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River Report - September 16, 2020

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report

It’s actually Fall in Northern Michigan. Seems like it’s all too early. But the weather keeps reminding me that we have to put up our winter wood. And the maple trees are already turning red.

Plus, it’s grouse season. Happy bird day, I say!

The best thing about living in Northern Michigan is the season change. I couldn’t live somewhere that doesn’t have these stark moves. Our air conditioners are packed back into garages and swimming in the lakes is over for all but the most warm-blooded Northerner children.

We wait all year for the next best change and it’s here now. Bird season looks solid. But it is going to be weird for a lot of folks. Logging here has been heavy and some of our great old thornapple runs have been leveled. Many hunters are going to pull into their great old covers for the last twenty years only to find a cut-over field. Most of it will be good again but not until another generation of hunters and bird dogs come to age. It’s sad to watch it disappear, but I’m hopeful for my son’s bird hunting future.

Fishing has been as unpredictable as the weather. Water temperatures have gotten cold and the best fishing has been subsurface with small streamers and nymphs. We’re still getting some trout on dry flies, but give me a streamer tied in olive, white or black. Those flies let us prospect around the log jams in a way that nymphs just can’t do.

If you want to get trout on top, stick with a single fly.   I like bigger parachutes lashed to my leader. The small, middle river trout may still tackle it, but you can still rub it against the logs and sticks in hopes of a brown trout.

If you simply want to catch brook trout, tie a small nymph to the back of your dry fly offering and wade long. Mid-river, deeper cuts may just harbor a pods of spawn-thinking brookies. If you find one, there are likely many more schooled up in the same dark waters.

Leaves are changing and ferns are tipping over.

Get out and enjoy our best season of the year!