February 23, 2017
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report.
I’m not quite sure what that Punxsutawney Phil fool was thinking on Groundhog’s Day when he prophesized six more weeks of winter, but it sure doesn’t look like we should ever take our weather predictions from an overgrown rat. As far as I can see in the woods around me and on the extended weather forecast, winter has lost its legs.
Our beautiful, little hidden gem of Northern winter sports, Hanson Hills, has even closed down their tubing and downhill skiing operations for the year. And the fishing guides not only had folks in the front of the boat this past week but one of our favorite clients boated a huge brook trout.
And while I don’t know much most of the time, I know that the ski hill closes in the Spring and I know that there is no stronger harbinger of Spring than the first landed brook trout. We saw that this last week and in grand fashion. That brook trout measured an honest eighteen and a half inches long. That’s an enormous rarity in any of the great, wild brook trout waters on the United States.
Years ago a friend and I both landed a teen-sized brook trout on the same day. It was early March and my friend pulled a seventeen and a half inch brook trout off a log and out of my back pocket while using an enormous olive wooly bugger. I’d been chucking the standard size six stuff around only to be snubbed by that big brook trout. In fact I didn’t have anything in my fly box even close to the size of the dead chicken my partner was chucking around. But after seeing that result, I was immediately into his fly collection. Two things happened that day: I fell in love with giant woolly buggers and with the Au Sable River. I moved to Grayling that April.
There will certainly be a tug of war between winter and Spring. We can count on it. But watch for these Spring warm-ups and get to the open water when you can. The trout fishing looks like it will be good this Spring and I’m already hearing whispers about steelhead sweeping gravel.
Have fun out there!