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River Report - January 9, 2017

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Winter has struck the heart of Northern Michigan.  We’re in a snowy deep freeze for the foreseeable future.  That means, for the fisherfolks in our area, that we’re locked solidly into two perennial fishing seasons—ice fishing season and fly tying season.

It’s funny; both pursuits sort of rely on cold weather, but like all sportsmen’s ventures, variables in the weather dictate the best time to do either.  Usually, the decisive lines are clear.  In the Fall, for example, if it’s raining you go fishing and if it’s not, you go hunting.  But sometimes the lines are more blurred.  I mean, if it’s not raining in the Fall what critters should you hunt?  Smaller stuff starts to take precedent.  Your decision just might take shape by the weather trends that bookend that nice day and stuff like how warm or cold it is or how hard the winds blow begin to form your guess.  It can be maddening.

So the nice thing about Winter for is that it can limit pursuits and simplify options.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got lots of stuff I’d like to do over the coming months, and stuff I’ll make left handed throws toward.  I’ll call for coyotes with all the little luck my skills and knowledge provide, and I’ll lay snares and traps for furbearers with the same limiting factors.  But the bread and butter of my winter will be ice fishing and fly tying.

And it will, or at least should, be simple to make the choice.  After all, we essentially know what the weather forecast is for the next couple of months—it’s going to be cold with intermittent periods of snow.  So the choice between fly tying and ice fishing will be formulated by smaller variables.   I’ll go ice fishing when it’s cold and tie flies when it’s really cold.

A choice made clearer to me after a single digit and below freezing wind chill ice holing adventure with my friend Dave the other night.  I’m still not quite warmed up.  The good news is that there was plenty of ice.  It was thick on the lake, in my beard, and in my bones.

Free fly tying classes will start at the Old Au Sable very soon, so shoot an email to and get signed up.

Hope to see you soon,