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River Report - October 1, 2016

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Spent three fine Fall days sitting on the Fly Shop bench.  It’s shoulder lowering to take a few days and spend them in the woods and waters of Northern Michigan with friends and family.

The first morning I woke before dawn and considered how I’d manage the chores I have to do and the woodsy fun I want to do.  After checking the weather forecast, and my conscience, and weighing the options—it was, after all, going to very likely be rainy—my decision was made.  Half way through the first cup of coffee, my path was clear.  The hell with chores.   Carpe Diem I say.  It roughly translates into; “Go the wilds before you die” as far as I’m concerned.  Or maybe it means “seize the grouse” or “seize the fish”.  Either way, who cares?  Latin is a dead language so you might just as well use it however you want.  It’s sorta like using trigonometry to formulate your grouse shot or your fly cast.  Pointless.

I burned some time on the two tracks and in the grouse covers with my Dad one day.  We found birds and after gutting some shot shells, left the birds, in the spirit of conservation (of course), free to live unhindered in the swamps.  It was a great day.  My Dad and I poked bravely into a heavy swamp cover that we found piles of birds in ten years ago.  I say “bravely” because the last time we were in there, we went late in the day without GPS units and without compasses and without lighters and we nearly stayed the night under a cold, moonless October sky.

One grouse flush lead to another that night and we followed each one and perfect dog work until we finally picked our heads up and realized we were lost under a cloudy sky.  The realization you are lost seeps in quickly like water through old boots and you know immediately that there’s not much you can do to fix things.  We did our best to pick a line and stitched one treetop to another.  Going straight in the Lower Peninsula will get you to a road sooner or later and, that night for us, it was later.   We hit the sandy trail just before midnight and without a flashlight it took another 45 minutes of shuffle steps to feel my way along the road and back to the truck.  I’d never been more relieved in my life.

It was good to get back on that horse and to relive a night, even a tough one, that we shared only together and that neither of us will ever forget.  We’ll also never disrespect the Michigan woods and not forget all of the tools you just may need to find the road.  Being prepared is not just for boy scouts.

There’s hardly a soul up here fishing right now, so if you’d like to slip away you’ll have just about as much water as you could want all to yourself.

Have a great week,