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River Report - October 7, 2017

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Gotta admit, I’m struggling out there in the Grouse and Woodcock covers so far this year, and a lot of my friends are as well.  We had good drumming early this year and nesting seemed like it should have taken well.  Furthermore, it seemed like there was solid fruit and nut production for grouse to feed on.

But the weather in the Mitten is messing with us.   We had hard frosts just before bird season that had fruit drop and left some thornapple runs barren and then we had an unprecedented September heat wave that moved birds into thickets still yet unknown to me.  While some hunters are finding good numbers of birds in the form of unbusted coveys of young grouse, many more are finding their old, favorite haunts nearly empty.

I’m hopeful, though.  I simply don’t have enough boots on the ground; few do, to really know what’s going on in the world of Northern Michigan Upland birds.  We’ve been forced to hunting the first hour after sunrise and haven’t had much opportunity to let the birds move out of nighttime roosts and into food.  The story in our woods and waters success is always rooted in conditions and we just haven’t had anything conducive to sweet success.  That’ll change soon and with it, so will the heft in our vests.  And the woodcock flights will come with colder temperatures and we’ll be pushing through small aspen stands on those frosty mornings wishing we had a few more shells in our pockets.

The fishing has followed suit.  Every day is a new adventure with little predictability.  The guides have been putting fish in the boat by nymphing deep runs, pitching little streamers, and by stumbling into rising trout.  Nothing has been guaranteed so far this Fall and each day has us digging deep into the technique basket to find the winning combination.  It’s been like getting a fitted sheet on the mattress—nothing is perfect but it all works some days.

It’ll all change as October thickens.  The air will cool and the rain will come and the streamer fishing will get good.  And the flush rates will go up as our fury little athletes become able to hunt long hours.

Tomorrow is always the best day to go into the wilds.

Take care and we hope to see you soon,