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River Report - September 11, 2017

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
And just like that Summer is over.  Our spectacular Spring fishing stirs the beehive of activity and the shop doors swing open and shut with eager anglers for many months until Summer’s crescendo.  Labor Day inflates our local population by tenfold and then, on that first September Tuesday, the southbound traffic drains the people from woods and waters of Northern Michigan leaving the outdoors to deer and grouse and trout and a fortunate few anglers and hunters.  Solace is the new rule.

Time spent in the trees and streams now offers up the best kind of loneliness.  It’s shoulder-lowering.  The recently packed river accesses are literally empty and the forested trials are your own.  Paths over the ridges and to the river seem to have been carved just for you.  There’s an almost eerie sense of calm.  Our tamed forests turn temporarily into wilderness and every footstep is one into the wild.

With hard morning frosts, afternoons in the sixties, and college football on Saturdays, it’s hard to deny that Fall has arrived.  I’ve had folks in the shop the last few days robed like true Michiganders.  They make me smile, dressed in fleece or down jackets above the waist and thinly clad in shorts and sandals below the beltline.  We Michigan people are odd and resilient folks.  I stand in front of my closet for a few long minutes each morning trying to decide on the right outfit—style has little to do with necessity and it’s difficult to pick clothes that can meet all needs in the fall Northland.  Maybe I need to develop wool flip-flops and fleece lined shorts.  Maybe socks and sandals make sense.

In the woods and waters, we’re tiptoeing into goodness.  The brook trout are podding up and moving to spawning grounds and the moon is slipping deeper into dark phases so the brown trout night bite is about to get good again.  Streamer and nymph fishing has been the saving grace of our trout fishing on the Au Sable and should just continue to improve.

Salmon are in the rivers and bucks are showing up on the game cams.  Best of all, grouse season opens on September fifteenth.  It’s a great time to be a sportsman in Michigan.  I wish Fall lasted all year.

Take care and we’ll see you soon,