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River Report - October 13, 2016

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
The Fall has continued its warm and wet trend, and while that’s been great for games under the Friday night lights and for folks trying to squeeze just a little more Summer-like fun out of Northern Michigan, its created a few wrinkles for October’s sportsmen.

Grouse and woodcock hunters are enjoying increased number of birds and good flush rates, but the unseasonably warm weather has leaves hanging on and many of the ferns still standing tall.  That means thick covers and tough shooting.  It’s tough to put birds in the game bag when you can’t see one long enough for a shot.  The warmth also makes it tough to keep hard working dogs in the field for the afternoon hours when grouse have left their roosts and have moved to feed.

Not only has the weather has delayed the leaf drop; it has also delayed traditional trends in the trout fishing world.  Usually, as we move into mid-October, big streamers start to consistently take brown trout.  We haven’t seen much of that yet.  So far, we’re still fishing smaller streamers for brook trout and the occasional brown.  But as the weather cools trout, fishermen take their clues from musky anglers and start using very large, slow moving baits.  It looks like that fishing will be pushed deeper into late October and November.

Salmon runs have (again with the warmth) already reached their climax.  While there are still plenty of fish in rivers like the Pere Marquette, other streams are either past prime or didn’t even get fish in thick numbers.  Streams like the Manistee never really reached their potential this season.  And with plenty of big salmon still being caught out in Lake Michigan in seventy feet of water, some anglers are theorizing that the river never showed a sharp enough cool down to push all of the bruisers into the river.  But who knows, maybe there will be another very late push of fish.

It has all affected the white-tailed deer rut, too.  I’ve spent a lot of hours in the woods and still haven’t seen much at all for scrapes.

That said, it’s hard to complain about pleasant days afield.  It’s been pretty easy to be out there as long as you’ve got good raincoat and a positive attitude.

Have a great time out there,