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River Report - August 11, 2016

Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
Trout like it cold, dark, and wet.  We don’t have much of that in the heat of August here in the Au Sable River Valley.  But we’ve been fortunate enough this season to have timely rains and relieving cold nights that swoop in on the heels of hot spells.

The rains keep the springs flowing and pumping cold water into our streams that are inevitably low.  In some ways the low water levels can help the stream temperatures by allowing the cool spring water to have a stronger cooling effect on the river temperatures.  And, of course, nights that dip into the forties do a fine job of helping battle the summer heat.  We’re gonna need a little of both after this latest hot streak and it looks like we may just get it.

Early mornings will continue to offer the best stream trout angling opportunities as the water temps will be at their best for the day.  Tricos and olives are the order of the morning, but the fishing has been even better when the hatch wanes and the fish are still looking to the surface.  Then it becomes time for small attractor pattern like Patriots and Royal Coachman parachutes.

The water clarity is as important a factor as any right now.  Water in Northern Michigan now is ice water glassy.  Trout in our region are subject to a higher than average natural predation rate.  Herons, ospreys, kingfishers, eagles, mink, and otters all take their toll on our trout and the make the fish ultra-wary.  That means, for us, that the second, third, and forth year trout are largely hidden in the logjams and weed beds when the sun reaches the water.

So most of the fish caught in the shallows during sunlight hours will be small fish that are relegated to the center of the stream.  As the water drops, the side rider cover becomes prime, crowded real estate.  Look for the water itself to become the cover.  There’s only so much room under the logjam, so better fish will be forced to use deeper cuts, riffles, and pools.  To take advantage of this phenomenon, think nymph fishing.  A slow, wet presentation is perfect for fish that don’t want to make strong moves to a stream or dry fly.  That is, if you want to catch a bigger trout.

Good luck out there, and we’ll see you on the River.