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River Report - September 16, 2015

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Well, let’s call it a fishing report with a solid dose of Grouse report in the mix. It can be hard to focus when there are two equally great ways to spend time in the outdoors. And, after all, this time of year is commonly known as Cast & Blast for good reason.

In a nutshell, casting for trout on our fantastic blue-ribbon trout streams is complemented perfectly with prowling the mixed hardwood stands - shotgun in hand and bird dog at the ready. It works out so nicely because of the dynamic Northern Michigan Fall weather. As we’ve witnessed so far this season, Fall weather can serve up just about anything an outdoorsman can imagine. Mother Nature has a mixed bag of tricks and often will pull out at least a couple every day.

It helps a guy like me that just can’t decide what to do with a day to play freely in the woods and waters. It’s tough to pick between two passions. It’s like trying to pick your favorite child - impossible. I just pack all my fishing and hunting gear into the wagon and play the game on the board the weatherman sets.

If you wake to rain, you simply head to the river, pull on your waders, and string up the rod. I’ve known since I was four years old dunking worms in the Thunder Bay River for catfish that wet, cloudy days are the best fishing days, and that’s as true today when fly angling for Brook and Brown Trout as it was then. And though, hunting in the rain can be plenty productive, the best days in the upland bird field are cool, dehumidified events of Fall perfection. You really don’t even have to decide, you can just lean in whichever direction the September breeze blows. Rod or gun, you won’t be disappointed.

The Brook Trout bite is picking up with attractor dry flies as well as with wet flies and nymphs. The always good Patriot has been working nicely as a small dry attractor for brook trout and the Quasi Moto nymph has fooled a few as well. The Brown Trout bite will continue to gain momentum with streamers and a small streamer fly like the Black Ghost could just be the only lure you need for both species.

The Grouse report has been slim so far. That may change when the early season leaves start to thin, but it looks like we’re in for a modest Grouse season, overall. Sure there will be areas that birds have nested well and those spots will produce, but it seems that the populations are highly localized. Also, the fruit crops, like thorn apples in our area, were hit hard by a late frost so the food base scattered, too. Be prepared to put some miles on those new boots to find birds.

But, then again, there’s nothing the matter with lots of miles on new boots in Northern Michigan.

Enjoy yourselves out there.