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River Report - August 18, 2021
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
I struggled through a computer crash and got a little behind on fishing reports - my apologies.
Technology is wonderful when it works easily and nicely, but for a guy like me, with dirt under his nails, and smelly waders, broken computers are a bother. I like the technology of a sharp axe and leather gloves, but I’m often lost in the world of ones and zeros.
I like the technology of modern fly rods that load closely and still cast accurately at distance. But I don’t really need to know about all of the fancy resins and high-tech carbon blends that make it work, and I don’t really need to understand the nuances of the premium metals that help the snake guides move line. I just don’t need to know how the hotdog is made. I simply need stuff to work perfectly and feel good. Give me a compass - you can have the GPS and all of its pin-dropping apps.
I guess that’s why I like pursuits like fly fishing and bow hunting and shot-gunning over bird dogs. Sure, we use plenty of tech in fancy rods and lines and in compound bows and dogs with GPS collars and such, but in the end, it’s just a rod and feathered fly and a sharp stick flinging off a string and a bird dog partner pointing a hidden grouse. All of those things come down to a shot or a cast and a pure moment and game on the ground or a fish in hand.
I hear my rambling frustration. I suppose that’s the true reason to wade into the ferns and waters - to seek something pure and honest and simple. Pure moments.
Fishing has been tough the last week. We’re in the doldrums of August. Cool nights have water temperatures feeling fine at sunrise and flows are good. Beautiful, cold mornings have anglers seeing some action until the burning orb marks lunchtime, but the fishing slows dramatically when sweat dribbles down your neck under the straw hat.
Tricos and olive hatches are waning, but they’re still getting some fish to the surface and the terrestrial fishing is garnering looks. Wet flies produce the most opportunity these days. Wet skunks are a must.
We’re not catching a lot of fish, but I’ve yet to have bad hours on the River.
White flies are any day. Fall is soon.
The brook trout know it and have started to move around the system. I fished the South one morning in a pool that traditionally holds lots of fish only to find very few. But the next day, fish were scurrying underfoot. There must have been fifty or sixty of the little speckled trout finning the currents. Competition Euro nymphers would have put a lot of trout on their clickers, but we had a fine time catching a few foolish fish on dry flies.
The best fish I’ve seen this week took notice of the wet skunk. They’ve really been a day saver. I fished with a twelve-year-old youngster from Washington D.C. one morning, and though not a lot of trout ate the rubber-legged wet fly, plenty entertained the idea and we saw good numbers nose the offering. The best of the bunch was a thick, teen-sized brook trout that came to the bug twice but never committed. It’s funny how a trout you don’t catch can be the fish of the day. That’s a brookie (and I don’t like calling them “brookies” as it seems to undermine their greatness) that I’ll remember for years and will sneak into my dreams.
My boys of Summer - the college guys - are gone now. They’ve made my Season. Good guys. Guys I’ll miss. This is the best crew we’ve had in years. I’ll be a happy Dad if Jack grows up just like any one of them.
What a season. I think it was my twenty-first in a fly shop. A good batch more of years on top of that just fishing. It’s a blur of great memories and poor times of sacrifice and struggle. The trout and the places they live and the people drawn to the Rivers have made it all worthwhile.
I live a fortunate life.
I hope you all get one more chance to wade into the waters this year. Living is easy there.
Our new shopping website is up and operational. Please check it out. We’re not experts yet, but page is looking pretty good and we’re starting to ship gear out daily.
We have a complete line up of Simms Waders and boots available in the shop for those that are tired of patching up those old, battle-worn, river trousers. And, as always, we have a full rack of Sage, Redington, Echo, and Scott Fly Rods. Our fly bins are impeccable - if it’s not in there, you likely don’t need it.