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River Report - July 30, 2021

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
The Au Sable River Canoe Race has come and gone.  I love that we live in a little, original town that has weird stuff like canoe racing and fly-fishing that happens in the shadows of mom-and-pop local stores and eateries and lumbers yards instead of behind some big, boring box stores.  Homogenized America is mundane.  Graying has an identity that just keeps gaining steam.  I’m so happy to be a part of it.

With all of the hoopla around the River Festival, anglers largely stayed away.  That’s great news for folks that like to swing the long rod.  Our trout of been left alone and are acting the part.  Better still, while much of the rest of the trout ground in America is rattled by heat waves and drought, our fish are finning comfortably in cool water with above average flows.  You just can’t beat living here - I’m Michigan proud.

The cool and the rain and the lack of pressure has resulted in some fine fishing.  Mornings occupy anglers with hatch match puzzles pieced together with a thick trico swarm and a smattering of blue-winged olives.  But, maybe, even better, trout have continued to keep look toward the surface for natural offerings like ants and beetles and to ridiculous, rubber and foam flies that look like a little kid tied them. 

It’s been a strange year to be sure, but with the lows and pitfalls, some positives have emerged.  Early this year we had oak trees stripped by a pestilence of Gypsy Moths.  They were everywhere - like sand in your bathing suit or Easter Basket Grass, or Christmas tree pine needles.  They were ubiquitous and irritating.  But then they morphed into moths and anglers on the Au Sable found fun in fish feeding on the odd, new offering. 

This Summer has been the season of the moth.  Now, I’m not completely convinced that the fish we’re prospecting for are somehow focused on moths, but they sure seem to be excited to pounce on anything that looks like one.  There is nothing wrong with rubbing big, gaudy fly patterns against logjams and getting explosive strikes—I don’t care what the fish though it was eating.

This is some of the best Summer trout fishing we’ve had in years.

I hope you all get a taste,

PS One of our shop guys, Gavin Jones (pictured above) broke his leg REALLY BAD. At last count 6 surgeries, he was night fishing and had a little bout with a tree coming home at about 230 AM. Plz send him your best vibes.