June 23, 2016
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
Well that was a great week we just had. The Hex hatched and spun and big fish took notice. We always see many of the best brown trout of the year during the Hex hatch, but it’s been just that much better so far this season. We’ve witnessed more truly large browns this year than we have since I’ve been a part of the fishing scene on the Au Sable River. The Upper Au Sable is flat showing its medal.
The flies are on all the traditional Hex grounds of the Au Sable. They’ve appeared well on the mainstream and seem to have legs. I’d expect the midnight prowl to be rewarded for the coming week or so. The South Branch has produced very well so far, but my gut tells me the bugs there are long in the tooth. There will be some good South Branch trout stories told over coffee on some mornings this week, but the best, peak fishing is likely in the rear view window over there.
I was lucky enough to land a big Brook Trout in the Tract the other day. I hadn’t caught a truly big one in at least ten years. That trout was so special that I rustled my wife and my little boy in the small hours of the morning to tell them about it. My wife was sleepily supportive and slightly annoyed and Jack was feeding off my excitement. But they didn’t quite know how special it was. I think you all might. I revived it for a very long time. The fish was doing fine but, mostly, I just didn’t want to let it go. You just don’t get to touch something so special very often.
There’s more good stuff coming, though. The mainstream of the Au Sable will hold up and even get better and those Manistee anglers with sneaky spots are probably gonna have spectacular stories in the coming days.
The fact is that the hatch is upon us and if you don’t or can’t go, you are doomed to just enjoy the pictures from those who did.
If Hex fishing and midnight excursions aren’t your thing, you should try to get to the water in the morning hours. There are so many fish in river this year and lots of them are just big enough to put a nice bend in the long rod. It’s a good chance that you’ll catch lots in the a.m. and there’s an even better chance that you’ll be all alone. All alone on the River is a great place to be. There’s nothing quite like another day wakening—birds singing in the trees, the sun growing through the pine needles, and rings of rising trout on the flat water of the Au Sable River.
Hope to see you all soon and good luck!