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The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report

The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
It’s been a cool spring, but now as we wade deeper into June, we’re getting summer warmth and we’re getting some heat on those riverside muck banks.  The Brown Drakes nymphs are well incubated and the hatch will continue to roll and should explode on all reaches of the Au Sable and Manistee River systems in the coming days.  Many anglers would argue that the Brown Drakes are the best fly emergence for fine trout angling.  I agree.  In my opinion, Brown Drake fishing trumps the fabled Hex hatch.

Even when I lived in Montana, I still came back and fished the Au Sable in May and stayed until I had a healthy dose of Drake fishing.  I left for the West those years before the Hex hatch even started; sated with my fill of thick, rising brown trout that fell for feather twisted Brown Drake patterns.  The fishing, at its best, is better dry fly angling than any in our country.

The reasons are simple.  Brown Drakes bring essentially the same caliber of brown trout to the surface as do Hex.  Further, while Hex happen in a fair portion of our impressive streams, Brown Drakes happen in all reaches of our rivers.  Whereas much of our best Hex fishing is best served from a boat, the Drakes emerge even from our smallest streams.  Wading anglers have a greater opportunity to find glory and a better chance of finding productive water.  And that means a longer window of opportunity.  Simply put, you have a better chance of timing your trip than you do with Hex.  Plus when you’ve fished Brown Drakes for an evening, you’ll likely be at the truck by eleven o’clock.  Whereas with the Hex you just begin fishing about that time.  A fact that resonates with me more as I push into my forties.

So get to the rivers now.   The odds are in your favor.

That said, things are shaping up for an early Hex year.  And conditions are pointing toward a heavy year of the most magnificent of mayflies.  Even with their relative disadvantages the Hex are enormous and remain the King of all mayflies.   I hear myself waffling.  I’m certainly glad I don’t have to choose one over the other.

It’s a big weekend—we’ll see you soon,