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River Report - May 20, 2021

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Conditions are continuing to confound us.  We’ve gone from unseasonably cold temperatures to daytime highs in the eighties.  It was fifteen degrees below normal and rocketed to fifteen degrees above normal.  It’s been an odd puzzle to solve.  I guess that’s part of the frustration and part of the fun.  Like one old-time, river-rat puts it, “It’s only perfect in February, when we’re talking about it!”

Water levels are primed for fine, dry fly angling—low and clear.  And our rivers are warm enough to spur hatching bugs and to keep trout metabolisms kicked into feeding mode.

We’ve had plenty of the former and some of the latter.  Lots of bugs are hatching on the edges of the day.  Fish are feeding there too.  But it’s largely the smaller trout that are looking toward the surface.  The bigger browns seem to be mostly focused on underwater offerings such as streamers and nymphs.  But that’s changing now as well.  As evening fishing continues to produce promise, brown trout are slowly taking notice of fluttering flies in the glistening waters.  That tends to stick—especially on the cloudy days.

We have lots of different bugs available.  Mosquitos, however, have been conspicuously thin.  I’m betting there’s a clue in that.  Fishing tends to be good here when fishermen are a little miserable—soaking wet and swarmed in a cloud of biting insects.  We have black quills, mahogany spinners, all sorts of caddis and stoneflies, and Sulphurs as the main event.

It’s yellow bug time for hatch match anglers and pale offerings in size eighteen to fourteen have to be in the box.  The true Sulphur is the Dorthea—a diminutive, yellow fly that trout love.   That said, old timers talk about the “big” sulphur, which is what we call March Browns and the medium sulphur, which in actuality is the light Hendrickson.  Pay the names no mind the trout don’t know them anyway.  Just be ready for yellow flies in size fourteen to eighteen and you’ll be prepared.

So, my advice is as always—go!  I never caught a trout when I was mowing the lawn.  And I’ve never regretted one moment resting on the banks of our gentle and lovely streams.

I’ll see you on the River,