The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
Another wild weather ride here in Northern Michigan last week kept anglers on their toes. As per the usual around here, the most versatile outdoors folks had the most fun.
Ice anglers had some tough decisions to make with daytime high temperatures pushing toward forty. Those temperatures on top of an already late start to the ice angling season made for messy conditions at best and dangerous conditions at worst. Ice, just recently thick enough to be considered safe, was stressed by spring-like weather. Many folks went anyway and many caught fish and even a lot of fish, but the lake I wanted to trudge onto was covered with slush, so I skipped it. The bottom line is that if you’re unsure, you should err on the side of caution. Fishing should never be treated as an extreme sport.
Much colder temps have already moved in, though, and the ice is boning up daily. The winter ice machine is back on, so I’ll be chopping a hole a lot this week. And I’ll be walking out until I’m very sure that the ice on any particular body of water is safe enough for my snowmobile.
I can’t wait to get out there. I’m toying with using “ice flies”. I’ve been looking around the internet for the last few years and have seen all sorts of crazy stuff that folks claim knocks the lights out of panfish, but I’ve always been skeptical. Let’s face it—bait is bait and fake is fake and real food usually wins.
But the tide has turned for me as I now have a secret weapon. It’s Dave, from the radio station—Q100.3. Not only does he put together my fishing report well enough to make me sound alright, he is an ice fishing expert, and gave me the low-down on using “ice flies”. Turns out, it’s right up my alley.
The trick is not to tie up any super special, ice specific internet fad, but to use bigger nymphs that I already have in my box from trout fishing. He says common patterns like Prince Nymphs and Pheasant Tails in size tens and twelves are the ticket. Especially, when fished in tandem with a teardrop and waxworm rig.
I’ll definitely be putting that set-up to the test. If it works, never again will a greedy little bluegill rob my bait and leave my hooks hanging pointlessly naked while I stare dumbly at a motionless fishing pole.
Around the shop its tie away, tie away. Donnie, Al, and I have been spending most mornings at the shop wrapping hooks. We’re working backwards this year; starting with Hex and twisting our way back to Hendricksons.
It could be an early dry fly season this year. I’m actually, sort of counting on it. May just might be my favorite fishing month of the year and the last couple of years, they have been flat tough. This is the year—I hope. I’m daydreaming of green river banks and a warm May day and fish rising.
Beginner fly tying classes continue through the month of February and are held on Saturdays at 10 a.m. The featured tyer this week is Al Borchers. His session will begin at noon. Al’s going to share some great hex patterns as well as his secret midnight mouse. You’ll want these bugs in your box. After all, with a name like Borchers, you can be sure the guy can tie.
We’re also gearing up for the Old Au Sable Cabin Fever Day on Saturday March 5th. It always a fun event. We’ve had to suspend it the last couple of years due to the extreme winter conditions—the trout were having a tough enough time. But it’s back complete with food, fun, contests, and prizes. So clear your calendars and save the date and stay tuned for details.
Hope to see you soon,