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River Report - March 6, 2018

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
I keep hearing and we all keep saying that Spring isn’t here yet and winter is sure to return.  Well, it will but only in fits and spurts.  It feels like early Spring here, it looks like early Spring here, and it’s fishing like early Spring here.

Ice fishing is all but done.  Sure, there are folks still sneaking out onto shaky ice but conditions are dubious at best.  If you go, call the most local shop you can find.  But I say leave it alone until next year.

There’s too much other good fishing to be had to take the risk on the ice.  Steelhead are moving into the coastal streams and high water is subsiding in many of those rivers.  On the Au Sable and Manistee, early season trout fishing is well underway.  Anglers are landing some nice trout and flashing good numbers on the best afternoons.  Now, the bite window is generally only an hour or two but those couple of hours can be wonderful.

It’s time to put away the short rods and pull out the long sticks.

Donnie has been rolling down the river guiding and fishing for fun whenever he gets the chance.  And he’s finding them.  The best days, he’s seeing a dozen or so good ones and boat three or four.  That’s the rap for now and it’s just going to get better.  This is shaping up to be a very good early season.  It’s time to pull on waders.

The water looks fine with the generally wadable upper reaches of the Manistee and Au Sable in shape with good clarity and open access points.  And we’re seeing some small, black stoneflies.  The first dry flies of the year are a harbinger of Spring.  Next will be the big stones and then the blue-winged olives and then the glorious Hendricksons.  We are already wondering when they’ll come.  Fact is . . . we don’t know.  But history dictates that mild winters generally mean low water Springs and early Hendricksons.  If the brown ground holds, I bet we see them by the middle of April.  We’ll see and as always, time will tell.

I can’t wait to find out.

In the meanwhile, it is time to head to the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo.  Truly one of the best trade shows in the world of Fly Fishing World, the Warren Show is a fine way to get revved up for the coming fishing season.  I hope can all make the trip.

See you soon,