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River Report - December 30, 2017

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Here we go!  It’s ice fishing time now.  The winter blast is upon us.  We normally average about thirty degrees this time of year but the current ten day forecast is locked in single and low double digits.  The ice machine is cranking.  I can almost hear the ice popping and cracking.  I can certainly hear it when my deck pops under my feet on the morning trudge out to my wood pile.

I’ve been on the ice plenty of times with newbies when the ice sharp cracks under our bucket and watched them flinch wide-eyed.  I actually like that unsettling sound; that sound just means ice is forming to me.  But I guess you just aren’t human if you don’t jump a little at the sound of breaking ice under your feet.  And, remember, I check ice constantly on my path to the fishing grounds during the early season and I just don’t go on ice that’s thinner than four or five inches.

Now six inches of ice may just hold a snowmobile and some would say nine inches will hold a car.  But ice can vary drastically especially in rivers or big lakes.  It’s simply just smart to error on the side of caution.   Falling through the ice is just not the way I want to go.

That said, that early ice season can produce results too good for many to let pass.   I’m seeing it all over social media.  Pictures of limit walleye and perch catches from Saginaw Bay are alluring.  And reports of up to twelve inches of ice are compelling and drawing.  I heard the most stubborn of Northern Michigan lakes, Higgins, iced over today and that means that I’m about to slide cautiously onto the hard water somewhere very soon.  Preferably with a friend that’s fatter and more eager than me—a partner that’s getting harder to find in my middle age.  That said, my ice fishing friends are also getting old and old ice fishermen tend to be pretty wise about safety.

I’ve got some goals this winter.  Fish I’d like to catch and waters I’d like to visit.  But mostly I just want to see Jack happy fishing with his Dad.

Have a Great Holiday Season,