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River Report - May 1, 2015

The opener has come and gone and the fishing has been improving ever since. The overnight lows have rebounded to the 30’s which does a lot for the fishing as compared to the teens. With the warmer overnight temps the fishing has been better and the bug life has been stronger. I have seen and heard of decent Hendrickson reports on the Main and North Branches of the Au Sable River, with just a dribble of bugs on the South Branch yet. The upper end of the Manistee River has had bugs and rising fish also. If you are looking to hit the rise this weekend I would stick to the North Branch and Mainstream of the Au Sable River or the upper end of the Manistee River.

The afternoon rise has been a bit spotty. Some days a few fish are up some days very few but that should all change with the warmer temps this weekend. I would assume the upper river sections will let loose with Hendrickson’s this weekend. If you are looking for a way to kill some time before the rise, I would run nymphs in the riffles. There are BWO, Stonefly and Hendrickson nymphs active most days, especially before the rise. Midge larva can pull a few fish early in the day also. Just swinging two nymphs through the shallow riffles on the North Branch should produce enough fish to make an angler content or at least carry you through until the fish begin to rise. If Nymphing isn’t your thing, the streamer fishing has been solid, not great but solid.

The big water of the Au Sable River has been producing 20 inch fish every day just not in all boats. We floated there mid-week and got two with some other fish showing themselves. Bring your hostage rope as some walleye are biting too.  This past week the state planted rainbows below the dam in Mio, so if you are in need of getting your string stretched that could be a great opportunity. While streamer fishing the Mio I have also noticed more fish in the 12 to 15 inch range than I remember in the past few springs which is a good sign. We could be in for a great year of fishing down there again. I have not seen many bugs below the dam yet and it should take some time before it’s full on but small streamers and nymph fishing should provide plenty of action throughout the day.

The next two weeks should be phenomenal. We will have great dry fly fishing and with any weather at all, the streamer fishing should fire big time. I wouldn’t say we have low water but we have much less than the past two springs which makes the fish behave differently. The season is just beginning but if the trend continues we should be in for a great dry fly season…but don’t put the 8 weights away yet.

Alex Lafkas