June 13, 2017
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
Big bug fever has caught fire here in Northern Michigan. And for god reason—big mayflies mean big trout. The Brown Drake hatch has been great and the Iconychia’s and Gray Drakes are showing up in numbers and doing good work at fooling the seldom foolish wise, old Brown Trout of the Au Sable River System.
And it’s getting even more exciting. The Hexagenia or Hex flies are blowing up on area lakes and have started to hatch on our local trout streams. The hatch is a fly fishing event of epic proportions. It is unparalleled in the legend and lore of Midwest Trout Fishing. The hatch has inspired untold numbers of stories of trout fishing glory and has cost particularly afflicted anglers jobs and relationships. The mayflies are huge—they’re like minnows with wings that hit the water in mass and bring up even the oldest and wisest trout in the River.
They are the reason I started fly fishing. I didn’t pick up a fly rod because my Dad learned it from his Dad and it was trickled down like some rite of passage. And I didn’t start fly fishing because it looked so lovely and serene. I started fly fishing because we, as kids, were lucky enough to spend our idyllic Michigan summers on a lake. And for two weeks every year, at the end of June, the fishing fell to pieces. You couldn’t catch a fish on our lake. We knew why . . . the big mayflies had swarmed through the nights covering the sodium lights and parking lots and campers. It was clear to everyone that the fish gorged themselves on the huge bugs and were simply too full to eat even the wiggliest night crawler. So fishing simply stopped and we sat on the bench waiting for things to get better.
Then one day I saw a fur and feather lure in some dusty bin of some old tackle shop that looked exactly like those fishflies. The light went on—fishing wasn’t terrible, fishing was great but we were just all using the wrong bait. It changed my life. I’ve been chasing bugs ever since. Find the bugs and the fishing takes care of itself. Most of the mistakes in my life—especially the unimportant ones like success and money have lost every argument the prospects of fish rising.
It’s all just fishing but sometimes you can beat fish at their own game and a fly rod is the perfect tool
This will be a fun couple of weeks.
Don’t forget to swing by the Shop on Saturday June 17th from 2-4 p.m. to watch legendary innovators and production fly tyers Tim Neal and Jerry Regan spin flies and tales in our learning center. This is an event not to be missed by anyone interested in fly tying or the history of the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers.
See you all soon,