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River Report - December 17, 2015

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
The mild December continues and, while I’m still hoping for a white Christmas, the reality is that old man winter is limping along and the big chill likely won’t arrive until January. So go ahead and spool up the new line on the ice fishing rods and change the plugs in the snowmobile and just generally tune up your snow gear.  But in the meantime, take advantage of the extended Fall.  Squeeze in one more trip to the woods and waters of Northeast Michigan.

Conditions are perfect for a streamer fishing float trip on the Au Sable or Manistee River. The water is up and stained and angling has been good most days.  Whether it’s going one more time this year or fitting in a fly fishing brown trout excursion that you just couldn’t cram in between deer hunting and steelhead fishing, a fine window exists now to slide into our rivers.

With the swollen flows and darker water, your fly selection can run the gamut. I would stick to large, articulated selections fished with a slower strip/pause or even jigging retrieve now that slightly cooler water temperatures have arrived.  And I would start with flies that have been crafted to include white, yellow, or even chartreuse. There are few things better in fishing than watching a visible bait glide though the water and then disappear in the swirl of yellow sided violence that is a brown trout attack.  If the bright colors don’t work, don’t mess around—tie on black and leave it knotted there for the rest of the winter.

It feels like November in the woods and the board is still set to play many of those games. Time remains to climb into a tree stand or to bounce down the lonely road to the grouse covers.  On those travels keep the ditches on your radar.  There’s a secret revealed there right now.  Watch for the tell-tale tall, yellowed, feathery fronds of wild asparagus.  There’s a lot around and now is the time to find it and mark your foraging spot for Spring.

David Ruimveld will be visiting the Old Au Sable on Saturday December 19th for a meet the artist event.  David is a Michigan artist that has painted beautiful sporting wildlife images for over a quarter of a century.  He will be crafting an original painting at the open house that will be given away to one lucky art lover that stops by to register.  This is an event not to be missed.

I hope to see you soon,