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River Report - January 1, 2018

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
We are flat in the clutches of winter.  Ice fishing is rolling in most of the state.  We have safe ice conditions in on many of our local waters.  The West side of the state seems to have the most dubious conditions, however.  Heavy lake effect snow over there has insulated ice on lakes and the ice quality is tricky.  You’ll want to be very careful on water with lots of snow on it.  You can run into thick slush and white, low quality ice.  A few inches of hard, clear ice is much stronger than the same thickness of the white stuff.

That said, we’ve got good ice on many of the interior water bodies.  Even the most stubborn of lakes, Higgins, has strong blue ice in areas.  Guys are pulling some nice pike to the surface while tip-up fishing and finding perch in low numbers but with good size.  You’ll want to be extremely cautious there and be sure to stop by the local bait shops for the most up-to-date conditions.  One of my friends caught two thirteen inch perch fishing Higgins last week on about four inches of hard water.

Saginaw Bay is on fire.  I’ll get there one way or another soon.  It should be worth the trip.  You can creel eight walleye on the Bay and plenty of folks are getting them all.  And I hear the perch are running nice sized this year as well.  Another friend of mine was four miles out the other day and had eight inches of ice.  Again, be safe.  Conditions change fast on the big water.  With a lot of these places you should simply follow the tracks of others that may just know the area and ice better than you do and always, always visit the most local bait shop.  They don’t stay in business by letting folks fall through the ice.

I’m mostly a pan fisherman when it comes to ice-holing.  I’d give you this tidbit of advice—keep the small ones and be more gentle with the big ones.  A ten inch bluegill is an old, super spawner.  Patience and a razor sharp knife can clean plenty of eight inchers.

Fly Tying starts Saturday January 13th at noon.  This class will have value for everyone from beginner to advanced.  We’ll talk about all sorts of stuff that will make you a better trout angler.  Free and open to all.

Hope you can make it,