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River Report - August 11, 2017

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Trout fishing on the streams of Northern Michigan is holding up very well so far this Summer.  Usually, the stream conditions deteriorate as the Summer rolls along.  The water gets low and clear and even, sometimes just a bit too warm for good fishing throughout the day.

That just hasn’t really happened this year.  Trout like it cold, dark, and wet and this year we’ve had plenty of that weather.  The cool nights and generally rainy conditions over the last few weeks have the cold springs pumping and the water temperatures primed for good trout activity.

Fishing starts in the early morning light with attractor patterns and the hopes of a thick, strong trout and then turns into a hatch-match affair to little tricos and blue-winged olives.  Those hatches have plenty of first and second year trout feeding selectively to often prolific emergences of the small mayflies.  That fishing can last for twenty minutes or for three hours.

It’s a fun game to play and polishes up the morning angler just in time for the terrestrial rise that starts before lunch and lasts, on the best days, well into the afternoon.  I like to work bigger flies wrapped on size ten and twelve hooks for that event.

In the absence of the hatch and steadily rising fish, we are simply prospecting for trout.  We’re using flies that just may garner the attention of trout that can put a real bend in the rod.  We usually think about this kind of fly as an attractor pattern—a fly that may just have a trigger like color or flash or profile that will tempt a trout into a mistake in the angler’s favor.

Color and flash certainly have their place in the list of triggers, but size also acts as a strong temptation.  And, of course, putting the offering in the right place makes the most difference.  Running a fly tightly to cover like logjams and leafy, shadowed overhangs is usually rewarded.  But too often, anglers forget give their lure some movement.  When a grasshopper falls to the river it kicks and struggles.  If you can do that, you’re fishing your fly as a living insect and you’re doing it better than everyone else.

Have fun out there,