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River Report - March 14, 2019

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report

It’s been a winter that will live in infamy. This one had it all - many, many sub-zero mornings that creaked and popped the porch boards and tree trunks, huge snowfalls and white-outs, and snow days that will have the kids doing math until the fish rise in July.

And it’s likely not over. We always get another heart breaker snowstorm and freezing rains and all sorts of terrible, but it is time to come out of hibernation and start talking Spring fishing.

Without question we are going to have a big run-off this year. Not only is there a lot of snow that needs to find its way to Lake Huron, but due to December rains and a few, scarce winter warm spells, we have a deep frost line in the ground that will break loose late Spring. This sorta forty degree-ish high and thirty degree low scenario we’ll experience for the coming ten days is exactly what we need to make for a long, sustained river that roils without a boil. A long, consistent run-off will trigger trout swipes and bites right into April.

Steelheading on the Lake Michigan tributaries is a no brainer right now. Winter fish are available and turned on with incremental increases in stream flow and more fish will certainly push into rivers as the water rises. Michigan stream anglers are foolish if they don’t find a weekend or at least an afternoon to have a thick chromed fish double over their rod.  Our guy Donnie has landed some enormous fish this year with the biggest breaking twenty pounds. True leviathans are swimming in those streams.

Plus I’d rather all you eager, winter weary, trout anglers stick to the coastline streams and the last of the hard water. It’s shaping up to be fantastic fishing on the Upper Au Sable and Manistee Rivers. Frankly, I’d be just fine having it all to myself.

Streamer and nymph fishing will be the name of the game. Big, double flies in black, olive, white, and yellow will all be feasible table fare and I’ve got a box of bugs ready for action. Spring is here for me.

I’ll see you soon,