always we had such fun.

This one - this opener - has just a little more chance of better. We’ve turned the corner of high water with all reaches of river in Crawford County crested, clearing nicely, on pace for fishable conditions.  Better yet, the hatch progression of our earliest blue-winged olives and stoneflies are predicting that Hendricksons are imminent.  There are turkeys gobbling and Spring peepers peeping.  There’s buds on the trees.  And we’ve seen some of those Hendricksons already.

Grab your gear and your family and your friends and get back to making the old tradition new again.

We’ll have our 12th annual day before opener party.  Complete with food and drinks.  It’s become part of the tradition.  I hope to see you there.

I’m looking forward to seeing the old anglers come through the door with the slow-footed, riverwalk shuffle they’ve earned and meeting the new hawk-eyed, young guys that stride deliberately—straight backs, chests out—moving with the swagger they need. I’m especially looking forward to the unblinking newcomers that move in small circles around the shop with a bee hive of question in the heads.  The annual Au Sable Waltz—in shops and over rocks and sand and between anglers and insects and trout—is about to begin.

I can’t wait. It’s going to be a fine season on the Au Sable.  I’ll be in the shop a little less and in the boat a lot more this year.  Guide demand is through the roof and I need to stretch my back some, so I’ll be guiding some.  Many days are already filled or close to it, so if you’re thinking of getting together with a guide give us a call soon—the major outfitters in our area are in high demand.  Wait too long and you’ll have to head to the tavern at lunch time and find an independent!

Let the games begin!

I’ll see you on the River,