The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
It’s July. Seems like I just woke up yesterday scrutinizing the weather report and thinking about the possibility of an afternoon Hendrickson hatch. April slipped quickly into May and that fishing pushed into the late nights of June and the Brown Drake and Hex hatch chase. It’s all this lightning quick blur that somehow smudged two long months into a collage of electric memories.
So much fishing and so many fish caught. It’s been the year of the brook trout on all reaches of the Upper Rivers. Folks caught plenty and many were above average. It’s been the year of the caddis and
of the little stoneflies. We’ve seen more of those flies than I can ever remember. In May it was lots of trout but not the big browns and folks started to theorize about the absence of trophy trout. Then the drakes and iso’s came on and better trout started to show. But then, still, not the trophy fish. Hex changed that and long, heavy trout were brought to the net.
It’s been one of the most stretched out Hex hatches we’ve experienced in years and it just seems to keep going. This week will have many of us cooking S’mores by the campfire and watching fireworks, but there will most certainly be fat bellied brown trout rising under the rocket’s red glare. We’ve had some more hatching on much of the Au Sable and just experienced an epic spinner dump on the Manistee River. There will be Hex to chase for those that can still muster the strength for the rest of the week . . . maybe more. And the fishing crowds are largely gone.
But it is July, and for most of us that means morning and daytime fishing punctuated by an evening rise. There are still lots of hatches but few that command the devotion of the May and June events.
That means that those many, many trout that are in the river will likely feed opportunistically to a wide berth of patterns. It’s the to tie on a dry fly and ply the currents with ants and beetles and with mayfly patterns of all shapes and sizes that may just look like something that was plentiful and tasty just a few weeks ago. Prospecting with generic patterns is a great way to fish—every cast, every drift has hope. I’m thinking I may just tie on a Royal Coachman and never look back.
Early July is just another fine way to play the game and the board is set.
Do your best to find some time on the river, and try to take someone new along with you.
Good luck out there and I hope to see you all soon,