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River Report - June 10, 2021

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
It was another wild weather ride in Northern Michigan this past week.  Extreme high temperatures and low water conditions warmed our stream temperatures to concerning levels for catch and release anglers.  Trout mortality becomes a factor when water temperatures poke past the seventy-degree mark.  This is especially true when cold water refuges are hindered by low river flows.  The stresses of struggling at the end of an angler’s line in those too-warm water conditions fantastically reduce a caught trout’s survival chances.  So, you really can’t be a catch ‘em and let ‘em go guy in that situation.  To put the severity into perspective, we cancelled all of our guide trips last Wednesday.

That said, conditions are expected to improve nicely this week.  Predicted nighttime lows in the fifties will do much to help.

But I think we should see what has happened this week as a warning shot across the bow.  If this is a new normal, then we, as anglers, need to become even more protective and more aware of the fragility of our wild fishery.  The changes in our habits don’t have to severe, but we may have to think the old paradigm of how we do things and maybe even when we fish.

I’d like to encourage folks to take less pictures of trout you intend to release.  Long time A Sable anglers have lots of fish pictures.  Ask yourself if you really need one more example of an angling accomplishment you have achieved time and time again.  Keep them in the water and take the hook out while the trout is in the net.  Just be present in the moment.

We could also self-impose “Hoot Owl” restrictions that fisheries divisions in other states implement to protect their resources during extreme heat.  Those fishery managers close trout streams during the hottest part of the day.  This would be easy for us—we do a bunch of fishing in the cool midnight waters and we too often neglect very early morning fishing pursuits.  Simply get to the river at dawn and you just may be surprised at the quality and loneliness of the angling.

Waters should be in good shape this week with normal weather returning.  And with drakes, and iso’s, and Hex on the menu, fishing should be good.

Thank you and I’ll see you on the River,