May 11, 2017
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
We’re on the precipice of a fantastic May storm. Not the swirling dark and drizzle that soaks the landscape and knocks down trees, but on an ideal chain of events and conditions that makes May on the Au Sable a trout fisherman’s paradise.
The rivers and all of their thin- fingered branches have dropped out nicely to fine, fishable tannic stained perfection. The anglers on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers are having a fine time. The morning coffee chatter at the shop has been excited and filled with tales of steady action and conquests. We have a healthy class of brook, brown, and rainbow trout in the river this year and they are eager. It’s flat fun to roll into the shop in the morning. I’ve shown up early and excited just to be a part of the banter. It’s always good to a part of the Old Au Sable and, lately, it’s been great.
It was even better this week when I made the executive decision to cut out early and make a foray into the freshly fishable South Branch. The road in was un-kept and dusty and my old car bounced and did rattling fishtails in the hurry. All of the accesses on the lower end were barren of anlgers. I took my pick, which was simply the first and easiest l could pull into. Quick on with waders and rod already strung, I shuffled and slid down the root stepped ridge and paused for a second before stepping into my old friend. There were no boot marks in the muck—I was the about to be the first person into that particular access in a great, long while. There was enough reward in just that.
The fish were already honoring the afternoon rise. Black caddis swarmed upstream heralded by leaping brook trout and Hendrickson and Black Quill spinners hung heavy in the air. Just enough spinners fell to the water to keep some better fish rising and the emerging little Mahoganies kept the rise beating like a slow drum. The beginnings of the light Hendricksons—the fly the old timers call the big Sulfur—joined the cotillion. It was a fine coming out party and I was lucky to be a small part of it.
The time to go is now and the place is everywhere that trout swim in Northern Michigan.
Hope to see you all soon,