July 12, 2017
The Old Au Sable Fly Shop Fishing Report
The shift into the Summer trout season is here in Crawford County. The June hatches are largely over and are sputtering to a solid end. That said, savvy anglers would be wise to bring their Isonychia and Hex patterns with them as they push into our moving waters. Hatches rarely end like turning off a spigot. It seems like there’s always one more spit of bugs and if you’re there and you’re prepared you may just get one more special evening of trophy trout rising in the moonlight.
While we lament the end of the big fish rise on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers, the Summer season offers some fine angling opportunities and a much more relaxed experience. Trophy fishing still exists it just doesn’t depend on the hatch chase. Brown trout still have to eat but will now hunt like all predators in nature— stealthily and aggressively and under the cover of darkness. Gone is a quiet rise in some dark corner and now fish will explode in a killing strike at anything they can fit in their mouth.
We call it mousing. And though our big brown trout do eat mice that dare to swim the river in the dark, the term “mousing” really refers to a method of fly fishing that requires anglers to sneak through slow currents pitching patterns that can resemble anything from mice to frogs to giant moths. Fly fishing is often thought of as a dainty sport with fishermen fishing dainty flies to nice little trout . . . that’s just not true when we talk about big browns. Big browns are apex predators—masters of their domain and they rule like tyrants. They kill whatever they can fit in their mouths. One angler I know killed a good brown last year with a thick lump in its stomach. Turned out that trout had baby otter in its belly. It’s like Africa out there in the still of the night.
But the quiet nice stuff is here now too. And it is fun. The Trico and olive hatches have started. The fishing is in quiet, misty, lonely mornings. It’s a commune with nature and peacefulness starts your day. Lots of ways to enjoy our waters right now.